Your Letters & Pictures

In soccer, as in life, if you begin to lie and no one corrects you, you’ll lie for the rest of your life.

“Sorry Coach, the traffic was horrible.”
“Sorry, my car wouldn’t start.”
“Sorry, my brother took my soccer ball.”
“Sorry, my mom didn’t know there was a practice today.”
“Sorry, my watch stopped.”

How many times have coaches heard these sentences? Too many times. I’m one of them and I’ve reached my point of saturation. I have 2 choices if I don’t want to hear them anymore.

-Not to coach anymore.
-Do something to eliminate this .

The first solution, wouldn’t even cross my mind! So, the solution is the second one.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that, aside from age or sex, there are 3 kinds of players.

-Those who always come early
-Those who always come just on time
-Those who are always late


In 57 years, at work, in social life or in sports, I’ve always noticed this. It’s something genetic and there’s ‘almost’ nothing you can do.

Wherever the practice or the game is, close or very far away, who’s always late will be late and will say one of the sentences I listed above. So, it’s not about the distance, it’s about the fact that they’re still home at the time they should have left. They never consider the time needed to get to the place. One minute before that time, they have the sensation of being on time. If you take away the time you need to reach the place, they’re right!

To correct this, here are 4 solutions.

First. Be sarcastic about the traffic: “Hey, we didn’t get here through a secret tunnel underground.” or “We didn’t come here in a helicopter.” They have to understand that we (who were on time) came from the same direction and weren’t held up by traffic. Without confronting them specifically they have to understand that they’re lying.

If, after a few times, the sarcasm doesn’t work, here’s the second solution. 10 push-ups for every 5 minutes they’re late. In general (after a few hundred!!!) the subject gets the concept and begins arriving on time or closer.

If you don’t see improvement, here’s the third solution. Suspend the player from games. They come to the practices, even late, but they skip the next game. This doesn’t mean they stay home. They come to the game, collect balls, take care of the equipment, give water to team-mates, act as ‘gofer’ for the coach, etc., etc. If they continue coming late, they skip the next 2 games.

I imagine you’ve already gotten the forth solution. The suspension is DEFINITIVE for the rest of the season. They come to practice and continue to be a helper at the games, supposing they still come.

Don’t think you’re being too harsh. You’re doing it for the good of the players, what ever age they are. The bad habit of lying is like an illness that could be cured from the beginning, otherwise, it becomes chronic. They will lie for the rest of their lives, at school, at work, in social life and worse, to THEMSELVES. In that moment they don’t even realize anymore that they’re lying and they think we’re the ones who don’t believe them! As a parent, as a friend, as a wife, as a husband or as a coach.

Coach Gianni
Posted on 30 Jan 2006 by coachgianni
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