The most common ways of dealing with late players are:
- Make them run laps or do extra conditioning
- In more extreme cases, cut their playing time
The problem with these solutions is they cause players – and often the entire team – to fall behind as they miss other skills while they make up missed conditioning or the team waits for much needed players. Also, the reality is that it is often the parents, not the player, that cause the tardiness, yet these methods penalize the player.
There is an alternative!
Arrive a few minutes earlier than normal for practices. Set-up a small-sided field within your practice area. As players arrive, hand them pinnies and let them scrimmage.
This accomplishes several goals:
- It rewards the players that are early and on time, rather than penalizing the ones that are late.
- It gives you, as the coach, time to set-up your practice while the players who are there are constructively occupied and getting extra touches on the ball.
- It serves as an effective warm-up.
- It gives players an extra chance to do what they enjoy most – PLAY!