During the summer, I've been playing in two basketball leagues. On my Monday night league, I was just a player on the team. The Captain of the team has played in the league for a while but has never been captain or coach before.
After a slow start (zero wins in four games), I told the Captain, I'd help out with the lineups and subs. Two Mondays ago, I didn't need to interject too much. The team had only six guys and we all played well enough to win our first game.
This past Monday was an entirely different story. Unexpectedly, our ENTIRE roster (9 players) all showed up. I told the Captain I would figure out the lineup before the game. I made a decision to go with a certain lineup and had the subs planned out. Alas, neither the starters or the bench lineups worked particularly well and we were down by about 25 points at halftime.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. With nothing to lose, I inserted the starting lineup from two Mondays ago. I told the guys that we needed to make a run early or the bench was probably going to play the rest of the game. This group had been successful and I thought we could do better than we did in the first half.
It ended up working pretty well. The rotation went from nine players to about only six (with a 7th playing briefly) throughout the second. The large deficit hurt us pretty bad as ultimately lost by about 7 points (79-72 or something like that). However, we made the other team sweat quite a bit.
On one hand, it was good that we came back. It's never fun to lose in a blowout fashion. On the other hand, I felt bad for the guys who sat on the bench in the second half. After all, it's an adult league and you pay to play. You don't get PAID to play. I've been through that kind of situation personally and I try to avoid this when I am coaching.
Safe to say, it was a bit of a weird night and I apologized to the guys who didn't play. The Captain didn't really have much to say and I think he was ok with my decision to ride the starters. It is definitely a delicate balance between trying to win and giving out playing time, especially in adult league.