Teaching ROOTS

ROOTSWhen you became a Coach, you did so because you love the game.  Because you want to teach kids the sport you love so much.  Because you want to see the great history and tradition of your sport continue and carried forward by the next generation.  You also likely inherently knew that sport brought so much to your life and you’d like other young men and women to gain those same valuable life lessons.  

Because sports can be so valuable in helping youth learn life lessons that will impact them and their communities far beyond the playing fields, Positive Coaches want to do everything in their power to make sure the youth sports experience is positive. Positive Coaches conduct themselves by a code called “Honoring the Game.” To remember components of this code, remind yourself and your players that Honoring the Game means respecting the sport’s ROOTS, where ROOTS stands for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self.

Introducing ROOTS to Players and Their Parents

Unfortunately, youth sports today can sometimes be a sea of volatile emotions.  Sadly some adults and athletes still have a win-at-all-cost mentality.  And the heat of competition can sometimes bring out the worst in both adults and kids.  

But members of the Play Positive community – parents and coaches – work hard to Honor The Game and teach the principles of ROOTS to our young athletes. And as a Positive Coach, you are a leader and culture shaper who is – rightly or wrongly – accountable for your whole team’s behavior, including players’ parents.

Use your first team meeting as well as your first parent meeting to introduce Honoring the Game and ROOTS :

Tools for Honoring the Game

Because of your leadership role, you must set an example of Honoring the Game. When your players and their parents see you keep your temper in check, for example, after an official makes a questionable call, they are more likely to check their own tempers. Therefore, we suggest these tools.

Positive Coaches are they key to Honoring the Game and keeping our great traditions alive and to preserving the life lesson opportunity that sports can teach.


In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive program powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.

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