Dealing with late players

  • January 25, 2014
  • Tim Hutton

Most coaches have had players arriving late to training or matches, but the big question is how do you deal with late arrivals?

It's a common question that we see asked in the answers section of the website, and can come in many different forms. Do you punish the individual who is late or the team to teach everyone a lesson? Do you go easy on your star player if they are late? Do you single a late player out for criticism throughout the session?

Every coach has their own way of dealing with punctuality, and here are some of your best suggestions, taken from coaches' answers on Sportplan.

Train to play. If players don't train or are late then they are likely to not start the next game. Those who attend on time should start.

Tommy Malins, Coach, Norway

I set up a shuttle drill to the side of the side of the training area. The players soon know what it's for...

Michael, Coach, Australia

What I do is get the players who aren't misbehaving to do the punishments. They soon tell their other players to behave, and the players that misbehave soon get bored of standing around. It sounds a bit unorthodox but it works!

Chris, Coach, England

What are your thoughts on this? Join the debate here!

So what can you do if your players are late?

The first thing to do is set an example to your players by being on time yourself, and ensuring the session is well prepared and ready to go, encouraging players to be there on time rather than turn up late because they get used to the start of the session being disorganised or starting late.

The most important thing that you have to drill home to your players is that being on time is important. Start each session perhaps with important announcements that you can tell players you won't repeat. This emphasises the importance of arriving on time.

I have never forgotten one of my early coaches, dedicated part of an early season session giving us constructive fun exercises to try in limited space, rather than aimlessly kicking or hitting balls. This is something I have taken forward in my own coaching ever since.

You might have a pitch for just one hour, so time is precious. For this reason it's important to enforce the mentality that the warm-up actually starts 10 minutes before training and all players are warmed-up and ready-to-go at the official training time. So latecomers aren't just missing the warm-up, they are running laps whilst others are already on pitch enjoying their sport, again this is reliant on you setting the guidelines early in the season.

Enforcing punctuality and respect is a crucial part of being a coach. It comes with the territory and has to be addressed, otherwise it will probably continue to happen. Every coach has their own way of dealing with it, and you can join in the debate by reading one of the questions below, or click here to find out how to ask your own question.

Top image copyright Steve Bowbrick on Flickr.

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