Two weak U13 players in my team are not improving. What can I do?

Two weak U13 players in my team are not improving. What can I do?

coaching u13s have 6 good players and 2 that this their first season.For this first half of the season most of their training has been catching and throwing .I find that they are not improving so on game days the other players are reluctant to pass it to them as they either drop the ball or pass it to the opposition.I am struggling to know what to do 

Michelle ThomasCoach, Australia
Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

what division is this team in?  can these 2 girls be swapped into a lower team so they can progress at a much better speed.  if not, then you might need the help of another coach to help them more one on one.  my daughters team last year had one player who was never going to get up to their level of skill in just one season.  it was very unfair of the club to put her in that team.  however, my daughter was in a rep team once, and was the least skilled of all the players, and that team made her feel like she didn't belong.  they actually bullied her it was that bad.  she worked her butt off and ended up playing 7 full games at state age carnival because she had improved so much, and received the most improved player by the coach.  so it does depend on the girls, and how much effort you want to put in to get them up to speed, and how much difference in skill level there is.  you they are going to stay in the team, then the team needs to pull together and help them improve, not ostracise them.  

remember they didn't ask to be put in that team.  so make sure the team doesn't punish them for being there.

Netball CoachCoach

I have been in a similar position this year as an 13&U coach.  My issues also extended into such bullying and unsportsmanlike behaviour which I have had to confront the players concerned.  Firstly I explained to those players that it was not the fault of those players but from poor coaching in their beginner years and it was up to all of us to encourage these players concerned to improve and that meant passing the ball to them.  Netball is a team sport regardless of the level of skill a player may be, poor decisions are where mistakes are made.  For instance I had skilled players hesitate from the best option and throw passes away because they did not trust the player.  I always point out that netball is a team sport and if they did not encourage these players and help with their development by exercising bias decision making ie%3A not passing or passing the ball softly was a bigger slap in the face to those players.  I also made it known to the rest of the team that it was their responsibility to be inclusive as the rest of the team needed these girls rather than them need the better players.  It is their responsibility to help these players to improve not only mine as coach.  I have told my players that if they did not help by being inclusive that they would be responsible if the players were not improved and finals ready.  I will tell you I have had a different spin on them and have found the better players being more inclusive and helping these players rather than ostricising.  These players know they are not the best and always put in 100% at training where the more skilled players do not, they are harder to push.  But I have to admit I feel a team flowering from my efforts and improvement in these players is slowly but surely turning around.  Coaching is also about teaching young teenagers appropriate behaviour and sportsmanship.  I pull players for unsportsmanlike behaviour and always confront players for inappropriate behaviour.  I don't care if I lose a game during the season as teaching is all important during the season and my aim to is to have 9 finals ready players by the end of the year...its hard but I am sure I will be rewarded by seeing individuals becoming a team! 

I also have looked back to what I had been taught back in my early years.  My coach at 11 encouraged me to pass a ball at a wall.  I have encouraged all my players to do this and know have made this skill home work,  All players must perform 10 chest, 10 Left shoulder passes, 10 right shoulder passes, 10 bounce passes - left & right and 10 overhead passes at a wall every other night including a left and right handed ball pass catching in the hand that's thrown in close proximity - this is a basic drill 1- it encourages them to pass the ball hard to recive the ball back where they are standing and 2- catching those passes that are hard ensures their catching improves.  This is a key skill.  Also it makes it obvious when they are back at training if they have done the skill work.  It doesn't take more than ten minutes and it has improved their skills.  It is starting to show improvement for all concerned, skilled and not so skilled.  We forget this basic skill needs to be practised regularly and has helped improve soft hands!!  Try it!  I've demanded it as even my better players at 12-13 still drop or don't pass the ball strongly!


Steven FollettCoach, Australia

Maybe work out their strengths, and work on them.  

If they have height maybe try them into a GK or WA role. My tallest player last season was a more of a new starter than the rest. I played her primarily WD or WA and was exceptionally valuable in using her height as a link up where most of her opponents were quite shorter. This gave her much confidence and her linking contribution was soon recognised by her team mates and sought her out during games

My daughter was one of the tallest in her team when she first started and the coach developed her shadowing and rebounding skills and played her as a GK. This kept her in the game in an important role when she could learn as she played and the team grew in confidence with her when they saw her defending skills.

If they are good at leading and creating an open space, maybe GS is an option. If they show skills with their shooting, try some shooting drill when the GA is not allowed in the circle to shoot. I often use drills where by either the GA or GS is the lead out player taking one or sometimes both defenders out leaving the other attacker free to receive the ball.  

If they are good at attacking the ball then maybe WD. My team's WD this season had not played that pos since she first started, and generally plays GS in her other teams. However she attacks the ball like no other and is averaging about 7 intercepts a game, plus shuts down the GA or WA through close shadowing. She has even had a few quarters as GK and whilst not having great height has a great reach. In my daughter's previous teams, the GK & GD were the two shortest, but the both had amazing jumping and leaping ability which together with the attacking nature of the ball made it very hard for even the tallest shooters to get the both. Both these girls earned a lot of intercepts.  

I have 3 rep players in my team and regardless of this I still practice basic shadowing and defense skills with all my girls, as well as basic passing and shooting. I remind them that whilst there are differing skill levels within the team they are all responsible for supporting and helping each other. I also remind them that they will all make mistakes from time to time (even the best players from all seasons in the teams I've been involved with), but it is how we support each other and learn from them that will help us improve as players and more importantly as a team.

The important thing I have found is keeping the girls encouraged, and reminding everyone it is a team sport & they can only win as a team.

If the girls that are guilty of excluding are fouled or cause turn overs continuously or continually miss shots at goals because they won't pass off, then I bench them and explain to them why. I also have a strict no bullying/exclusion policy in the team and players guilty of it or bad sportsmanship are benched. 

Good luck.

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