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Coaches Corner - Our Core Covenants

by Scott Rosberg

In my mid-December column, I talked about the concept of Core Covenants that I use with my teams. Today, I am going to begin talking about the specific covenants that my PHS Boys’ Basketball team has chosen as our Guiding Principles, Team Standards, or Program Values that we want to live by and be known for. As I told you in December, the reason why we like the term “Core Covenants” is because “covenant” is a stronger word than the terms I just mentioned.

Covenant is a binding agreement where action is visible. The biggest key to a covenant is the second part of the definition—you can see it in action. Covenants are only as strong as the actions associated with them. When teams establish covenants, if they are merely making statements about what they want to be known for, but they are not willing to follow through and live those covenants through their actions, it is worse than not having covenants at all. Teams without covenants (standards) are certainly a problem. Teams that claim they have standards but do not live by those standards are hypocritical, and they are living a lie.

Establishing covenants and then living by those covenants can be one of the most important things that any team does. It sets a tone for the season. It says, “This is who we are. This is what we stand for.  Because of that, this is what you will see from us.” When all members of a team buy in to the covenants that have been established, it is an extremely powerful force in helping a team become all that it is capable of becoming. In essence, team members are saying, “I commit to living my life the way that we as a team have decided we need to live in order to be the best we can be.” 

Many boys who were going to be trying out for our team met for an hour a week in October and November, before the open gyms we had prior to the start of our season. We had players from 8th grade all the way through seniors who met each week to discuss what we wanted to establish as our covenants to live by this year. We came up with 16 different behavioral traits that the players and coaches thought were important for our team to live by.

We then put them into a bracket, much like the country does at March Madness time. We had each term play against the term opposite it in the bracket to determine which one would advance. We had great discussions during this time, as every single one of the 16 behavioral characteristics on the bracket were important traits for teams to possess in order to become their best. However, our goal was to come up with four—The Final Four—that we felt were the most important ones for our team to live by this year.

After a lot of great discussion about the various terms and the subsequent movement across the bracket by the terms that won each round, our players and coaches decided on the following four characteristics to be our Core Covenants: Discipline, Trust, Respect, & Team-First Attitude.

Consider those four values. Who wouldn’t want to work, play, or live in an organization that was founded on and then lived by those qualities? Imagine if the teams you have been a part of or the place where you work or any other organization in your life were to make those four characteristics the foundation of everything you did. Think about what you could accomplish and how much you would love being a part of that organization.

That is our goal with these four covenants: to have the members of our basketball program commit to living by these four standards as we make our way through this season and beyond. I invite you and encourage you to come watch us and see how we are doing at them. Keep in mind that we are human, and we will stumble at times. We are also a program of 14 to 18-year-old boys and their coaches, so we will need to continually work to reinforce what we are trying to accomplish.

There are times where you will see us living by all four of these, times where you will see us good with one or two and not so good with the others, and times where you will wonder where any of those four characteristics are. That is the nature of teams, and it is the nature of a new concept as a team tries to establish a new culture.

I ask that you have a little patience with us and have a little faith that we are working to bring these values into existence in our program. I also ask you to help us hold ourselves accountable to them. If you see us behaving in accordance with these covenants, let us know, as that will be a great reinforcement for us that we are doing things the right way. If you see us falling short in some way, let us know that, too, as that will also be a great reminder to us that we need to constantly be working to become who we say we want to be.

In the next column, I will talk about the specifics of the four covenants that we have chosen. I will either cover all four in that one column or break them up over multiple columns. Either way, stay tuned to find out what we expect you will see from us when we are living by our covenants—Discipline, Trust, Respect, & Team-First Attitude.


To check out more materials from Scott, go to his website You can email Scott at


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