Ted Lasso, the fictional head coach of AFC Richmond, stole fans' hearts with his unrelenting efforts to make his team—from the owner to the kit manager—feel they mattered. Before he could win, he had to win their hearts.


While I'm no Ted Lasso, the "Mr. Rogers of coaching" inspired me to create the following expectations for adults when we play sports with kids. I call these the "High Five."


  1. We believe in self-regulation and self-advocacy. As adults, we will model healthy emotional and behavioral management and communicate clearly.
  2. We believe in winning, but not at all costs. As adults, we'll play fair, prioritizing relationships over championships. However, we will not isolate kids from losing and deny them the opportunity to process disappointment.
  3. We believe in being a goldfish. As adults, if we disagree with a ruling or a kid makes a mistake, we'll have a 10-second memory—much like a goldfish—and move on quickly, helping the kids do the same.
  4. We believe in earning the right to be heard. As adults, we'll recognize that kids growing up in an à la carte world carefully choose their influences. We'll make "relational deposits" by being safe, consistent adults with healthy boundaries.
  5. We believe that kids are not mini-adults but adults in training. As adults, we'll accept them for who they are and treat them with the utmost respect and dignity afforded to our peers, including when correcting and coaching them.


Thank you for attending my Ted Talk—hah, get it?!