The BCD Rule: The Best Team Rule To Build Maturity In Athletes

In today’s society of athletes, there seems to be a number of players, parents, and coaches that are fixated on three things: Blaming, complaining, and defending. However, most of the people that exhibit this behavior hardly ever realize that they’re using it. The BCD Rule is a new rule that we have learned about that sets out to fix that behavior and can be an amazing tool to create a positive, winning culture on your team.

If you don’t think there’s a ton of people who blame, complain, and defend their irrational behavior, let’s do a quick experiment to find out:

Take a second, bring up your Twitter or Facebook app, and then start to scroll through your news feed or your trending topics.

Do you find a lot of useful, contributing information out there that actually help you improve your life? Or do you find trending topics with people just complaining about everything going on in the world?

Odds are, you’re going to find the latter, no matter which social media platform you choose.

The virtual soap boxes that have been created by Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites are inundated with people preaching their gospel opinion to the masses. Or, they’re complaining about how life is unfair through blaming other people for where they’re at in life. This constant blaming and complaining eventually leads to people lashing back with their opinions, causing a competition of back and forth comments that lead to people defending their position.

This is molding the minds of tomorrow, but as a coach, you can do something to stop it so that you can put the players on your team on the right track. If you’re an athlete reading this, share it with your coaching staff and just start implementing it in your own life. You don’t have to be a coach in order to combat this, you just need to try and create positive, supportive athletes/teammates that want help each other succeed instead of stepping over each other to reach the top.

Sounds like the perfect team mentality, right?

However, where coaches and players tend to stay stagnant is in finding a way to implement a rule that stops the whining behavior and creates a positive learning environment.

Regularly, we have the privilege of speaking with elite level coaches from the NCAA collegiate ranks down in order to learn about the rules and processes that they put in place to run a successful program.

And recently, we heard one of the best rules that you can live by that is being implemented every year by a NCAA Division I college coach:

It’s called the BCD Rule – and it’s purpose is to squash all of the negative talk that leads to developing a negative mentality and toxic culture.

The BCD Rule is pretty simple; It only consists of three important things:

  • No Blaming
  • No Complaining
  • No Defending

This rule applies to players, coaches, training staff, medical staff, and whomever else is in the program that comes into daily contact with the team. And, the major guideline is pretty simple. Whenever you decide to talk, whatever you say cannot fall within the above criteria. You cannot project blame, you cannot complain, and you cannot defend when you fall short.

For example, you can’t blame someone else for when you make a mistake or let the team down. You can’t complain about anything that pertains to the team or life in general. And finally, you can’t justify the decisions you make by defending your position or your decisions.

To put the rule into context, let’s dive a little deeper, break down the rules within, and give some examples of how to own what you say.


B – No Blaming

The first part of the BCD rule is No Blaming. So, what does that mean exactly?

You can’t blame anyone or anything for failing.

You can’t blame anyone or anything for your mistakes or your team’s mistakes.

You can’t blame anyone or anything for your performance in life. Whether that’s on the field, off the field, in the classroom, wherever.

C – No Complaining

The “C” of the BCD rule is No Complaining.

You can’t complain about your problems.

You can’t complain about the adversity you’re going through.

You can’t complain about your opportunities or your teammates around you.

D – No Defending

The final part of the BCD rule, which serves as the letter D, is No defending.

You cannot decide to lash out and defend your position.

“Well I would not have done that if you didn’t…” or “Yea, I’m saying that because…” or “I didn’t pick up the water bottles because I thought…” “I was going to workout, but then you…”

You cannot defend your position, especially when you know you are wrong.

You cannot defend your poor behavior or poor treatment of people.

You have to own it and eat the frog.


The “BCD Rule” Main Theme:

Although this rule is broken up into three key parts, it actually hones in on one centralized theme: Own what’s going on in your life. Whether it’s your decisions, your attitude or your work ethic, the only reason why things are currently going the way they are in your life is because of one person: you.

Related: Want To Be Successful? You Better Learn How To Have Grit

Instead of blaming others for your current situation, you take responsibility for your current level of happiness and you decide to change it. The greatest thing about this rule is that you can change your life with the flick of a switch.  It’s just deciding own your problems, challenges, and adversity in life – taking away all of the blame for your current situation – and then deciding to take action with a positive mindset so that you overcome them.

It sounds easy, but it takes practice every day to implement the BCD Rule in your life. It’s not easy to execute because if it were, then everybody would be doing it. However, what you need to realize is that by implementing this rule and practicing it on a daily basis, you will see your maturity level within yourself grow.  You will see the maturity level in your teammates grow. And, you will see that how you deal with adversity in life is all based on how you let it define you.

Related: 10 reasons why complaining is killing your athletic future

Your problems and challenges in life won’t define who you are as an athlete, person, coach, father, mother, sibling, or friend. What does define you is how you handle those problems and overcome them.  And, your problems or your team’s problems aren’t unique or special.  You have to understand that everyone has problems and is going through adversity in some way, shape, or form.  Just eat the frog, understand that everyone goes through adversity, and work with the people around you to overcome it.

Don’t blame others. Don’t complain. Don’t defend. Implement the BCD Rule and you’ll be a lot happier in both the short term and long term.  And, you’ll start to see your problems behind you in the rear view mirror as you move towards new success.

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Contributes to the “new culture” of sports and helps motivate you to achieve your potential.