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A Perspective on Playing Rough

As a coach, if you resort to rough play, what does it say to your opponent, and what does it say to your players?

Through out my experience as an athlete, I don’t remember having an opinion or perspective on rough play. I do, however, remember a specific incident when one of my teammates made a rough move on our opponent. The only thing my coach told her was, “If you’re going to dish it, be prepared to take it.” I immediately adopted this response as my philosophy in regard to rough play. I would never encourage it, but if it were to happen, my players better be prepared to deal with the consequences gracefully.images-41Now that I’m a little wiser and a little older, I wouldn’t tolerate rough play from my athletes. I want my team to be respected not only for their talent but how they present themselves. I want my athletes to achieve success in the fairest play possible, without any sort of rough or negative behaviors. Playing rough, reminds me of the saying, “If you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying”. If a team resorts to playing rough, it puts off the vibe that they are incapable of defeating their opponent fair in square. They need an extra edge to defeat the opposing team. If I’m the opponent, I take this as a compliment. My team is so good, our competitors are worried about beating us, so they are resorting to other means. As for my own team, I want them to believe that being a winner means putting in your best effort, not cheating and merely attaining a higher score to be named the winner. It’s all in how you define success, I don’t agree with winning at all costs, I believe in winning means putting forth your best effort. Respecting the game, the opponent, your teammates, coaches, and officials.

Playing rough teaches players to get rough when the tough gets going, and not only on the sports field, but it also teaches them that getting rough is the answer in life. As coaches we can instill the opposite trait in our players by teaching them to react with good sportsmanship when this situation presents itself. This will carry on with them through life, and help them to always treat people with kindness no matter how rude or rough they are. As an adult, networking is the key to success, especially in the workforce; learning to never burn bridges is a great lesson to instill early on.

Quote of the Day:

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are; your reputation is merely what others think of you”- John Wooden. 

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