Need help convincing your coaches that understanding the rules can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing? Look no further than the Kenwood (Tenn.) High School girls' basketball team.
When Kenwood players asked Head Coach Frank Bland if they could wear their warmup jerseys for a game against Oakland (Tenn.) High School in November, Bland saw no problem with it. But the referees did. Because the warmups were blank on the front, they violated an NFHS rule that requires numbers of at least four inches to be displayed on the front of all jerseys. Kenwood received a technical foul for each player who entered the game, and Oakland used the 22 free throws to gain a 64-57 victory.
"The girls had worn their regular uniforms for a game the day before, and they arrived in their practice uniforms and somehow convinced the coach to let them wear them for the game," says Kenwood Athletic Director Frank Wilson. "The officials just did what they were supposed to do."
Wilson says the situation was the result of Bland, a first-year coach, not knowing the rules well enough. Though every Kenwood coach gets a rule book and attends a meeting before the season to talk about changes and updates, Wilson learned that an athletic director can never emphasize enough the importance of knowing all the rules of the game.
"Don't assume your coaches know everything you think they should know," Wilson says. "Go over the rule book and make sure they understand all of it. I assumed my coach was aware of this rule when he wasn't.
"We probably would have won the game had it not been for the free throws," he continues. "But the team handled it well and it's a lesson learned."