Why players quit your team

It’s that awful time of year when clubs and players discover who is staying and who is leaving – and whether the team has enough players to keep going for the next season. No coach wants to find out the local rivals have nipped in and lured some of your players away.

I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of youth players over the years and it is always hard to lose one of them – each of them has something different they offer to the team, to the players and to me the coach.

However, a big part of what I do is develop players so that they reach the highest level they possibly can in the sport, and that means if the big clubs in the area come calling, I have done my job and they move up to academy level.

Not enough players

This week I heard about a team that has had to disband because there were not enough players to keep going. Fortunately for them, they are the fourth team in their age group, so they can join one of the other teams and stay at the club. Six players are leaving and when I asked why, I was given a long tale of losing games, players losing interest and parents fed up with the weekly trudge.

It’s a shame when teams have so much to look forward to at the start of the season, only to find out half way through that they were not prepared, the coach was not interested or the parents had not really bought into the philosophy of the club – winning being the word on everyone’s lips.

Looking deeper into what happened with the team, it seems that the coach was like many who do the job – a parent who just organised the team. There were no coaching evenings, no social gatherings, no way for the coach to get to know his players. He just emailed the match details and the players turned up.

Missed out on fun

For a whole season the players in that team had missed out on all the fun, all the learning and all the social interaction that goes along with being in a team. All these things, plus playing matches, go into developing a successful side – it isn’t about the winning, it’s how you win.

My hope is that all those players join a team where they will get all those things – and I’m not having a pop at the parent who took charge. I know how difficult it is when you have to run a team and coach in the evening straight after work.
What all the other parents must do in that situation is get together and help out. They are the vital cog that gets a team going when it’s falling apart.

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