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disciplining of players HOOPZONE

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In your program your goal is to make your basketball program the best it can be. For the players, that means developing team and individual basketball skills to the highest degree possible, achieving excellence in the classroom and conducting themselves in a manner that reflects well upon the school, the team and your community. For the adults, that means providing a safe, sound and competitive environment for player participation, and setting the best possible example of behavior for the kids.

One of the best things you can do is to set the guidelines in your Pre-Season Parent Meeting and within your Team Rules. But as we all know you can try and cover just about every issue in your Team Rules and Pre-Season parent meeting, there will always be that one. You would think parents would want to have their athlete kept in line but too many today want to fight the system. Rules apply to everyone on the team, players, coaches, helpers & parents. Your program cannot succeed without teamwork among the adults anymore than the players can succeed without teamwork among themselves. If we are all on the same team, we need to have trust, respect unity of purpose to bond together. If we are to bond together, we need to abide by the same code of rules. As stated in the guidelines above, it makes no sense to have rules apply to some members of the team and not others. Therefore, it would not be fair to hold the players to a higher standard than the adults are willing to meet.

It is important that the offender be held accountable to the entire team, and in extreme cases, to the entire program. That is why a spoken apology will be required for the reinstatement of player participation privileges. A player will need to face his teammates and acknowledge he let them down and say they were sorry. This emotional exchange is very important for team bonding and for motivating players to care enough about one another that they will change their ways. If this element is overlooked, other means of discipline will not be as effective because the player may elect to maintain a defiant attitude and become even more estranged from the team. There are parents who disagree with this type of public exchange but it makes good sense!

In some serious cases, approval from the head coach will also be required before the player can resume normal participation. The head coach may choose to attain input from the other coaches, parents and, in some cases, may speak with the team captains. The point is that the head coach's approval must represent the entire program to carry its full potential.

When drafting up your team rules make sure you have consequences for wrong doings and apply to anyone who chooses to go down that road. It should not matter if the athlete’s parent works within the school or owns the town. Overlooking a problem will haunt a program.

Any player who chooses to break team rules should not resume normal participation until the reinstatement requirements are met. For example, If a player who is late to practice refuses to do the conditioning or the apology, he will be asked to leave the practice (or stand aside if more appropriate). That practice will be considered an unexcused absence as the player elected not to participate. An unexcused absence is a serious matter and automatically elevates the situation to a higher level. As you can see in the discussion below, the player would then face loss of playing time and require head coach approval and a team apology to be reinstated.

To wrap this up make sure you are on the same page as your athletic department. Prior to setting your rules run them past your AD and explain your rules to them. You'll need the backing so get it before you set in place.


Good Luck!

Coach O


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