Team Rules

Players and coaches collaborate to develop establish rules for each season so that they are meaningful and relevant. The specific rules may vary based on what the team aims to accomplish, the lessons the coaches wish to impart and particular behaviour that must be corrected.

There is some flexibility because the rules are a process to help the athletes develop themselves. Nevertheless, there are four core values that are not negotiable and these rules should help support these principles.

To keep it simple, there might be one or two rules in each category. The categories were chosen because they are easy to remember and visualize and modelled after Dean Smith’s Carolina Way.

First Things First


Sport enables student-athletes to become successful people.

Rules could include:

  • Achieve a 2.3 G.P.A. (required for N.C.A.A. eligibility).
  • Attend team study hall sessions.
  • When missing class due to a team activity, speak to the teacher ahead of time to get the make-up work.
  • Inform coaches and teachers as soon as possible about family commitments.
  • Stay out of the hallways and the school office.

Play Smart


Don’t just play the game, think the game.

Rules could include:

  • Follow the team calendar on Google calendar.
  • Review the playbook regularly.
  • Watch film online.
  • Ask a question if unsure about anything.
  • If a teammate doesn’t know what to do, show them.
  • Look after your body and get enough sleep.

Play Hard


Workouts matter. Practices matter. Games matter.

Rules could include:

  • Play until the final whistle.
  • Bring a water bottle to every practice and workout.
  • Compete in all drills.
  • Be early.
  • No excuses. No complaining.
  • Put up extra shots after practice or during open gym.

Play Together


Teammates should support each other.

Rules could include:

  • Cheer teammates after a great play or as they come of the floor.
  • Use positive body language and non-verbal communication.
  • Don’t criticize teammates.
  • Read and respond to all email and text communications within twenty-four hours.
  • Put personal electronic devices away during team events.
  • Travel together to away games.

Consequences…

Adaptability is a virtue. I don’t believe in firm penalties because it makes these rules a box that constrains us rather than a set of guidelines to inform our choices.

Coaches must hold players accountable so that they understand discipline and can deal with adversity. At the start of the season, when the rules are set, the team should discuss some possibilities of consequences. Rules infractions may merit a meeting with the coach, running, sitting on the bench or a team suspension and coaches should do what they feel is appropriate.

Discipline should help student-athletes improve. It should be progressive and it should be open. Players can always make choices but they remain responsible for the consequences. When there is transgression, the consequence should be chosen so that everyone learns from the mistake and the team moves forward.