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Advice on no-shows for training please...

I usually plan my session the Friday night before Saturday training . I anticipated 12 players but then this sequence of events happened. Friday 8.36pm, parent texts amp; says child can't come as he is doing 11+ mocks (did he only just realise this?). Saturday 8.57am, another parent texts amp; says as they went to a wedding the night before, child is in no fit state to train (again, was this something that only just occured to them may happen?). Saturday 9.26am, parent phones amp; says child is throwing up (fair enough, I guess). Saturday 9.57am, parent texts, another puking child (a bug perhaps doing the rounds? Bit late notice though as we start training in 18 mins). Saturday 9.58am, another text from another child's parent to say child is throwing up (Hmmm, another one. Late notice again?). Saturday 10.15am, training starts but another child is missing. I give it 5 mins then phone. Parent says they are off to theme park amp; he sent me a text. I said that I never received text amp; asked if I sent an acknowledgement to aforementioned text to which he said no which I said meant his text wasn't receieved.

I went from 12 players training @ 8.36pm Friday to 6 by start of training in under 10 hours. My session plan went in the bin.

I realise the sickness is one of those things but think the last 2 were rather late in notifying me. As for the other 3, I feel these to be lame excuses. What can I implement to try to stop or reduce these issues? Fines? Suspensions? Nothing?


Welcome to the world of coaching! We should be focusing our efforts on developing the players but yes we end up having to deal with things like this! I have a couple of ideas that I used and worked very well:


* Train to play. If players dont train then they are likely to not start the next game. Those who attend start the match.

* Stress the importance of training to players. Training is sooo more important to players at that age than games... unfortunately parents do not see this and only worry about the child going to matches!

* Ensure training is fun and enjoyable. Im not saying your sessions are not! But keeping them engaged and all sessions interactive will hopefully make the players say to their parents how much they want to go training.

* I wouldnt advise fines or suspensions. I think saying they would start on the bench is enough :)

I agree with reply above, it can be very tough to keep to keep everyone training every session, however I always aim to have a core group attend.

The biggest help, I find, in getting numbers up at training is when the kids themselves put pressure on the parents to re-adjust schedules so that they can be at training.

This philosophy allows me to put the pressure on myself: what am I doing to make sure that the kids want to come vs happy to accept that mammy or daddy want them to go elsewhere? The kids need to love coming to training....

The fun and enjoyment of a session is key to this, and when we can embed training / learning and great coaching within "fun and enjoyment".... then guess what, the kids want to come.

I try to ensure that the sessions are "fun", and then pressurise myself to ensure they have developed within each session.

Ladders, cones hurdles all make it fun... and unique... fitness contests, agility courses and top scorers all add to the motivation to return and do better next time....

At older ages, once they can take responsibility, then the kids need to know that they can never improve in matches, only with training, so come to training, learn to play like Rooney and show everyone during the match. There are always 2-3 that cannot make it, but the strength of a chain is the weakest link. Sometimes the not so great players will come for the fun, they learn and when you get towards end of season, you have 11 good players, instead of 3 or 4 stars, and a few "also rans"... 

Hi all . I run an U17s team and I get no shows , late turn ups and just silly excuses. . I do run the same rule of no training , no match and it does work to certain extent. I have started sending the text out stating that training starts 15 minutes earlier , so 9.45am and that way they are ready to go by 10.00am But it's even worse when they get to this age that I train¾

Happens to everyone although the theme park excuse was showing you and the player the parents view football as a secondary activity.

Did all the parents agree to the training schedule at the start of the year? Did they know well in advance?

If you start to see a pattern in the missed practices its something to address. Its not fair to your players that are showing up ever week. You can't build a proper team if the team does not show up to train!

Well, the 'No Training, No Match' stick is a false economy as you will be punishing the WHOLE team in the match so those that havent missed training end up disadvantaged.

I have done 2 things to combat this:

1. An ATTENDANCE book which an assistant (or volunteer parent) completes each training session. There are sections for Name/Date/Show/No Show/Session Topic. If any player misses training without a valid reason = Cannot play in preferred position in the next match. If any player gets to 3 no shows without a valid reason = Miss 2 matches.


2. The Attendance book contributes to end of season awards. If any player misses 7 training sessions in the season with poor excuses then they are not eligible for ANY award.


We keep a record of attendance, and expect players to let us know if they are not coming. We don't expect detailed reasons why not, as these can also be a source of fantasy replies! When it comes down to games on Sunday, the best attendees have priority selection, no matter how 'good' they are as players. We lose games sometimes, but the team spirit and inter dependancy is very high. Out of 37 registered Under 16 players, nearly all have over 85% attendance. Late means only half an attendance point, Depending on the age group I use a couple of strategies; 1. If players are late and there's no apparent reason except lack of personal punctuality then I have been known to re-start the session all over again, taking into account that everyone must complete the same warm up etc. With one adult group I had a persistent ltecomer, and I knew there was no valid reason for his lateness. At the end of the prvious session I gave him the keys to the ground and changing rooms, and told him we would all wait outside for him to let us in! Another time latecomers (adult) had to climb over the fence (2m high) to get in as the gates were locked after all punctual guys were there.

I wouldnt say they end up disadvantaged. At the end of we are there to develop them. So implying that its disadvantaged because they team is weaker has no real relevance. Its the fact that what they learn in training is attempted to be applied in matches that is important.


Unfortunately sometimes your hands are tied and we have to play them due to lack of numbers. But if your approach to conduct is good then making sure they know its wrong and not acceptable they will start to respect this and turn up.

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