An American coach abroad once observed what she saw as the difference between coaching in France and coaching in the States. I actually had the captain of the Exeter women’s team at the time, who’s French, give the article a read. These were her comments:
It is all very true. Sport for kids is not value as a possible career or an enhancement of your learning/profile for the future, it is seen as an obstacle to education. There is zero school competition, the notions of varsity or sport scholarships are not available in the French Sport vocabulary.
I would not say all sport kids have that ethos but until your more ‘elite training’ that is what you get, agreed 100%.
In most sports, especially for a woman, to get in an elite academy (except football who are entirely self-funded by their federation, i.e. zero public funding needed) all athletes have to maintain grades above average, and get dropped out of the programme if they drop their grades, from one year or semester to the other. Schools are VERY reluctant to welcome sport kids. Thank God, they are free and open for all until reaching 16. After that good luck finding a college or university accepting you on a sport contract!
I have my own first-hand experience with unreliable athletes and commitment issues. I saw it as an issue with a number of different teams and clubs in my time in England. There, as in France, there isn’t the same sort of scholastic link to sports as there is in the US. Additionally, in the UK they don’t have a professional volleyball structure either, which France does at least have.
So I get it. And to be honest, I’ve seen similar issues with club teams in the States.
At the same time, though, I can’t help but feel like developing the right expectations in the team would help with those attendance issues. There was a major difference in how things went my first year coaching the Exeter women and my second year. Expectations changed and attendance was radically better. That is carrying over into this year.
I won’t claim that it’s all about coaching, of course. The players have to create the expectation among themselves. The coach can influence that, though. After all, one of the first rules of coaching beginners is to design things to encourage them to come back for more! There’s no reason we shouldn’t have the same attitude coaching non-beginners.
So how do you deal with late players?
6 Steps to Better Practices - Free Guide
Join my mailing list today and get this free guide to making your practices the best, along with loads more coaching tips and information.