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  Tips for Youth Sports Leaders from PCA 
Emphasize Honoring the Game
Seize a Teachable Moment

Not surprisingly, World Cup South Africa has delivered excitement, drama and controversy. We won't soon forget the beauty of Juan leaping above the crowd to score a header and put Brazil up 1-0 over Chile, or the relentless effort of Landon Donovan as he thrust Team USA into the round of 16 with his decisive goal against Algeria.

We also won't soon forget some embarrassing moments for FIFA's referees. A hue and cry has risen throughout the soccer world for reviews, suspensions, and the introduction of technology to reduce or eliminate obvious officiating mistakes.

Seizing this teachable moment, PCA reminds everyone about the importance of respecting officials, even (or especially!) when we disagree with them. With summer tournaments and July temperatures heating up, we encourage you to seize this teachable moment by reminding all your parents, coaches, players and fans to Honor the Game. Here are some tips to help your leadership team and coaches uphold a positive sports culture during emotionally charged games:
  • Empathize with upset parents while reminding them that they are violating the team culture of Honoring the Game. "We're a team that Honors the Game and we've got to live up to that now."
Lax coach with ref
  • Approach yelling fans to quiet them down. Be firm without causing further escalation. "I need you to leave the officials alone now please."

  • Thank the officials. Let them know you appreciate their efforts and that you'll speak to your parents about their behavior.
  • End by recommitting to Honoring the Game. "We're a team that shows respect for officials, even when they mess up. Thank you for understanding that and cooperating!"
Coaches are positioned to have a dramatic and positive impact on their players, well beyond the playing field. When your organization makes a commitment to teach and model Honoring the Game, you can be part of the answer to our society's hungering need to elevate the way we treat each other!

Adapted from The Power of Double-Goal Coaching by Jim Thompson

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