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What to do when a player can't attend training?

Hi I have a player who has recently taken up another sport and cannot attend training at all but can attend the weekend game. We are half way through the season. I am not sure whether its fair to give this player as much game time as the other girls and just wanted to know what other coaches might do in this situation. Thanks

i must say I'm not a fan of plauyers just turning up to games only.  as a parent and coach i would never let my child take up a sport that interferred with one they were already committed to.  

to me, as a coach, i would put preference on the players that turn up to train, and give them more court time, for they are the ones that have shown the commitment to play.

i use to have a rule, if you dont turn up to train, then you loose half a game regardless of reason. it is dependent on if the rest of the team comes to training.

thats just my opinion.

Thanks for the advice, just wanted to make sure I wasnt the only one thinking this!

I don't agree. As a player, it wouldn't bother me if I went to training and got the same amount of game time as someone who didn't. As a coach, I just don't think it's fair to penalise someone simply because their life doesn't revolve around netball. But it depends on what kind of team you're coaching. If it's a rep team or something, then maybe that is the protocol, but if it's just a casual netball team with younger players, I would think it more unfair to give someone less court time.

Thanks Lucy for another point of view, something to think about.

As a coach I find sometimes it's parents fault that girls can't get to training.  So I find it unfair to punish the child because of the parents. I have 9 in my team so I do sit off the girls that miss training for the first quarter. 

Hi Georgina, I think every situation is different and we as coaches need to way up what is fair and reasonable in each situation. Fair to the individual player, but also what's fair to the team as a whole. I am a big believer that you are the coach and you have a right to make the call in the interests of the team and what you feel is right. My thoughts in this situation based on the limited info would be -The player has chosen another sport which now interferes with a sport she has already agreed to play,train  and commit too and other team players, for the season. What life lesson are we teaching the player and the other players if there is no discussion and if needed consequence for her decision. Her choice and it is her choice is not to train. But you also have a choice to make a boundary for your team about what is ok and what is not. I don't think the issue is about whether her life revolves around netball or not, but more about a person making a choice and how does that choice effect others by that choice. I do know if a person doesn't train then they won't play their best and is that fair for the others who do train and are trying? What do the other players see as being fair if a person does not train for the reason she is giving. Girls are very perceptive and working out from a very Young age what is fair and what is not.   I'm sure if you convey the message the right way with good explanation then whatever you feel to do will come across ok, it might not be liked but it will be seen as fair and resonable. Some decisions we make as coaches can be tough. Go with what you feel- Thanks - Mark

Great thanks Mark really appreciate your input

I love that explanation Mark!  Totally agree.

Great post Mark, I totally agree. 

With my club at the beginning of the season all players are told that their attendance at training may affect their time on the court. We say that if all of the team is committing to training and one person continually doesn't turn up then it isn't fair for them to expect the same court time. Our general rule is that if you don't train you get half a game. Some coaches are harder on this rule than others. If one of my girls has a genuine reason for not coming and it is only occasional then I will give them the same game time as others.

An example of this is a player I coached last year in U17's. She was not coming to training - made up excuses initially then would come to one and miss the next 3 etc. What really affected the team was that we were working on certain aspects of our play to really improve our game (some set plays, throw in positions etc) and when she was on the court, it all went to pieces because she was running all over the place which affected where the other players could position. I told her that she would not be given more than a half if she didn't train.

As a coach and a coordinator I would suggest speaking to the parents first - if you haven't alreday find out why this other commitment has come up (eg is it compulsory through school? Is it a rep team?) and then find out if it is possible that the player can alternate between training and the other commitment week to week?
If you coach for a club I'd seek advice from your committee or coordinator before regularly benching a player as there may be policies in place which you may need to consider - these could very well support benching the players who don't attend trainings though, its just good to seek advice from the club.

Otherwise I think as other people have suggested its important to consider the level of the team and the age of the players - if its a very young player they may not understand and it could have more negative impacts on the child than on the team. Its also worth considering the player's ability - are they falling behind the rest of the team's ability due to not attending trainings? If so, it may be important to address this some how! Good luck :)

Thanks Allie and Sarah for taking the time to answer, always good to get other opinions

At the start of the season we told the senior girls in the B and A grade that due to the numbers we had that you must attend training to get a game unless you have a valid reason (sick etc). We made it known that it's not fair on the people coming to training and making the effort to get sat on the bench for someone that was just to lazy to come.
We have enforced this as we have a few players in the B grade that make up excuses or just don't turn up so they get half a game.

So I think if you make it known at the start of the season and abide by those rules you'll be right. However if a player can't come to training for a valid reason I don't think they should be penalised.

Just adding that I've had players text me to say they are too sick to come and they forget that they are friends with my daughter on Facebook/Instagram and she tells me they are out at a birthday dinner etc! They definitely get half a game...

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