I assume you're talking HS?   I'm gonna guess different coaches handle it different ways.  Missing a practice here or there is probably not an issue....but if it's a regular occurence, I'd expect that playing time would be affected.  If I'm a coach, I'm really not happy if a kid misses a game, especially if he's a starter or a contributor.  If he's the last kid on the bench who doesn't get much PT, I probably don't mind so much....one less thing to worry about

When a player signs up for HS sports, he/she is committing to the requirements of that sport.  If he is to try to also balance part time work, he should make sure that work doesn't interfere with the time slot commitments of his HS sport.  A HS coach should make that clear during the tryout/signup process.  That player should also communicate with the employer that he is a HS athlete and is not available during those time slots.  It really does not work well for the team if one player is allowed regular missing of practice time or games due to other interests - in effect, allowed less of a commitment to the team than his teammates.

That said, once in a while there may be an occasional exception scenario that can be considered and discussed.  For example, I have worked with players and allowed once in a while leaving practice early to umpire youth games.  Also, during Spring/Easter breaks, everyone's schedule typically gets altered, so we work together as best we can on that.  It can be tricky though... once that door is opened, others will look to do the same and/or stretch the guidelines.  It is understandable why some coaches will have firm no-exception rules.   What is the particular situation you have that you are trying to handle?

I should add... I am also aware that there are schools in some areas where there is very limited enrollment or maybe in a low-income area where it becomes more necessary to accept that some players may have to work and miss practices/games at times.  My initial statement is relative to how a typical program is to be run if consistent success and a healthy team/program environment is the goal, IMO.  

BTW, welcome to the site!

When my son played high school ball missing practice the day before a game for any reason (including sick, or academics) meant not playing that game. The rule applied to everyone. It created commitment and discipline. 

Yes I agree not all programs can be treated the same, just looking for context and how others handle their programs (specifically in regards to a job. Only 2nd year on the job so I'm formulating my philosophy regarding missed practices and games "on the fly" so to speak as "excuses" arise and the context of the excuse is presented to me. Usually I get no context which makes the decision to be flexible really hard. Right now I'm struggling with being flexible at all for fear of being taken advantage of and others thinking they can stretch my flexibility further to the point of having a negative impact on the team. Complicating it further is how flexible to be with starters vs non starters/jv boys that don't get many chances.

My current situation is (or rather was) a player wanting to work instead of coming to practice. Instead of simply saying yes its ok or no its not.... I posed the hypothetical question of if a game was moved due to rain to a scheduled work night, whether he'd miss it for work or not? He replied he would call off as his work is understanding with it. He also explained why he was wanting to work and it appears as though its somewhat of a financial hardship condition as he depends on grandparents with little money at times and doesn't want to burden them further with his travel costs of gas/car/insurance/etc. Considering this and the fact that practice time will have to be moved due to weather and on short notice to boot, the decisions is easy for me. And I will likely go eat this evening where he is working and suggest the team do so as well. Kid is a great addition to the team so far, never played baseball before, and you wouldn't believe how far he's come, even put him in varsity game last night as DH and he ended up making it around the bases to score a run only to trip and fall over home plate and proceed to roll toward the out of play line...LOL. What a memory to add to a back and forth battle for the win.

RJM, What you experienced is close to where I think things should fall. I want to instill commitment values and that missing team events is not only hurting the individual player but also the team, but its quite more of a challenging balancing act than many realize. Some of my assistants and I disagree on this a fair bit which challenges my beliefs even further. What size and type of school was this at? Ours is rural and small, graduating class of around 80, no tryouts allowed.

Mine was if you missed practice unexcused you had to miss game.  But if you let me know ahead of time we would work through it.  I had a kid who was a dad and worked on Saturdays 10 hours to help take care of his child.  We were going to practice on a Saturday during playoffs and I excused him because he was doing real life.  I explained with him there, he was open about his struggles, to the rest of the team and told them why.  It was excused because he had informed me early and it was real.  Had a kid who said he was sick who was shown fishing on a friend's facebook account and I sat him two games.  One for missing practice and one for lying.  Real life also.  I still believe it is case by case as long as you know ahead of time and it is real. 

