IS TRAINING MANDATORY?Let me first share a few less-complex questions:
Are players expected to attend all their team’s training sessions? Yes. If a player cannot make their team’s training session, should they let the coach know? Yes. If a player cannot make their team’s training session, should they attempt to attend another team’s session? Yes. If a player misses training, are there consequences? Yes.*
But is a particular training session mandatory? I say no. A training isn’t mandatory just like your “mandatory” meeting at work isn’t really mandatory. You could come up with a dozen reasons that you would miss a “mandatory” work meeting (health issue, family emergency, overslept, flight canceled, CEO called, etc. – some voluntary and others not). So purely from a semantics standpoint, very few things in life are mandatory. That doesn’t mean that they are less important. And that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
Shifting the paradigm. For our Club, because our training sessions aren’t “mandatory,” it forces us to PREPARE and PLAN making EVERY session efficient, interesting, and worthwhile for our players. We want players to leave our training sessions buzzing with excitement and for those that couldn’t attend to feel like they missed out.
When we stop thinking attendance is mandatory, we start working harder to make attendance worthwhile. Who’s we? Obviously the leadership: the coach, our directors, our parent administrators. We can also start expecting our players to come with a mindset of making training worthwhile for themselves and their teammates.
Training: it’s not mandatory, but you don’t want to miss it! *For a youth soccer player, missing training will likely negatively impact their development, their team and teammates’ development, the morale of their team, and their playing time and performance in games.