When I played basketball for five years, the coach I had had one very simple rule: you either showed up to practice, or you didn't play the game that week. Plain and simple. We were allowed to miss five practices. They were held at night between 7 and 9pm, and for the entire season, we had five excused absences with the PARENT having to talk to the coach before the practice. The other great thing was that this wasn't just written on a piece of paper that the parents signed and handed back to the coach. The coaches sat down with the parents and the kids at the first practice and explained what he expected from everyone, the parents, the kids, himself, his staff, even the spectators that came out. This way, everyone was on the same page, and there could be no cause for complaint when a child missed a practice unexcused and didn't get to play the game that weekend. End of story.