In your situation, I would encourage my whole team and their parents to support him.  As has been said on here a million times, these are the stories that make HS sports special. 

So, BB-2124, it appears that your scenario touches on both of my exception examples... not easy decisions.  I will add something related that may help you in general.  I instituted a "rule of respect" with our players.  If they were ever to call/text with communication that they would be late or miss practice, meetings, game, etc., they were to include the specific reason why they would be missing.   So, there was always a "I'm going to be late to practice today because...".  This afforded the chance to talk about making the right decisions, prioritizing, planning ahead, etc., and I think kept those occurrences to a minimum. 

I also made it clear with assistants that any disagreements we had among ourselves was to be kept away from the players.  Talk thru it, work it out and come together on a position.  Inevitably, there will be things that you will never agree on and, at that point, they have to respect that yours is the final deciding vote and must be supported.

We also had instances where the team would be involved in the process.  Depending on the nature of the issue, the player in question may or may not be present.  As example, a kid quits and asks the next week if he can come back. Similar to your situation, the kid really benefits from being part of the team, so you look for ways to make an exception.  In this instance, I opened it up to the team with the question of whether they can fully support the decision to have him back as a teammate, explained how the player can benefit from being part of the program and how each of them had the opportunity to be a positive influence on this player.   I also explained to the player individually and to the team separately that he would have to earn his way back, making up for lost time and regaining the trust of his teammates that he is as committed as they.  Maybe there is a way to rally your team around supporting this kid.  But I agree that you have to be careful about how you go about opening that door and to what extent. 

Lastly, i believe it is never a good idea to have a different set of rules for starters and non-starters.  Everyone has an important role in a program and no one should be above or below the program guidelines.  Besides, aren't the non-starters trying to become the starters?

 

BB-2124 posted:

Yes I agree not all programs can be treated the same, just looking for context and how others handle their programs (specifically in regards to a job. Only 2nd year on the job so I'm formulating my philosophy regarding missed practices and games "on the fly" so to speak as "excuses" arise and the context of the excuse is presented to me. Usually I get no context which makes the decision to be flexible really hard. Right now I'm struggling with being flexible at all for fear of being taken advantage of and others thinking they can stretch my flexibility further to the point of having a negative impact on the team. Complicating it further is how flexible to be with starters vs non starters/jv boys that don't get many chances.

My current situation is (or rather was) a player wanting to work instead of coming to practice. Instead of simply saying yes its ok or no its not.... I posed the hypothetical question of if a game was moved due to rain to a scheduled work night, whether he'd miss it for work or not? He replied he would call off as his work is understanding with it. He also explained why he was wanting to work and it appears as though its somewhat of a financial hardship condition as he depends on grandparents with little money at times and doesn't want to burden them further with his travel costs of gas/car/insurance/etc. Considering this and the fact that practice time will have to be moved due to weather and on short notice to boot, the decisions is easy for me. And I will likely go eat this evening where he is working and suggest the team do so as well. Kid is a great addition to the team so far, never played baseball before, and you wouldn't believe how far he's come, even put him in varsity game last night as DH and he ended up making it around the bases to score a run only to trip and fall over home plate and proceed to roll toward the out of play line...LOL. What a memory to add to a back and forth battle for the win.

BB, you made a great call given the context here.  Sounds like the young man is doing his best to help out at home and may not have the same advantages as the other players.  Well done!

As others have said.....there are times that it has to be a case by case issue where a hard line on the rules just may not work.  Sounds like this the case.  If the kid is showing up to practice regularly even though he's not seeing playing time and needs to miss a practice due to financial hardship, I'm not sure how you can not give the kid a break, especially since you know for a fact that this is the case.   Now if you get a "my great aunt's sister's cousin who I have never met is in the hospital and my mom wants me to go see her".....maybe not so much

While I didn't come here for justification on decisions, I do appreciate the support. Thank you.

cabbagedad
I'm not sure how to ask this one but How do you keep the same set of rules for starter vs non-starters? Since non-starters sometimes rarely even get an at bat or chance to pinch run depending on the game situation. If non-starter misses an event unexcused and you apply the same set of rules (say a missed game) the non starter would not see the field for practically half the season? Maybe I'm not following what you meant by that. Or maybe my situation might be different as we don't have a separate JV team. We have JV level players that are playing varsity due to numbers and talent available and having some success somewhat surprisingly.

