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Original Issue

Ask The Coach Guidance for those lost in sports

Dear Coach: I was cut from my school's basketball team twice. Now
I'm afraid of trying out again. How can I overcome this fear of

Dear Frightened: One of the most important lessons we learn from
sports is how to deal with failure. Every Little League coach has
told his players that even Hall of Famers fail seven out of every
10 times at bat. And every hoops player will at some point hear
the story of Michael Jordan's being cut from his high school
team. "Failure is part of the learning process," says Alan
Goldberg, sports psychologist at Connecticut. "When you lose or
get cut, it's a chance to take your game and your training to the
next level." Find out what you need to do to improve, and
redouble your efforts. At the very least, you'll show the coach
you won't give up. As Goldberg points out, "Coaches like to see
players who are motivated."

Dear Coach: I coach a basketball team of third- and fourth-grade
boys. Some show up to practice more often than others. Should I
reward the kids who show up with more playing time?

Dear Fair: If a player has a good excuse for missing practice and
tells you in advance, don't punish him for it. But make sure the
team understands that unexcused absences could result in less
playing time. "You should let the players and their parents know
what's expected of them," says Brian Kroening, a youth specialist
for the American Sport Education Program. "The kids should take
responsibility for letting the coach know if they aren't going to
show up."