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Team loyalty, not talking down team mates.

Hi all,I coach a school boys teams, ages 12-18.Late last season after a disappointing loss, one of the younger boys made the comment 'Its all xxxx's fault that we lost'. This was made at the end of the game while I was packing away our gear and most, but not all, of the boys had already departed. XXXX wasn't there to hear the comment. Being dumbfounded by this comment, I let it go at the time and have stewed on it during the our off season. I'm of the opinion that this type of comment is unacceptable and should result in disciplinary action of some kind. My thinking at the moment is that I would be remove the player from the game ( if made during the game, even if it leaves us short), pass them on to the school for whatever punishment is deemed appropriate with a request to remove them from the team. Am I being too harsh or unreasonable in my thinking? Are there any strategies that I could employ to stop this kind of commentary? I'm going to discuss it with the school when we get back together before the season starts.

Hi David,

I think you're being completely reasonable with your thinking; personally if this had happened in my team, I would be very disappointed. You don't want these kind of comments within your team, as it could effect team morale.

If I was you, I'd take the player who made the comment aside and have a quiet word yourself, explaining your stance on what he has said. I would then also speak to the rest of your team and remind them of their behaviour with their team-mates and coaches; hopefully this should cut out any more disloyalty and poor behaviour. 

If you wish to still speak to the school then by all means go ahead, but it may be worth speaking to the player in question for an explanation into why he said it and telling him personally how disappointed you are with his behaviour.

Good luck! I hope it all goes well.

G'day David

Players who are not building up the team ethic are working to tear it down, they are working for the other team and behaviour like that is just plain unacceptable. It is not just the issue that a few players feel that way, it is the expression of those feelings in a team environment that creates a team ethic that allows criticism of others skills and degrades team coherence. At the beginning of each season I have a lecture I give the kids about acceptable behaviour on and off field and at the very top is the idea that we are all different and bring different levels of skill and ability to the team and these are things we are either lucky enough to have already or unlucky to have not found yet, we all develop at different ages. What is important is that we all give our maximum effort to training and playing so that we are giving everything from what we have. If anybody has anything good to say about other peoples efforts they should shout it out, but if they are disappointed with someone’s efforts or abilities then they come to me as the coach and discuss it in private. Discussing (in a disparaging way) someone else’s abilities in a team setting is bullying and wont be tolerated. I have coached development teams where the pressure to do well and catch the eye of State selectors causes players to be quite critical of themselves and others and so I have had to remind the team regularly at the start of the program about the rules around their behaviour. When it is explained that great teams are built from teamwork, from players working from within to inspire excellence from team mates, not from groups of players spending their time trying to create division within the team and trying to carry the team on their own shoulders, things start to get better. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it isn't much of an issue.




Hi Camilla and Mick,

Phew! I was wondering if I might have been a bit of a relic from the ice age with my thinking.

I fully intend having a team talk pre-season discussing this and explaining my expectations. 

I also want to mix the boys up a bit.  Whenever we broke off into pairs or groups, it was always in the same combinations, seniors, juniors.  Whilst there was no division caused by this split, I don't think it helped with passing on skills from the more experienced to newcomers or with game communication and working together.




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