Implementing a Cell Phone Policy for Your Sports Team
We know that cell phones are a constant in our lives; many of you are probably reading this on a mobile device right now! Whether checking in on the big game, posting a picture of a championship win, or even completing athlete evaluations, cell phones are in our hands most of the time.
Cell phone usage is equally important to our children. This dependency is a hot topic in education systems, social gatherings, and organized club atmospheres. We begin to ask ourselves, “Are cell phones adding value or limiting success for individuals?”
Are Cell Phones Used by Young Athletes?
As of 2021, 42% of kids have cell phones by age 10 and 71% have cell phones by age 12. With children having developed full phone habits at such a young age, it is only logical that these devices have found a place during practices and tournaments.
How Can Coaches Implement a Cell Phone Policy for Their Sports Team?
1) Develop a cell phone plan as a team
Spend time with the other coaches on your team to come up with a smart, team-specific plan that caters to the age and competition level of your athletes. Multiple perspectives should be put into use during these planning sessions, resulting in more suggestions being shared and rules being established.
Within a planning session, these are a few questions that can be asked to establish cell phone rules:
- Will there be a zero-tolerance cell phone policy or will rules look a little more lenient?
- Will rules be different for game day vs regular practices?
- Who will we rely on to monitor cell phone use during practices?
- What will the consequences be for breaking the rules?
- Will there be any exceptions to the rules?
By coming up with a cohesive plan, potential problems can be ironed out. In addition, the cell phone situation will be a lot easier to control with all coaches being united up front.
2) Discuss cell phone rules with parents
Discuss the rules that the coaching team has put in place as soon as they are established. Most teams have a parent-coach meeting before the season begins. Add this as an agenda item to be discussed during the meeting. Clearly articulate what cell phone rules you have set in place, why you have made these rules, and leave room for any further questions at the end of the meeting.
3) Discuss cell phone rules with players
Outline the cellphone policy at the first team practice. Similar to the conversations you previously had with the team’s parents, be sure to lay out the rules and explain the why behind them. Remember, each rule you have established is to benefit your athletes: increasing focus, reducing eye strain, and combating mental fatigue before practices and tournaments.
4) Stand by the rules you have set
Your upcoming sports season is bound to get busy and your time will be spent solving defensive issues or trying to get more points on the board. Even amidst the chaos of the season, don’t forget why a cell phone policy was put in place! By following through on your actions, you will earn the respect of players and their parents.
Cell phones aren’t necessarily destructive for your sports team. With the right guidelines in place and an understanding of these rules developed by players and their parents, you can develop an effective cell phone policy for your sports team.