Starting a practice or a meeting late is disrespectful; will cost your team valuable learning time; and sets an example for all attendees that “we don’t have to be on time.” Admittedly, I have been guilty of this; but in every instance, it bothered me to do so. I felt guilty that I robbed people of their time.
There are a number of reasons that may cause us to not start on time; but I want to focus on a few of the more common reasons.
- We ourselves are late.
- A number of attendees or players are late and we don’t want to start without everyone present.
- Our meeting/practice is scheduled in a room/field that is being used; and those in front of us are running over their allotted time.
- We get caught up in small talk that causes us to delay.
We ourselves are late
Hopefully this reason accounts for the fewest of the four listed above. The moment you know that you will be late, you need to reach out to your attendees and let them know that you are running late and when you will arrive. With today’s technology, there is no reason why you cannot call, text or message someone (or everyone) as to the fact that you will be late. Arriving late to your own practice or meeting without giving people notice is a sign of disrespect and you run the risk that attendees will be late to your next meeting. They may develop the mindset of “he will be late so no reason for us to show on time.”
A number of attendees or players are late and we don’t want to start without everyone present.
This is unfair to those that are already present. You are essentially telling those that are present that the individual(s) that are late are too important for us to begin on time. This is the wrong message to send. You’re telling everyone that it’s okay to be late because we won’t start until everyone is here. Hopefully, those that are late gave advanced warning, either by text, phone or email. There are many valid reasons to be late; but again, those that are late should give you notice. You have an agenda, and you cannot afford to lose time. If people are late, it’s their responsibility to ask what was missed. If they arrive and the practice has yet to start, they won’t feel as though they are late. They will only feel late if the practice has started when they arrive.
Our meeting/practice is scheduled in a room/field that is being used; and those in front of us are running over their allotted time.
This happens quite often, and you need to be prepared to deal with this issue. You should never stand around waiting for the team/group in front of you to finish. Find an area off to the side of the field and begin your practice, usually warming up or stretching. Have one of your coaches kindly tell the other group that their time is up and you need the space. But, get started with your practice plan. It’s fairly simple to run through your warm-ups and stretching in a smaller space or space off to the side. If you know there is a chance that getting on the field at your scheduled time may be an issue, plan your practice accordingly. Plan drills for your first 15-20 minutes in a way that they can be executed in a space that will be accessible.
We get caught up in small talk that causes us to delay.
There’s no excuse good enough for allowing ‘chit chat’ to cause a delay in getting started. Be aware of the time and get started. Yes, people will arrive early and you will find yourself engaged in small talk; but be aware of the time. Politely excuse yourself at the proper time. The person you’re speaking with will understand…YOU’RE the coach…they should understand you want to start on time.
A lot can be done in a short amount of time. Practices do not have to be several hours long. But, it’s quite easy to turn a 90 minute practice into a 70 minute practice if you’re not prepared and you do not start on time. First, have a plan. Know what you’re going to do with every minute. Second, arrive early so you can set everything up. Do not lose time between drills b/c you need to set up cones, screens, etc for the next drill. Third, start on time, regardless of who is present. If you have to start with only one player, so be it. Hopefully those that are late will get the message. Fourth, communicate with your team at the beginning of practice what you want to achieve today. Don’t leave them guessing as to what’s next. Lastly, end on time. People have schedules and you don’t want to intrude on their time. If you need to extend a few extra minutes, inform your players and parents, and let them know its ok if they need to leave for another commitment.
Execute your plan every day. And it begins with a very simple concept…START ON TIME!