The Art of Discipline. Who’s job is it?


Don’t kid yourself folks; discipline plays a phenomenal role in sports, especially in football.  For several years now I have argued that discipline can be and should be coached and it SHOULD be one of the top priorities of ALL coaches at ALL levels.

There are times when individuals display their own personal disciplinary problems but there are other times they display the discipline issues instilled within the team and/or organization.

Example: If a player gets “mad” and pushes or shoves opponents out of frustration, whether it draws a flag or not, is a self-serving discipline problem. When things get “chippie” on the field and both sides have melee after melee then that of course is a team disciplinary problem.

But what about those issues that are NOT so obvious? How about penalties? In my opinion, there are disciplinary problems within teams/organizations that constantly lead to their failure of reaching those championship goals.   

Let’s take a closer look at the stats and the issue.

Which teams in all of college sports would you think are the most discipline? Are those same teams the least penalized? This year is a prime example of the point I am getting to.

Currently Air Force, Navy, and Army are the LEAST penalized teams in all of college football. Does this make sense to you? Is it coincidence that the Military Academies are the least penalized when it is so obvious they are Taught discipline to the Nth degree? I don’t think so. And this trend is not just this year. While those three schools might not always be the least penalized you NEVER see them in the top 50.

Okay, look at the next two least penalized teams. Alabama and Kansas State; what are their current rankings? Dang, look at that; the top two in the Nation are the next two least penalized teams. Trust me; it is no coincidence that these two teams play at such a high level. It’s not luck. It’s not favoritism. It’s simply, discipline.

 In 2009 Oklahoma University led the Nation with 1044 yards of penalties. This was the same team that played for the National Championship the year before. However, they finished their 2009 campaign with 5 losses. And, penalties were key factors in several of those losses, especially holding on the offense.

I have had many people debate this issue with me over and over and there are many that do not agree with me on this subject; but it is my honest opinion that the lack of discipline ruins teams. And I also contend that just like the military it is the Commander/Coach that has the number one priority of instilling discipline within the ranks.

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About Archie 139 Articles
Name: Archie Michael Williams Age: 57 (as of 17 September) Occupation: Department of the Army Civilian / Retired Army NCO Grew up in North Carolina, now live in Oklahoma I entered the US Army in October 1984 and retired May 2005. Veteran of the Gulf War with the 3rd Armor Calvary Regiment (ACR) Spent entire Army career as a Fire Support Specialist (Field Artillery Observer / Coordinator) Avid, let me say this again, AVID sports fan. Favorite teams and sports: NFL = Pittsburgh Steelers MLB = Atlanta Braves NBA = OKC Thunder NHL = There is no way I could care less. Soccer = see NHL note College NCAAF = Oklahoma Sooners NCAAB = UNC Tarheels. Hobbies = Golf, Bowling , Hunting, Fishing I will answer any questions you have, Just give me a buzz!


  1. It has to be the coach. It would be nice if players had their own self discipline, but ultimately it falls upon the head coach to keep his team in line.

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