Brought to you by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program.
Honor and Respect.
These are the principles we all strive to live by.
And if we want to be recognized as Responsible Coaches and Responsible Sport Parents, our aim us is to put these principles at the heart, soul and center of everything we do – before, during and after the course of competition.
This month at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program, we’re going to take a closer look at how coaches and parents can ensure they and their athletes alike honor the game – by respecting the respective sport’s ROOTS.
Honoring The Game: The Responsible Coach’s Code
Responsible Coaches conduct themselves by a code, which the experts at Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) calls “Honoring The Game."
To remember the components of this code, remind yourself and your players that Honoring The Game means respecting the sport’s ROOTS – where ROOTS is an acronym for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self.
Lead By Example
This highly powerful and practical aspect of Responsible Coaching lets you lead by example. For instance, when your athletes and their parents see you keep your temper in check when an official misses a call, they’re much more likely to check their own emotions.
It’s hugely important for Responsible Coaches to have – and practice – a self-control routine during competition. An example of such a routine could include:
Later on, you can use the experience as a teachable moment with your kids. Tell them something along the lines of, “I was pretty upset with what happened, but I controlled myself so I wouldn’t do anything that would dishonor the game. And that’s an important lesson I want you to learn from sports – how to develop your own self-control so you will always Honor The Game…no matter what.”
Honorable Interaction With Officials
There are several ways you can approach an official after what you view as a bad call. Depending on your sport, you may be able to ask officials, “Can you let me know what you saw on that last play?” Angrily screaming at the official, or asking a sarcastic, cutting question such as, “What are you, blind?” is certainly a less positive, respectful – and almost always less effective – method of communicating your issue with a questionable call.
By staying calm, keeping your voice low, giving the official plenty of space and asking a legitimate question about what they saw (rather than questioning the accuracy of their call), you’ll have the best chance of enjoying a constructive interaction with the official.
Because today’s youth sports environment can be so volatile, at times even violent, it’s important to prevent any outraged coach, player or parent from boiling over. The most distressing part of the youth sports environment today is that too many young athletes, coaches and parents emulate volatile and/or violent behavior.
Introducing “Honoring The Game” To Your Team
Now you know all about Honoring The Game, respecting its ROOTS, and leading by example, especially when it comes to controlling your emotions and interacting respectfully with officials. But how do you communicate these concepts with your young athletes, who are more prone to erratic emotions and scattered minds?
It’s easy, really. Before your season officially kicks off, let your players know you want to coach a team that always does its best to Honor The Game. Communicate this approach repeatedly, and consider going over it in detail during a practice or several practices. Remind your kids that Honoring The Game means that everyone on your team will have respect for the ROOTS of the game.
Honoring The Game Tools
Just like anything else in sports – or life – practice and repetition are key when it comes to learning to always Honor The Game and respect its ROOTS. Here are some ideas to help you implement the ROOTS philosophy – with the assistance of both your kids and their Responsible Sports Parents:
Good luck this season from your friends at Liberty Mutual Insurance and Responsible Sports!