Practice: Does it matter?

We always hear the story, practice makes perfect. Or the old joke, “how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The reply is “practice.”

What about attendance? I always liked the saying, “Half of life is just showing up!”

So I decided to do a little experiment this year and take attendance of the U13 and U15 teams. This is what I found:

Taking out our three U15 players who were up front and said they would not make practices due to other commitments and taking out an injured player who missed weeks with a broken hand, our U15 team averaged 20/ 23 practices for an 87 percent attendance rate.

Our U13 team averaged 16/21, for a 76 percent average.

Our U15 players of the match (aka men of the match) recorded an average attendance rate of 20/23, or 87 percent, exactly the same rate as the team average. But looking closely, if we took out one player of the match who had the lowest attendance, then the average went to 21/ 23 or a 91 percent attendance rate.

Our U13 players of the match averaged 17/21 or 80 percent. Taking out the one lowest attendance rate made it 18/21 or an 86 percent attendance rate.

The U15 players who were not named players of the match averaged 15/ 23 or a 65 percent attendance rate

The U13 players who were not players of the match averaged 16/21 or 75 percent.

So what does this tell us?

Those players who attended practice more often were much more likely to be player of the match. U15 attendance rate for POM players was 26 percentage points higher. For the U13 team, the difference was 11 percentage points.

What else did we observe?

Well, the U15 team had the same starting lineup in 6/7 games, and the seventh game featured only one change due to an absence.

The U13s did not field the same starting team twice.

U15 win rate = 100%

U13 win rate = 0%

Clearly attendance makes a difference, both at practice and at games. It’s very hard to get into a groove, or to feel comfortable with your teammates when they change every weekend. Conversely, it is very reassuring and leads to better play if you can field a consistent team week after week. The players get to know each other and figure out who can do what.

Attendance at practice also makes a big difference. I am not surprised that our POM players had a much higher attendance rate than the rest of the players. Practice does make perfect.

So get to practice! You might learn something and get better!

–Coach Persanis