At my large public, being late for practice means you don't start the next game. Missing practice w/o the OK beforehand means you miss a game. Exceptions are religious events and family obligations (funeral, caring for younger sibling, etc..) I know of one kid who had committed to a charity event, and a practice time was changed so as to conflict with it. He felt he had to honor his charity commitment, and informed the coaches, but still had to miss a game. 

   Some kids have a heavier academic schedule than others. I know that my son told the coach he had to miss a practice in order to study for an upcoming "heavy" exam (AP Calc, maybe?). The coach sympathized, but sat him, though I think he did make an appearance later in the game as a pinch runner. Rules are rules, but he was the best baserunner on the team, it was a close game, and I think the point was made.

   I definitely have sympathy for a kid who has to work because he needs money for college, but my experience is that you have to make firm rules and keep to them, for the most part. Especially at a large school(600+ per class). There are simply too many stories out there to keep track of for a coach. Ain't got time for that.

  Not so much at one of the HS I attended, New Sarepta High. Graduating class of 18.

A teammate of my son was invited to Cal Tech over school spring break for a robotics competition. The team had two games and four practices that week. The coach told the kid he should go even though he would have to earn his position back upon return. 

The coach explained to the kid life will be about difficult choices. You have 4-6 weeks remaining in your baseball life. Robotics is your future. Which makes more sense? 

The kid went. He lost his pitching spot to a soph and never got it back. The kid and his father understood. 

BB-2124 posted:

While I didn't come here for justification on decisions, I do appreciate the support. Thank you.

cabbagedad
I'm not sure how to ask this one but How do you keep the same set of rules for starter vs non-starters? Since non-starters sometimes rarely even get an at bat or chance to pinch run depending on the game situation. If non-starter misses an event unexcused and you apply the same set of rules (say a missed game) the non starter would not see the field for practically half the season? Maybe I'm not following what you meant by that. Or maybe my situation might be different as we don't have a separate JV team. We have JV level players that are playing varsity due to numbers and talent available and having some success somewhat surprisingly.

The players are all committing to the same team/program regardless of their skill set or current standing on the depth chart.  There should be collective team objectives as well as individual goals.  The team cannot reach anything close to its potential if several individuals are not required to show up every day.  You can't run drills and practices where everyone becomes very familiar with each other, taking reps with all possible combinations of position assignments.  You won't have a team environment where everyone is helping push each other.  And, the individuals who are "not starters" will not be working as often and as hard to get better, to provide depth, to provide competition to further drive the starters, etc.  You won't feel as comfortable putting the "non-starters" in game situations (even mop-up) where they can continue to improve toward their individual goals and and become better prepared for their opportunities, whether this year or next.  Often, the weaker players are the ones who not only need to improve the most but will show the biggest gains if committed, thus making the team that much stronger.  Injuries happen, failure happens, ineligibles happen, graduation happens.  Build the whole team/program.  The job of the coaching staff is as much to develop the players (all of them) as it is pencil in the best 9.

I could see expecting more out of your team leaders but that applies to those things beyond the rules, not the rules themselves.  Honestly, i can't imagine anything other than one set of rules.  Then, as special circumstances arise, consider whether exception should be allowed.  We took a small, very weak program over about ten years ago.  It took a little over a year to turn it around.  Setting high expectations, demanding commitment, having solid, consistent rules in place and providing the tools and support to enable them to reach their goals is what got them to a MUCH better place.  

Also, if you are having success as you say you are, surely there must be game situations where you can insert non-starters.  They should be fighting to earn those opportunities and they should be rewarded with them when the game situation and their efforts dictate.  Everyone should have the goal to contribute at some point, sooner or later, and they should be encouraged to reach that goal through hard work and commitment.

