Responding After A Fistfight Between Teammates
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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.
"Two of my eight-year-old players collided during a drill and got into a fistfight. We coaches broke it up quickly so nobody was hurt, but now we're wondering what to do next in terms of discussing this situation with players and parents. Any ideas?"
PCA Response By David Jacobson, PCA Trainer & Senior Marketing Communications and Content Manager
Hopefully, you have explained to all players and parents the high value you place on teammates respecting each other. Before any players left the practice in which the incident occurred, ideally you would have gathered all the players to re-emphasize the importance of respecting each other.
If you have not already expressed a zero-tolerance policy toward fighting, now is the time do so in front of the whole team. “Fighting is NEVER OK unless it is absolutely necessary to defend yourself from harm. That is much different than just being angry or feeling like someone gave you a cheap shot.”
As soon as possible, communicate with the parents of the players who fought. Let those parents know what happened. Hear them out for any insights that might explain their child’s behavior and for clues on how you can prevent any further outbursts.
If you have ever expressed a specific consequence for fighting, deliver on it or risk losing the weight your word carries with players and parents. Even if you have not mentioned a specific consequence, it is within your right to impose one, such as a single-game suspension.
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