EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

I rotate my players each week but one dad is not happy his son is going to sit out a match – how should I deal with this?

Ask Dave

I have a situation at my club where I have taken on extra players so we have a squad of 18 and now have to rotate players each week so everyone misses a game. All players are rotated fairly and equally – everything was working well until this weekend when one dad has said his son is the best player and will not accept him missing a game saying I would rather manage a mid table team than a league winning side. I don’t want to lose the player but what can I do?

Dave says

You certainly have a tricky situation on your hands. However you are doing exactly the right thing. You don’t say the age of your team but with a squad your size i would guess U14. You have to consider the whole squad as you are doing and if you make an exception over one player due to his parents you will open a whole can of worms with the other parents and players. They all have the same things invested in the club.

I rotate my players each week but one dad is not happy his son is going to sit out a match – how should I deal with this

 

One player missing a few games over the course of a season will not make all that much difference to how your team plays. I had an Under 10s team with one outstanding player due to his size but he had to take his turn on the subs bench like everyone else. His parents were an absolute nightmare pointing out to me that the opposition only scored when their son was on the bench. But as a team we didn’t suffer when he was out, and some of the other players really stepped up and it helped their development.

Think Barcelona without Lionel Messi for a long period last season and how Neymar and Luis Suarez modified their play and played out of their skin without him. However, to get back to your main point, you cannot make exceptions for players – you have made the decision and it is a common situation to have weeks when players have to be left out and in my opinion you have made exactly the correct decision.

Good luck with the parents, it’s hard enough running a team without that hassle! And I know that next time it comes around to that player having to sit out you will have doubts about doing it. It is a bit like when you make substitutions (and i have been guilty of this myself) when one of the players has a very vocal dad and another one has no parent at the game it is easier to take the one without a parent at the game off or take your own son off!

But you have to be strong on this one.

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