Approaches to help players and parents respect officials

Aug. 02, 2010, 12 a.m. (ET)

In this last article before the start of the school year and fall sports, let's consider a few ways Responsible Coaches can prepare for their fast-approaching new seasons. Perhaps months removed from your last game, you may need a few refreshers to ensure a great start.

Whether you have an entirely new team or many returning players, your first team meeting and practice of the season sets a tone for all that will follow. Therefore, it is important to immediately establish your team culture (“culture” simply meaning “the way we do things here”).

However, after a long layoff, it may not come naturally to bring a positive approach to the initial team meeting. Even the best-intentioned coaches, wanting to improve on the previous year’s performance, are tempted to “buckle down” or “lay down the law” and show players (and parents) “who’s boss.”

You may remember past moments where, upon reflection, you felt you gave players more leeway than was good for them or the team or yourself. But those incidents are bygones, and it is important not to be overcome with the excitement and adrenalin that accompany a new season, the one where you “finally get it all right.”

Here are some tips to ensure you start off positively this season >>

In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports ProgramTM ( powered by Positive Coaching Alliance (