SOUTH ANCHORAGE BOYS BASKETBALL

DISCIPLINE POLICY INTRODUCTION

DRAFT as of 6/4/2007

Note to Discipline Policy Reviewers

As we implement and later refine our discipline policy, we need to keep asking, "What makes sense?" The following observations will be used as guidelines.

It does make sense:

  • to clarify the proper course of action for the entire program
  • to minimize the rule set and allow people freedom to determine the best way to follow that course
  • to use corrective actions that reinforce the overall goals of the team

It does not make sense:

  • to punish or correct someone if the expectations have not been explained
  • to have rules if people don't know why the rules exist
  • to have rules apply to some members of the team and not others

Please review the following disciplinary policy with the question, "does this make sense?". The proposed rules and penalties are based on experiences in our program over the past three years that may have been prevented, or at least mitigated and dealt with in a fair manner had a more detailed disciplinary policy been on place. If parts of it need more discussion, or more material needs to be covered, then please send a response to sjordan@alaskalife.net. Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Discipline Policy Foundation

Before we can design our discipline policy, we must answer three critical questions:

  1. What are our most important values?
  2. What do we want to accomplish with these values?
  3. To whom does the policy apply?

Once these questions are answered, it will be obvious what kind of behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Stating our values up front will prevent us from just making up rules that just sound right, then fall apart when they are tested because they aren't built upon anything substantial.

1. What are our most important values?

Our discipline policy will based the three values that hold a program together:  trust, respect and unity.

Trust - Members must completely trust one another to do their part in supporting the team.

Respect - Members must demonstrate respect at all times for themselves and their program.

Unity - Each member must be resolved with the same purpose - to make our program the best it can be.

2. What do we want to accomplish?

Our goal is to make our best basketball program the best it can be. For the players, that means developing team and individual basketball skills to the highest degree possible, achieving excellence in the classroom and conducting themselves in a manner that reflects well upon the school. For the adults, that means providing a safe, sound and competitive environment for player participation, and setting the best possible example of behavior for the kids.

3. To whom does the policy apply?

The answer is simple. It applies to everyone on the team. However, the team is bigger than the players. It also includes coaches, administrators and parents. The program cannot succeed without teamwork among the adults anymore than the players can succeed without teamwork among themselves. If we are all on the same team, we need to have trust, respect unity of purpose to bond together. If we are to bond together, we need to abide by the same code. As stated in the guidelines above, it makes no sense to have rules apply to some members of the team and not others. Therefore, it would not be fair to hold the players to a higher standard than the adults are willing to meet.

The Rationale Behind Disciplinary Action

To be effective, our values of purpose, trust and respect must be taken very seriously. When these values are tarnished by a team member, it is imperative that the offender be held accountable to the entire team, and in extreme cases, to the entire program. That is why a spoken apology will be required for the reinstatement of player participation privileges. A player will need to face his teammates and acknowledge he let them down. This emotional exchange is very important for team bonding and for motivating players to care enough about one another that they will change their ways. If this element is overlooked, other means of discipline will not be as effective because the player may elect to maintain a defiant attitude and become even more estranged from the team.

In some serious cases, approval from the head coach will also be required before the player can resume normal participation. The head coach may choose to attain input from the other coaches, parents and, in some cases, may speak with the team captains. The point is that the head coach's approval must represent the entire program to carry its full potential.

Most infractions will result in a consequence of physical conditioning. Physical punishments are really a token display of contrition. The conditioning exercise imposed must be difficult and long enough for the player to reflect on his behavior. It also must be very visible to the player's peers. The conditioning repetitions must be done in predetermined amounts so that they can be fairly applied. When its done, the debt is paid, it's time to move on.

The player cannot resume normal participation until the reinstatement requirements are met. For example, If a player who is late to practice refuses to do the conditioning or the apology, he will be asked to leave the practice (or stand aside if more appropriate). That practice will be considered an unexcused absence as the player elected not to participate. An unexcused absence is a serious matter and automatically elevates the situation to a higher level. As you can see in the discussion below, the player would then face loss of playing time and require head coach approval and a team apology to be reinstated.

