I have a player that after 3 days of practice developed pneumonia. The child has missed roughly 1 month of practice time as it has triggered some asthma type symptoms and the doctor has just released her to play. I know that she is behind and not in as good a shape, but I believe she could be a good contributor to the team. How would you recommend me working her into the rotation without overlooking the players that have been there, but also not penalize the girl who has been sick? I want to be fair to all, but just not sure how. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Great question. Just like we coach the kids to communicate on the floor during practices and games, I think communication would work for you in dealing with this unusual situation. I would speak to the player who has been out for some time and let her know that you will be working her back in slowly for two reasons. The first is because she needs to get back into shape and it wouldn't be healthy for her if you pushed her back too fast. Her health is #1 priority, and she should know that. The second is, since she has been out for some time, that the other girls have stepped up and have been working hard during the time she was out. In a way, you had to count on these other girls to jump in and keep the team going, and they have done a good job. So over the course of the next few weeks, she has to work back into shape, and also work herself back into a starting role. I would let her know that she WILL see minutes in the games, but on account of the points mentioned above, her playing time will have to return gradually. This is a part of life, and in all fairness to everyone, this is the path you are following as the coach. If she plays well in practice and in the limited time during the games, and continues to improve and show she is better than the girls in front of her, then the other girls will see this, accept that she is gradually increasing her role on the team, honor it, and respect you for the way you handled the situation. In other words, let the player that was sick transition herself back into a starting role by the way she performs over time.
I hope this helps.
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