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Long term player struggling at training and crying...

Within our team we have a player that has been in the team from 9/un. We now play open age 15/un and it is way above her skills and abilities. She has difficulty with training and is guaranteed to to cry at most sessions. I have spoken to her mother to encourage her to try and I have spoken to the player. I have asked her if she is happy within the team etc also asked why she plays and what she gets out of it. She always answer that she doesnt know but she is happy. The competition and team mates are way above her abilities - what to do? Suggestions would be much appreciated.

that is a tough one.  we had a player who was a bit like that in our team last year.  she was timid and slow, and originially i thought she didnt want to try or care about playing. she was playing in a team where all the girls didnt know each other, so i did some one on one with her (and each of the girls in the team at some point) but helped to improve her skills, and when she got it right on the court made sure she knew i saw it.  the other coach i had with me was very much into team building, and so we did some fun team building things, like have a party at my place for just the team members, or go and see a netball game, and her confidence grew and her skills improved, and she lost a little weight (this was something that bothered her but was not an issue for her playing) and all of a sudden she was a different child and player. if she doesnt believe that moving her out of the team is an option, then build confidence and friendship within the team so everyone feels important, and do some one on one skill building, even if that means getting her in early if you can to help her in areas that she needs support in.  if she really wants to play, and she isnt playing just to please her mother, then maybe she too is feeling isolated from the team as she knows she is not as strong a player, and therefore the spiral continues.

Thanks for that Lee-anne.  We have had team building parties, gone to see vixons play, had one on ones etc., and nothing has worked.  She doesnt speak to anyone. She stands away from the group when I am addressing them, or just walks off. Its frustrating for me and her team mates.  Ive asked her what she enjoys about playing and she doesnt answer, saying I dont know.  Have spoken to her mum who is of similar personality, and she shes she has low confidence.  Getting very difficult at this level for her to play.  She normally gets half a game of which she is also happy with. 

I had a similar problem last year and it turned out the child had anxiety issues and custody problems between parents. As coaches there is only so much we can do in an hour a week and we can't fix their whole lives, just keep up what you are doing and remind her she can talk to you and netball is a safe, fun place to learn teamwork and achieve. We can't control outside factors liek school or family issues but we can remind them netball is an escape from those things - does Mum have any theories on her lack of confidence?

I agree with Charlene's comments.  We are just netball coaches not psychologists and best not to draw too much attention to her behaviour. Just be supportive and inclusive when you can for the rest of the season.  Towards the end of the season it may be appropriate to suggest to player & parent that they consider changing to a team that matches her abilities.  If your team is a one off or you don't have a club large enough to grade players this is the only fair option to both her and her team mates.  

Thanks Charlene and Janet. I agree with you both.  I think there is more to her behaviour that not liking training.  We are a rather large club and I have spoken to the head coach as to putting her in a more appropriate team.  Regardless of her personal issues the reality she is not suited to this level of netbal and her whole persona may change if she is in a team that she feels more compariable to.  Still tough, I would like to help her more but I think that all I can offer now.

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