Team Rules

The rule set should be as small as possible. Its easier to remember a few simple rules. The rules should allow the members to consider their actions and then make a choice as to how to behave. The way to do this is to evaluate every upcoming action by asking if it will show trust in the team? Will the action demonstrate respect for others? Will it support the program's unity of purpose? This method burdens each team member with making conscious decisions and being accountable for them rather than memorizing a list of "thou shalt not do this" items. The process promotes character growth and a sense of personal responsibility.

For example, a player shows up late for practice. The lateness is unexcused. We don't need a specific rule for being late to practice because the action clearly does not support the program unity, does not demonstrate respect for its members, and it weakens the trust between the other team members in that we cannot depend on the late player to meet his commitments.

In another example, a player uses profanity in practice. Such lack of control can hurt the team in a game, it demonstrates a lack of respect for himself and his teammates, and his teammates will not trust that this person can manage his temper under stress.

In one more example, an adult team member may make disparaging comments against the referees, coaches or opponents. Such actions, again, clearly do not demonstrate trust, show respect or support the team's unity. If such behavior takes place after implementing and publishing this policy, it will be clear to everyone on the team that the individual is acting outside the boundaries of acceptance.

These examples show that there is just three rules for everyone on the team:

  1. Promote trust in one another
  2. Treat everyone with respect
  3. Support unity in the program

These rules are simple and all-encompassing.

A basketball season is inherently a long and stressful event. Eventually some of the team members may commit actions detrimental to the program. Our discipline policy must address these situations quickly and fairly. Because discipline infractions can be measured in terms of degree, our policy must be flexible in order to be fair. Therefore, we need to establish guidelines when determining the imposition of penalties. The following levels have been established to indicate how seriously an offense will be considered so that an appropriate disciplinary action can be administered.

Please note that the disciplinary responses and reinstatement requirements apply to players, not to the adults on the team. While we have stated that the team includes adults as well as players, and that the discipline principles apply to everyone on the team, there is no point to reinstating an adult. Instead, any adult who elects to not uphold the values of the team will, through their own actions, be declaring that they do not want to be associated as part of the team.


DISCIPLINE POLICY

DRAFT as of 6/4/2007

Level I

Any action causing the player to be declared ineligible by AHSAA and/or the School District

Disciplinary Response:
Full support of disciplinary measures meted by the administration

Reinstatement Requirements:

  • Eligibility confirmed by school administrator
  • Approval of the head coach
  • Player makes public apology to the program

Discussion:

We must recognize and support disciplinary policies currently enforced by the school administration. For example, there are already sanctions against student use of alcohol and tobacco. There is no need for the basketball program to make rules against their use or impose penalties of any kind. Instead we will fully support the measures dictated by the administration. If a player is suspended and then afterwards declared eligible (or ineligible) by the administration, that judgment will be accepted by the basketball program. The team will neither impose additional punishments upon the player nor will it lobby the school  administration for any kind of leniency as these cases are outside the scope of our disciplinary actions. However, as is stipulated above, reinstatement to full participation requires head coach approval and an apology to the program.

Level II

Unexcused absences, publicly disrespectful behavior

Disciplinary Response:

  • Loss of playing time (number of games to be determined by the program's head coach and the team head coach.)
  • Thereafter, normal playing time may be diminished until team's head coach feels student has caught up with peers

Reinstatement Requirements:

  • Approval of the head coach
  • Player makes public apology to the team

Discussion:

The disciplinary policy must aggressively address severe indiscretions that directly affect the entire team. One of the most serious of these are missing scheduled team activities such as games, practices and required events without prior permission from the coach. A missing player immediately falls behind in terms of what the team is learning and is exempted from the on-going interpersonal interaction which is crucial to team building. An unexcused absence shows flagrant disregard for the team's trust, respect and unity.

