Get to the ROOTS

SLS and PCA believe it’s the responsibility of every coach to create a team culture in which Honoring the Game is paramount. We define culture as “the way WE do things HERE.”






At Summer League Swimming, we believe in the idea that Honoring the Game gets to the ROOTS of positive competition.

ROOTS is respect for

  • Rules
  • Opponents
  • Officials
  • Teammates


  • Self.

ROOTS lays a foundation for coaches, athletes, and parents to think beyond themselves.














The ROOTS of positive competition start with respect for Rules. Double-Goal Coaches want to win. But they want to win the game the way it is supposed to be played.

Refuse to Bend the Rules to Win:

  • Teach team members to respect the rules-even when it’s possible to cheat without getting caught. Everyone involved must uphold this standard.
  • Don’t try to get away with illegal behavior when officials are not looking.



The ROOTS of positive play continue with respect for Opponents.

We don’t get maximum enjoyment and value by beating up on a much weaker opponent. A worthy opponent, on the other hand, challenges us to do our best, and we should see this as a gift!



Competitors should take a “Fierce and Friendly” approach. Fierce means you swim as hard as you can within the rules. If you lose a race, give the winner a high five or a hug instead of snubbing them. Friendly means that you compete without demonizing the opponent.





The second O in ROOTS is respect for Officials. Officials are trained to enforce rules to keep sports from degenerating into chaos. They make mistakes—just like swimmers, parents, and coaches. But there’s no excuse for treating officials with disrespect when you disagree with a call.

How can a coach disagree with an official in a way that respects the official?

  1. Wait for a Break. Wait until a break in the action and then ask, “what did you see on that start?” This is non-confrontational and lets the official tell you what he or she saw.
  2. Use Positive Body Language. Make sure your tone and body language show respect for the official. Avoid shouting or angry gesturing.
  3. Don’t Fuel the Fire. If there’s any danger of inciting event attendees, a Double-Goal Coach will do nothing that might add fuel to the fire. Remember, players, parents, and attendees will mirror your actions!





The T in ROOTS stands for respect for Teammates.

To truly Honor the Game, swimmers and coaches must respect teammates.

Represent your team in a classy way in and out of the pool.


For most, it comes naturally to respect one’s teammates during practices and competitions. But this same attitude should carry over into the classroom and away from school as well. Remind your swimmers that their actions outside the pool reflect back on their teammates both positively and negatively.



The ROOTS of positive play also depend on respect for “Self.”

It can be tough to Honor the Game when your opponents do not. But we need to do so no matter what others do.

Tell your swimmers: “We’re going to live up to our standard. The way we compete won’t change despite others’ actions.”


Every coach’s goal should be to create a team culture in which Honoring the Game is paramount. Honoring the Game gets to the ROOTS of positive competition, and ROOTS stands for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self.