I remember turning up to a rep training a few years back. And it was noticeable that there was a large contingent of players (from one school) missing. I immediately sparked up a conversation with the Head Coach. “Gee, it’s disappointing that those boys aren’t here. Sounds like that school isn’t endorsing the campaign, blinkin typical bla, bla, bla.”
The Head coach then turned and said ‘stop worrying about the players who aren’t here, and let’s focus on the players who are here. They’re keen and ready to go, so let’s help them.’
Wow, that was great advice, which has forever stuck in the mindset. It is really natural for us to worry about those players who aren’t fronting to practices and then exert unnecessary negative energy about them. We get annoyed - ‘I’ve planned this session and they’re letting the team down,’ frustrated ‘the least they could do it call,’ or brassed off ‘bloody typical, they’re useless and unreliable.’ Often this annoyance and frustration will occupy our mind and may spill out, either emotionally or verbally, onto the playing group,
All the while, a keen group of players have made their way to practice, ready to roll their sleeves up and work hard. So let’s flip the mindset to focus on who is there rather than who isn’t there. Get in the moment, help the players who have fronted and give them the positive love and energy. Understanding the reason for non-attendance is something that can surely wait until after practice!
Disclaimer - if you are working with youth and they are formally under your watch, then it will be necessary to 'worry.'