Another intolerable action is a blatant display of disrespectful behavior. Public displays of temper tantrums, name-calling, pouting and similar behaviors are all examples of things that give our program and the school a bad name. At the team coach's discretion, disrespectful, non-public incidents that may occur at practice or in the locker room may be designated as a Level II offense.

A player that is suspended from school will not be punished again by the team for his offense, but by virtue of being suspended he will certainly miss practices and possibly games. If he is allowed to return to the team, he will also need to meet the Level II reinstatement requirements for missing the team's activities due to unexcused absence.

Level III

Tardiness, general misbehavior

Disciplinary Response:

  • Immediate suspension of privilege to participate in practices or games

Reinstatement Requirements:

  • Completion of Coach's choice: 100 wall touches, 200 pushups and/or 300 situps
  • Completion of required daily plyometric and conditioning drills
  • Apology to the team

Discussion:

Common problems, like tardiness, are a steady drain on team morale and practice effectiveness. The disciplinary action for such behavior needs to be immediate, public and memorable. The coach's remediation choices offer long, uncomfortable exercises that will make the athlete stronger in mind and body. The team will see the punishment administered. Once the exercise and apology are completed, the player will be allowed to resume practice with the team. The offense will be forgiven, but the athlete will have likely fallen behind due to missed instruction, so future playing time may be diminished. If the player is late again, the punishment is the same and the player will fall further behind. Further, subsequent apologies to the team will be increasingly awkward.

The time required for a player to make up what he has missed in practice may vary according to each player's ability and experience. Therefore, it will be left up to the team coach to decide how much to utilize any given player during the course of the game.

This method is fair in that it can be applied equally to all players. Other options, such as restricting game time, may have an unequal effect on starters and bench players. Further, the team is not penalized by missing a valued player in its next game because the debt for the earlier, minor offense is already paid and forgiven.

Level IV

Excused Absence from a Team Event

Disciplinary Response:

  • Normal playing time may (or may not) be diminished until team's head coach feels student has caught up with peers. Playing time will be allocated in the best interest of the team.

Reinstatement Requirements:

  • None

Discussion:

An excused absence (or excused late arrival/early departure) is one whose reason is accepted by the head coach and/or the team coach, and may cover situations like injury, family event or school function. Prerequisites for an excused absence include permission granted ahead of time by the coach and acknowledgement by the player's parent. For example, a player who arrives at a team event and explains that the reason he missed yesterday's practice was to finish a homework assignment will not be excused for the absence. The player has an obligation to call a coach before the practice is missed. The coach may choose to contact the parent to confirm the player's explanation before allowing the player to participate.

The reason this is covered in the disciplinary policy is because absence from scheduled activities is detrimental to the team's purpose. Players are expected to make a full commitment to attend all team events during the season. Sometimes the needs of family or demands of schoolwork will take precedent above basketball and those will be respected as an excused absence. Nonetheless, playing time may or may not be diminished until the player has caught up with his teammates. The team's head coach will allocate subsequent playing time in the best interest of the team.

Appeal Process

Any player who is compelled to dispute disciplinary action must arrange a time outside of games and practices to privately discuss the situation with his team coach and the head coach. After the case is reviewed the head coach's decision is final.

Parents who feel they must be an advocate for the student are encouraged to take these steps to escalate the issue:

  1. Allow the student to work out the situation with the coach. Resolving the problem without parental interference provides the best growth potential for the player.
  2. Speak with the coach(es) privately to come to a resolution that is in the best interest of the player.
  3. Finally, contact a school administrator to voice your concerns.

Signature

I have read the South Anchorage High School Boys Basketball Disciplinary Policy and agree to abide by its rules. My behavior will demonstrate the values of trust, respect and unity as I represent the program.

Player Signature:


Parent Signature:


Coach Signature:


Administrator Signature: