Who's In First League Management

The Top of the Standings

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What are we talking about? Practice?

It’s funny, isn’t it? You can get 95% turnout for every game of your regular season and 100% turnout for your post-season tournament, but how many people show when you try and schedule a pre-season practice?

That’s what I thought!

People will inevitably drop everything on their calendars to make a game or match, but when you try and schedule a practice, even in the same time slot as your games, all of a sudden people have dinner plans, have to work late or have a special date that cannot be moved.

It isn’t cliché to say that practice makes perfect. It may be that your basketball team wants to get together to practice a few plays that they will run during the season. Or maybe your softball team hasn’t fielded a grounder or caught a fly ball in months. Maybe you just want the team to mesh, take some swings or make some shots.

Whatever your reasoning behind calling practice, it is aggravating when you get less than 50% attendance.

So here are some techniques you can use to get better participation for your obligatory (i.e. optional) practices.

Use your power as a manager to get them to come.
1. Threaten to drop people who don’t show in the line-up, or bench them for the first game. Maybe they won’t start or won’t play in the first game. Maybe they will have to buy the first round after the game, or bring beverages or oranges to the game. Whatever the threat you think will have the most impact, use it.

2. Conversely, reward those who show. Whether you buy the first round at the batting cages or allow those who show up to choose their position, you can also take a positive stance to get your players to show.

Since you probably know your players well, you might know which technique will be better received by your teammates. So in your communication, either via a e-mail or over the phone, select the tone you think will have the greatest impact and use it.

But in the end, remember that sometimes things do come up. And since we are playing rec sports, and aren’t doing this for a living, don’t hold a grudge on anyone who doesn’t show. You can enforce rules and those that miss can suffer, but limit any “punishment” to one or two games and then let it pass.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

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