Here is how we do it.  We had two players miss practice today.  Both were given permission last Monday.  Both went through the AD and the HC.  We have a parent meeting and players have guidelines.  We cover expectations including work.  In those guidelines it states that the team comes first.  If they work, they are not permitted to miss games or practice.  Life is tough but they have to make choices.  In my time as a HC and AC, I have not had any players miss due to work.  We also have a player who needs to work.  That player has not missed a practice or game in two years.  

What do you guys think about a college player missing a game for the wedding of a close relative?  This came up in a  hypothetical discussion about our son and his cousin's wedding. I think it would tear him up if he had to make that choice so I hope he doesn't have to. I told the cousin's parents to choose a Sunday if they can.  Our son's conference doesn't play league games on Sunday.  I can see him maybe missing a non-conference game.

cabbagedad posted:
BB-2124 posted:

While I didn't come here for justification on decisions, I do appreciate the support. Thank you.

cabbagedad
I'm not sure how to ask this one but How do you keep the same set of rules for starter vs non-starters? Since non-starters sometimes rarely even get an at bat or chance to pinch run depending on the game situation. If non-starter misses an event unexcused and you apply the same set of rules (say a missed game) the non starter would not see the field for practically half the season? Maybe I'm not following what you meant by that. Or maybe my situation might be different as we don't have a separate JV team. We have JV level players that are playing varsity due to numbers and talent available and having some success somewhat surprisingly.

The players are all committing to the same team/program regardless of their skill set or current standing on the depth chart.  There should be collective team objectives as well as individual goals.  The team cannot reach anything close to its potential if several individuals are not required to show up every day.  You can't run drills and practices where everyone becomes very familiar with each other, taking reps with all possible combinations of position assignments.  You won't have a team environment where everyone is helping push each other.  And, the individuals who are "not starters" will not be working as often and as hard to get better, to provide depth, to provide competition to further drive the starters, etc.  You won't feel as comfortable putting the "non-starters" in game situations (even mop-up) where they can continue to improve toward their individual goals and and become better prepared for their opportunities, whether this year or next.  Often, the weaker players are the ones who not only need to improve the most but will show the biggest gains if committed, thus making the team that much stronger.  Injuries happen, failure happens, ineligibles happen, graduation happens.  Build the whole team/program.  The job of the coaching staff is as much to develop the players (all of them) as it is pencil in the best 9.

I could see expecting more out of your team leaders but that applies to those things beyond the rules, not the rules themselves.  Honestly, i can't imagine anything other than one set of rules.  Then, as special circumstances arise, consider whether exception should be allowed.  We took a small, very weak program over about ten years ago.  It took a little over a year to turn it around.  Setting high expectations, demanding commitment, having solid, consistent rules in place and providing the tools and support to enable them to reach their goals is what got them to a MUCH better place.  

Also, if you are having success as you say you are, surely there must be game situations where you can insert non-starters.  They should be fighting to earn those opportunities and they should be rewarded with them when the game situation and their efforts dictate.  Everyone should have the goal to contribute at some point, sooner or later, and they should be encouraged to reach that goal through hard work and commitment.

I guess I should have asked that differently. I agree rules are the same, but how do you align consequences? So the penalty for say one unexcused absence for a starter might be missed start or game. The non-starter that has very little time to penalize except in blowout games... cannot miss a start or whole game as that never happens for that player. So I guess I should have posed the question as non-starter vs starter penalties, vs rules? How can they be the same is they don't play the same?

JCG posted:

What do you guys think about a college player missing a game for the wedding of a close relative?  This came up in a  hypothetical discussion about our son and his cousin's wedding. I think it would tear him up if he had to make that choice so I hope he doesn't have to. I told the cousin's parents to choose a Sunday if they can.  Our son's conference doesn't play league games on Sunday.  I can see him maybe missing a non-conference game.

That's a tough one, JCG... I feel like immediate family, of course, is a no-brainer but for a cousin, the general expectation would be not to miss unless there was a compelling story of how close the relationship is.  Of course, as we get older and head into the workforce, college and family life, it becomes impossible to make everyone's weddings, etc., particularly as families scatter geographically.  Finance and commitments come into play often.  

