Honour Our Game
Teach everyone involved how to honour the rules, opponents, officials, team-mates and themselves. (ROOTS)
• Rules - Encourage all young players to obey and uphold the rules and play the game fairly
• Opponents - Encourage all players to show respect to opposition - Play hard and play fair
• Official - Encourage all players to value a referee’s role and always show respect
• Team-mates - Give teammates praise & encouragement - Work together to achieve team goals
• Self - Lead by example by your manner and behaviour on and off the pitch
Coaches Tools to Honour Our Game
Teach and Discuss ROOTS
Ensure the young players you work with are aware of ROOTS and what it stands for. By explaining the ROOTS messages and ensuring young people understand them, you will able to reinforce the behaviour you want as a coach. Taking time at training or before a match discuss ROOTS and communicate the expected behaviour both on and off the park. This will encourage young players to give their best and respect all involved in the game.
Practise through practice
Coaches normally use drills to improve a participant’s skills and technique. You need to do the same to practise and implement the honour our game principle. During sessions, real opportunities will regularly present themselves where you can reinforce the ROOTS message. These can be both positive and negative situations of sportsmanlike or unsportsmanlike behaviour. If a player or team react well to the situation, praise them for their behaviour. If not, use the opportunity to discuss ROOTS. A situation that may arise during a match, such as a poor refereeing decision may result in a young player getting upset and shouting at referee. Let a young player officiate a training match to experience how difficult the job can be and teach them they can disagree with an official but do it in a respectful way.
Developing self - control routines
When your team is not performing or not working hard, you may feel angry or frustrated, it is vital that you remain positive in front of your players and continue to honour our game. You must remember the important position you hold as a role model for your players. Everyone should have a mechanism which they use to control their temper and you should share these ideas with your players to help them develop self - control too.
Some examples of self - control routines include: Find one that works for you.
• Chewing a sweet
• Drinking out of water bottle
• Taking deep breaths
• Counting to ten
There are many situations that arise during practice sessions, actual games or even in professional and elite sport which can be used to teach young people valuable life lessons. These teachable moments can be both negative and positive – for example a high profile player behaving in a controversial way or a young player assisting an injured opponent. Use these situations and examples to engage the young people you coach in discussions about which situations honour our game. You can let them know how you feel the situation should have been dealt with after they have voiced their thoughts. As a coach when giving any feedback to a player you should always use a teachable moment to refer to a practical example that has happened. This will help the player understand the feedback and amendments that may need to be made.
Nipping problems in the bud
You may still face situations where players, parents or other coaches do not honour our game. These situations should be addressed immediately and not allowed to escalate. Some coaches may find it uncomfortable to intervene and challenge inappropriate behaviour. However, without intervention this behaviour will only get worse. No matter how small or how big the problem, make sure you address the issue quickly.
Appoint a Match day Touchline Champions
A Match day touchline champion can help to shape the culture of a club. Having this person reinforce the honour our game messages is an excellent way of preventing many of the negative issues which can occur in youth football. A match day champion will help with touchline management by giving gentle or, when necessary, more assertive reminders to honour our game! The ideal have strong, yet friendly people skills. Club leaders, coaches, parents and even players can be touchline champions.
The nominated person(s) should be able to relate well to others and be outgoing and engaging.
Their main role is to:
• promote positive behaviour on the touchlines
• Get to know the parents and other people involved with the club/organisation
• Be a role model and take the lead – demonstrate to others how to honour our game
• Enlist the help of others to ensure everyone continues to abide by PCS at each age group
•Distribute PCS parents leaflets and effort cards to promote positive messages
Build good relationships with your parents and set the standard for parental behaviour by holding regular parent meetings. Arrange a meeting at the start of the season, then one every 2-3 months. Parents’ are more likely to ‘be on side’ when they know what your club is all about. A parents’ meeting gives an ideal opportunity to explain your plans for the club. See coaches Resources for parent meeting agenda and script.
Using the tools to Honour Our Game should help to minimise levels of bad behaviour. However, situations that cannot be ignored may still arise. If they do, then:
• Reinforce the behaviour you want
• Ignore behaviour you don’t want
• When you can’t ignore it, use the three Cs
– Intervene calmly
– Be consistent
– Be aware of consequences
Remaining calm and in control is key to resolving any behavioural issues.