It’s quite normal for experienced coaches to accept that players need to relax from time to time and the fact that sometimes they can get up a mischief. It’s human and natural. Most young men, at some point during their youth are unable to resist life’s naughty temptations and lure off-track in their behaviour. There are usually two tactics successful coaches use when faced with behavioural issues from the players. One is used in mild circumstances. It consists of complete ignorance or disregard to the inappropriate behaviour of player.

Coaching practice has shown that this behaviour of the players, if simply ignored by the coach, eventually fades away and disappears. Another tactic is applied when the player’s behaviour has put themselves or others at risk, or when they disturb the team activities and tarnish the reputation of the club. In this case, the coach should immediately react. In private, the player in question should be informed such behaviour will not be tolerated and must stop instantly, otherwise punishment will follow. This attitude should be consistent, which means that the coach is willing to drop such a player from the team or even club, regardless of his status and previous performance on the pitch. Penalizing players should only be undertaken if that’s what you’re really forced to do. But once you’ve decided to go for it, it should be carried out properly and effectively. You have to accept it’s impossible to lead the players only on the basis of praise or expectations and that inappropriate behaviour will simply disappear by itself.

I once knew a coach who used to punish his player’s behaviour by getting them to sing in a public place, chosen by the coach. As a young coach he was ambitious and would financially penalize players for each offense. After some time he realized that he was always trying to punish the behaviour of the same player and that there wasn’t using such disciplinary measures for the entire team. In contrast, the singing punishment proved to be very effective. This was confirmed by one of his players who had to sing in front of two hundred guests during pre-season training in Spain.