The Importance of Respect, Discipline, and Education in Coach Carter, a Movie About the Life of Ken Carter

Last Updated: 17 Mar 2023
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The movie Coach Carter is based on a true story about Ken Carter, a man who is asked to coach the basketball team at Richmond High School, a public school in a poor neighborhood of California where he also played and was a star player. Throughout the movie, Carter teaches his players respect, discipline, and the importance of education.

At the first practice, Carter soon learns the players are rude and disrespectful towards him. He emphasizes the importance of respect by calling all his players “sir” and telling them that he will respect them as long as they respect him back. I think respect is a key trait to teach athletes when coaching because it not only applies in sports but also everywhere else. Everyone should be taught how to respect others and be a better person.

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Carter also teaches his team about discipline. At the first practice he gives each player a contract. By signing the contract, they are agreeing to follow all the rules he has set out for his players such as being on time and maintaining at least a 2.3 GPA. If players fail to meet these requirements, they face consequences and punishments as a team and are expected to do an excess number of push-ups and suicides.

When Carter’s son wants to transfer schools and join Richmond’s team, Carter gives him the same treatment as the rest of the players and doesn’t give him any special treatment. He even expects his son to maintain a higher GPA than the rest of the team because he knows he is capable of it. Seeing how Carter dealt with having his own son on the team made me realize that it is very important to treat every player the same, even if it is your own child. Favoritism could ruin your team and cause your players to turn against you and feel like they are being treated unfairly compared to how you treat your own son or daughter.

When Carter sees his players’ progress reports from their teachers, he becomes upset that the majority of them are failing at least one class or getting incompletes due to not attending class. To solve this problem, he reminds his players that they all signed a contract and they are student athletes which means academics come first. Carter locks up the gym and sends the players to the library to study and do homework to help get their grades up. He even goes as far as cancelling games and keeping the gym on lock down. After Carter cancels the biggest game of the season, parents become outraged and complain to the school board.

The school board then votes to end the lockout. Carter then enters the gym to find his players sitting in desks and studying instead of playing. The players eventually get their grades up and get the chance to play again. Although they lose the championship game by two points, they still feel accomplished both athletically and academically. When coaching school sports, it is important for coaches to realize academics come before sports. There are many coaches that don’t care if their players have good grades; they only care if they are good athletes. If I ever coached school sports I would make sure to emphasize the importance of education.

An article titled “Richmond Rebound/High school basketball players hit books, coach lifts his lockout,” talks about Carter’s reasoning behind the lockout and also the opinions of people who both agree and disagree with Carter. During an interview with Carter in the article titled “Just Call Him “Sir””, he talked about how he thought the movie portrayed his story well and also talked about self-talk and how he would ask his players, “What is it you fear?” He explains he asked this to get players’ self talk more positive than negative. Self-talk is an important thing for coaches to focus on and will help with their players’ confidence. In a Q&A with Coach Carter, he talks about his philosophy and strategies he used for coaching Richmond High. He emphasized the importance on education and why he pushed his players so hard.

The movie and the articles I read taught me a lot about what kind of coach to be if I ever decide to coach again. I would focus on things like respect, discipline, and education just like Carter did. It takes a lot to be a good coach and sometimes it helps to look at other coaches’ philosophies and learn from them.

Work Cited

  1. Glionna, John M. (11 July 2001). Benching Dream Team Brought Results. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from McManis, Sam. (12 January 1999).
  2. Richmond Rebound/High school basketball players hit books, coach lifts his lockout. SFGate. Retrived from
  3. Moring, Mark. (11 Janurary 2005). Just Call Him “Sir.” Christianity Today. Retrieved from Staff. (August 2001).
  4. Q&A with Ken Carter. Coaching Management. Retrieved from

Cite this Page

The Importance of Respect, Discipline, and Education in Coach Carter, a Movie About the Life of Ken Carter. (2023, Mar 17). Retrieved from

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