Throughout the course of a high school football game, you are a part of about 75 to 100 plays, depending on the type of teams that are playing and the type of game they have settled into. That’s a lot of opportunity to have to deal with upset players and coaches, and enforce all of the rules in the 120-page rule book.
But there is an easy, three-step way to deal with the issues and problems that arise during the game: Ask. Tell. Flag.
Here are examples of this process in use.
- Calmly and respectfully ask the player or coach to stop their actions or address the issue at hand.
- “Coach, I hear your argument and will consider what you’ve said. But you’ve gone on long enough, so I am asking you stop and move on.” TIPS: Get close enough to the coach so you can address him in a normal level without shouting. Resume your normal position quickly and without further comment. Don’t look back. Give him a chance to stop.
- “#84, I noticed that your knee pads weren’t covering your knees at the end of that play. Your pads have to always cover your knees. I am going to ask that you address that before the next play.” TIP: Inform coach of the problem and let him help in deciding whether the player stays on the field.
- “Coach, you know the rule about being in the box during the play. I am going to ask that you stay out of it while the play is going on.”
2. When the situation has not been addressed satisfactorily, move on to telling the coach or player that the issue must be resolved.
- “Coach, I have asked that you calm down and stop yelling at the crew. I am telling you to stop and move on, or else we will have to move on to a penalty.” TIPS: Don’t get too close, and raise one hand in a non-threatening “stop sign” signal so everyone knows what you are saying to him.
- “84, I asked you to fix your knee pads and you didn’t. I am telling you now that you have to keep your knee pads over your knees or you won’t be allowed to play. Your choice.”
- “Coach, I asked that you stay out of the box but you were in it on that play. I am telling you that you have to stay out of the box or we’ll have to penalize you.”
3. Finally, when you have exhausted all avenues – respectfully and courteously – you have no choice but to flag the offending team or player and penalize them.
By following the first two steps, while always remaining cordial, courteous, respectful, and forceful, you can hopefully diffuse the situations without throwing your flag.
But sometimes, throwing the flag is the only way to get their attention and correct bad behavior. Just don’t let it be your first action.
What ways do you deal with coaches and players? Please comment.