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How Can We Honor The Game When Opponent Does Not?

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"In our indoor soccer league (multi-town - so no guarantee of program consistency), we played an opponent that wasn't honoring the game. One of their players frequently fouled our players, trying to elicit a response and 'trash talking.' One of our team parents asked, 'How can we respect an opponent that doesn't respect us, the rules, or the officials?' I was hard pressed to answer. Any advice on how to handle?"

PCA Response by Joe Scally, PCA Trainer-Chicago
When an opponent does not Honor the Game, it takes moral courage for your players to do so anyway. Players demonstrate this moral courage by staying true to themselves, playing hard, and showing respect... even for the player who is trash talking. When players show self-respect by rising above the situation, they have an Honoring the Game experience that will be of value to them in many areas of their lives.

We show respect first and foremost because it is the right thing to do. Showing respect also helps us become better as people and as competitors. Your opponent was trying to throw your players off their game. Coaching them to follow the rules and respect the officials helped your players stay focused, an important skill for any athlete to develop.

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