My wife and I both come from large families and mine in particular is really spread all over the country.  There is a general understanding that attendance isn't expected, even though we are all close and stay in touch.

BB-2124 posted:
cabbagedad posted:
BB-2124 posted:

While I didn't come here for justification on decisions, I do appreciate the support. Thank you.

cabbagedad
I'm not sure how to ask this one but How do you keep the same set of rules for starter vs non-starters? Since non-starters sometimes rarely even get an at bat or chance to pinch run depending on the game situation. If non-starter misses an event unexcused and you apply the same set of rules (say a missed game) the non starter would not see the field for practically half the season? Maybe I'm not following what you meant by that. Or maybe my situation might be different as we don't have a separate JV team. We have JV level players that are playing varsity due to numbers and talent available and having some success somewhat surprisingly.

The players are all committing to the same team/program regardless of their skill set or current standing on the depth chart.  There should be collective team objectives as well as individual goals.  The team cannot reach anything close to its potential if several individuals are not required to show up every day.  You can't run drills and practices where everyone becomes very familiar with each other, taking reps with all possible combinations of position assignments.  You won't have a team environment where everyone is helping push each other.  And, the individuals who are "not starters" will not be working as often and as hard to get better, to provide depth, to provide competition to further drive the starters, etc.  You won't feel as comfortable putting the "non-starters" in game situations (even mop-up) where they can continue to improve toward their individual goals and and become better prepared for their opportunities, whether this year or next.  Often, the weaker players are the ones who not only need to improve the most but will show the biggest gains if committed, thus making the team that much stronger.  Injuries happen, failure happens, ineligibles happen, graduation happens.  Build the whole team/program.  The job of the coaching staff is as much to develop the players (all of them) as it is pencil in the best 9.

I could see expecting more out of your team leaders but that applies to those things beyond the rules, not the rules themselves.  Honestly, i can't imagine anything other than one set of rules.  Then, as special circumstances arise, consider whether exception should be allowed.  We took a small, very weak program over about ten years ago.  It took a little over a year to turn it around.  Setting high expectations, demanding commitment, having solid, consistent rules in place and providing the tools and support to enable them to reach their goals is what got them to a MUCH better place.  

Also, if you are having success as you say you are, surely there must be game situations where you can insert non-starters.  They should be fighting to earn those opportunities and they should be rewarded with them when the game situation and their efforts dictate.  Everyone should have the goal to contribute at some point, sooner or later, and they should be encouraged to reach that goal through hard work and commitment.

I guess I should have asked that differently. I agree rules are the same, but how do you align consequences? So the penalty for say one unexcused absence for a starter might be missed start or game. The non-starter that has very little time to penalize except in blowout games... cannot miss a start or whole game as that never happens for that player. So I guess I should have posed the question as non-starter vs starter penalties, vs rules? How can they be the same is they don't play the same?

Oh...  never mind 

That is more difficult.  This is where it was easier for me because we did have multiple squads and I tended to carry only enough on V to where the players at the bottom of the depth chart will at least feel like they have a shot at getting in either in a specialty role or in a lopsided game.  And JV kids play... not necessarily equal time but some.

I would think for your scenario, it becomes more of a function of regular communication regarding commitment and expectations.  The action isn't always discipline (although you would still uphold whatever no-play rule you have).  Sometimes it is just checking in... "hey we talked about our expectations on commitment and you have missed X practices this month.  Are you with us?  Can your teammates expect better from you the rest of the season?  Is everything OK? ... " etc.

cabbagedad posted:
BB-2124 posted:
cabbagedad posted:
BB-2124 posted:

While I didn't come here for justification on decisions, I do appreciate the support. Thank you.

cabbagedad
I'm not sure how to ask this one but How do you keep the same set of rules for starter vs non-starters? Since non-starters sometimes rarely even get an at bat or chance to pinch run depending on the game situation. If non-starter misses an event unexcused and you apply the same set of rules (say a missed game) the non starter would not see the field for practically half the season? Maybe I'm not following what you meant by that. Or maybe my situation might be different as we don't have a separate JV team. We have JV level players that are playing varsity due to numbers and talent available and having some success somewhat surprisingly.

