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How To Deal With Players Missing Practice

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"My question has two parts: 1.) We have trouble with players missing practices. This year we set practices for the same day each week and gave families a complete schedule at the start of the season. What do you suggest for discipline and what do you consider reasonable reasons for missing? 2.) My own child is on this team. If he needs to miss a practice, how do I handle this? I cannot bench him since he is the only goalie, so how do I address this with the other players and possibly parents?"

PCA Response By Joe Scally, PCA Trainer-Chicago
Coaches can consider a variety of solutions when players missing practice becomes a chronic problem. They can prevent the problem to begin with by holding dynamic practices that players want to attend. A dynamic practice usually entails a written practice plan with activities that keep players moving and involved, bringing a positive attitude and high energy level to practice.

Another key is setting clear expectations for attendance with players and parents, which may vary depending on the players' age and the competitive level of the league. Let them know what you consider acceptable reasons for missing a practice (i.e., illness, family events, religious obligations, games or practices for other sports, homework or school activities, etc.). Explain that you like having players at practice because you care about their development as players and people, and make it clear how to notify you in advance of anticipated absences.

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