How to Schedule Practices
Trying to get everyone to practice is tough! Drillers have their own lives outside of school and sometimes can’t work around the schedule. Don’t you wish you could freeze time?
So in the case that you can’t freeze time, what can you do to get everyone to practice? Working with missing members is difficult, so here are some ways to work around this.
Remember, if you are a captain, your responsibility is to accomodate team members and work with them. You’re not better than them. You’re just leading them, and in order for this to happen, they must be able to attend!
Vote on practices. Ask your team members what the best days for practice are. Usually Sundays are already eliminated because many people have religious affiliations. But some people are busy every Wednesday with other important things. You can’t stop them; these people have their own lives and drill should not interfere! Voting will eliminate skipping practices for periodic events, like meetings, Church, whatever people do. This allows team members to speak up for when they cannot be here. Remember: work with your team members. Instead of scolding them when they aren’t here, create a schedule that will allow them to be here. It’s simple as that.
Keep practices consistent. Don’t make the schedule random. After you’ve voted and found out which days are okay for practice, find out which days you will practice. This should be a periodic schedule, like Every Monday to Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. Something like that. This way there are no random practices on days that people are busy. In additional, members will have a chance to join clubs and be involved in the school in other ways; in this example, Fridays are always free, so members can join clubs that are on Fridays.
No surprise practices. This goes with keeping practices consistent. Don’t expect everyone to be at practice if you alert them the day before! Preferably, practices should be scheduled one month in advance. Two weeks is good enough, but it’s the bare minimum. The earlier they know about practices, the more time they have to alert you about times that they cannot be here; consequently, you will have more time to reschedule or cancel and keep everyone at practice.
If an extra practice is necessary, VOTE! Again, it’s not a team member’s fault if she can’t be there. This way you know who can make it.
NEVER schedule before asking/voting. This is probably the biggest planning mistake there is, but people do it all the time! Just ask yourself why you would schedule something when you know someone can’t make it? Without everyone, practice is almost a waste because one person is behind.
Be nice about it. If someone can’t make it, ask why (nicely!). If this is a plausible excuse, then it’s ok. Reschedule practice if there is time. Things like funerals or sickness come up unexpectedly. You can’t expect a member to alert you two weeks in advance about this. Also, some appointments can only be made during practice time. Clinics usually close early and are closed on Fridays. Just ask the member to explain and use your own reasoning to see if this is okay. Smile. If you’re angry about it, the then she will be also. This creates a negative team.
Make sure you show everyone the schedule. They can’t be here if they don’t know!
There is always someone that likes to be sick or have a headache every other day. In this case, you should talk with her. See if this is a plausible excuse or if she is simply trying to miss practice. Don’t be afraid to kick her off the team; besides, the reason she’s always “sick” is probably because she hates practice. These people pull your team behind.
Remember that bad scheduling leads to missing members and unproductive practices. Scolding your members for being absent leads to a negative team mood. So work with your team members to form a schedule!
My article about planning actual practice time might also be helpful.