The players are all committing to the same team/program regardless of their skill set or current standing on the depth chart.  There should be collective team objectives as well as individual goals.  The team cannot reach anything close to its potential if several individuals are not required to show up every day.  You can't run drills and practices where everyone becomes very familiar with each other, taking reps with all possible combinations of position assignments.  You won't have a team environment where everyone is helping push each other.  And, the individuals who are "not starters" will not be working as often and as hard to get better, to provide depth, to provide competition to further drive the starters, etc.  You won't feel as comfortable putting the "non-starters" in game situations (even mop-up) where they can continue to improve toward their individual goals and and become better prepared for their opportunities, whether this year or next.  Often, the weaker players are the ones who not only need to improve the most but will show the biggest gains if committed, thus making the team that much stronger.  Injuries happen, failure happens, ineligibles happen, graduation happens.  Build the whole team/program.  The job of the coaching staff is as much to develop the players (all of them) as it is pencil in the best 9.

I could see expecting more out of your team leaders but that applies to those things beyond the rules, not the rules themselves.  Honestly, i can't imagine anything other than one set of rules.  Then, as special circumstances arise, consider whether exception should be allowed.  We took a small, very weak program over about ten years ago.  It took a little over a year to turn it around.  Setting high expectations, demanding commitment, having solid, consistent rules in place and providing the tools and support to enable them to reach their goals is what got them to a MUCH better place.  

Also, if you are having success as you say you are, surely there must be game situations where you can insert non-starters.  They should be fighting to earn those opportunities and they should be rewarded with them when the game situation and their efforts dictate.  Everyone should have the goal to contribute at some point, sooner or later, and they should be encouraged to reach that goal through hard work and commitment.

I guess I should have asked that differently. I agree rules are the same, but how do you align consequences? So the penalty for say one unexcused absence for a starter might be missed start or game. The non-starter that has very little time to penalize except in blowout games... cannot miss a start or whole game as that never happens for that player. So I guess I should have posed the question as non-starter vs starter penalties, vs rules? How can they be the same is they don't play the same?

Oh...  never mind 

That is more difficult.  This is where it was easier for me because we did have multiple squads and I tended to carry only enough on V to where the players at the bottom of the depth chart will at least feel like they have a shot at getting in either in a specialty role or in a lopsided game.  And JV kids play... not necessarily equal time but some.

I would think for your scenario, it becomes more of a function of regular communication regarding commitment and expectations.  The action isn't always discipline (although you would still uphold whatever no-play rule you have).  Sometimes it is just checking in... "hey we talked about our expectations on commitment and you have missed X practices this month.  Are you with us?  Can your teammates expect better from you the rest of the season?  Is everything OK? ... " etc.

Ah...yeah already doing that. not well I might add but getting better. thanks for clarifying. 

cabbagedad posted:
JCG posted:

What do you guys think about a college player missing a game for the wedding of a close relative?  This came up in a  hypothetical discussion about our son and his cousin's wedding. I think it would tear him up if he had to make that choice so I hope he doesn't have to. I told the cousin's parents to choose a Sunday if they can.  Our son's conference doesn't play league games on Sunday.  I can see him maybe missing a non-conference game.

That's a tough one, JCG... I feel like immediate family, of course, is a no-brainer but for a cousin, the general expectation would be not to miss unless there was a compelling story of how close the relationship is.  Of course, as we get older and head into the workforce, college and family life, it becomes impossible to make everyone's weddings, etc., particularly as families scatter geographically.  Finance and commitments come into play often.  

My wife and I both come from large families and mine in particular is really spread all over the country.  There is a general understanding that attendance isn't expected, even though we are all close and stay in touch.

Thanks for the reply Cabbage.  We don't have a large family and the cousins are pretty close so I hope he can make it.  I have told the bride's parents not to expect her cousin if they schedule a Saturday during baseball season.  That's all I can do.

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