Do you have trouble with your players following rules and team discipline? We have had some issues over the past couple of seasons that caused us to take a look at our policies. We implemented a whole new system and philosophy when it came to team building and discipline. This system isn’t for everyone but it might be for you if you are at your whit’s-end regarding discipline. All it takes is a good Assistant Coach to keep track of discipline issues and then implement the rewards and punishments. I will try to describe it to you the best way I can...
We began a program that we called PAWS and STRIKES. (PAWS because our mascot is a Tiger)
Here is what some of it looks like:
· Put Team ahead of Personal Recognition
· 3.75 GPA at Semester & Progress Report
· Displaying Self-Directed Leadership
· Hustle Play - Game or Practice
· Good Sportsmanship Displayed
· Positive Attitude Displayed
· Improved Teamwork
· Persevered Over Difficult Situation
· Taking a Charge - Game or Practice
· Rotation Cover - Down Charge (In a game: Pays Double)
· +10 rebounds
· +10 assists
· +5 Steals
· Missed Practice (unexcused) 10 Supermans
· Missed Practice (excused) 5 Supermans
· Improperly Dressed Game Days 5 Supermans
· Technical Foul 5 Supermans
· Argument During Timeout 5 Supermans
· Disrespectful to Team/Coach TBD
· Behavior Issue - Classroom 22’s
· Behavior Issue - Practice / Game 22’s
· Lack of Hustle/ Intensity Down-Backs
· Lack of Focus Down-Backs
· Lack of Execution Down-Backs
· C, D, or F on Report Card TBD
The program in its simplest form is a reward for good behavior and a punishment for poor behavior. Too often we forget to reward good behavior and this system really helps promote good behavior. The best part of about this system is it takes a lot of pressure off of your Coaching Staff when it comes to discipline issues. In the end all players will know exactly what types of behaviors gets them a PAW and exactly what type of behavior gets them a STRIKE.
A PAW is rewarded to a player when a Coach feels they have demonstrated one of the positive behaviors listed. If a player earns a PAW, that PAW is theirs to spend as they wish. A PAW usually gets a player out of some sort of conditioning sprint. This part is sometimes hard for a Coach to handle because it feels weird to relinquish power to the player. For example: If during the regular conditioning part of practice a players wishes to get out of a sprint / event, they can use their PAW. A player can also choose to give a PAW to a teammate. (This helps players bond with each other) I have seen this really help build positive relationships between players. You will be amazed at the camaraderie this brings to the team.
Strikes: Strikes are specific types of punishments for certain behaviors that the players choose to exhibit. The player knows exactly what punishment awaits them when practice ends if they earned a STRIKE. A player can not play in the next game until all STRIKES are made up. Trust me players will do anything to make these STRIKES go away because they know they can’t play until they are STRIKE free. A player can use one of their PAWS to get PARTLY out of the conditioning for a STRIKE. Also, teammates can help run-off some of the STRIKE for their teammate. Again, this builds great relationships between the players.
Disclaimer: As Coaches we always reserved the right to dismiss a player from the team if they are abusing the system or a player chooses not to cooperate with the system.
If you implement this system properly you will find that it takes a lot of pressure off of the coaching staff because there is very little gray area for players/parents to argue about. It helped to clean up much of our discipline problems and also brought the players closer together. Let me know if you try it or if you have done something similar.