The Discipline Coach

If you're thinking discipline is keeping them in check, sorting them out, showing them what's good for them, because it's for their own good, because it's what the youth of today are so sorely lacking... you've got the wrong book!

By: Jim Roberson


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 222mm x 182mm
Pages : 224
ISBN : 9781781350058
Format: Paperback
Published: August 2012

Jim Roberson believes that school should be the place where you learn all you need to learn to succeed in life, whatever form that success may take. Most importantly, in his view, you have to learn discipline. For Jim, behaviour is the B-word and he forbids mention of it. Discipline, on the other hand, is neatly described not as something others do to you to get you to behave nor even as something you do to yourself, but rather as what you do for yourself.

What Jim advocates is a partnership between children and schools, whereby schools open up to teaching children everything they will need to prosper at and beyond school, no matter what career or life choices they make. In return, children will start to acquire and then implement the strategies and benefits that come with self-discipline on an ongoing basis.

Jim has worked with some of the most challenging young people in the UK and, whether he’s working with experienced classroom practitioners, struggling supply teachers, students themselves or even the police, he delivers powerful, practical, common sense strategies that bring the best out of some of the most demanding and hard-to-reach young people.

Picture for author Jim Roberson

Jim Roberson

Jim Roberson, former American football player, has been working on the Disciplined Approach for over 20 years as a teacher, trainer, coach and parent. He is an independent education consultant and works with parents, teachers and students.

Read a feature on Jim's approach to discipline in an article for the Independent - September 2012.

Jim and The Discipline Coach book had an Honourable Mention in the San Francisco Book Festival 2013.


  1. If you teach in an inner city, if you have disaffective, disruptive teenagers in your class, if nothing in the past has helped you gain control, this book will shine a light into a dark area of school life. The Discipline Coach, by Jim Roberson, a tough-talking former American footballer, football coach and now a teacher, is something different.

    Where Roberson grew up in the tough Bronx neighbourhood of New York, he learned that self-discipline, respect for others, taking responsibility, then planning for success were the keys to a better life. And these are the attributes that he says can revitalise problem students. But, as he points out, discipline works, not if it's something we do to students, but only as something we can teach them to do to themselves.

    He advocates talking to kids about consequences (short term) and repercussions (long term), about inviting them to respect you the teacher, about whether friends are enablers or disablers, about admitting that they need to change. Don't expect this book to be the usual text-heavy SEN publication. Read it through or dip into it -” either way it won't take long. But it will make you think!
  2. Many authors have produced a range of texts revolving around keeping discipline in classrooms, school behaviour management, seating plans, restraint, etc, ..... often with limited positive impact on improving engagement and learning. This outstanding book by Jim Robertson gives teachers, mentors, youth workers and all adults working or living with young people the skills and techniques to promote self-discipline, self-coaching, and positive self expectation to expect nothing but the best from themselves. In common with many outstanding teachers that I have worked with, Jim Robertson has employed skills from the psychology of motivation to enable young people, who are often on a self-destruct route, to re-consider the choices that they make and to start making a positive contribution to their own lives. This book will enable more teachers and staff team members to gain the personal skills that make the difference to the lives of others A brilliant book.

  3. Jim Roberson's book 'The Discipline Coach', is a most refreshing and inspiring read.
    It is aimed at teachers yet the layout and clear messages it sends will resonate with young people in any school or college. Jim's philosophy chimes with my practice as the Teenager Coach - it is about looking to the future with a belief in possibility and change. The overriding premise is that young people have the power to determine their future with teachers being the engineers and architects of learning and purpose. The pupils gain self-confidence, motivation and direction. My guess is that schools who take this approach will be high achieving, full of endeavour and aliveness!

  4. This is an inspiring book which every teacher and parent, working or living with young people should read. Inspiring is an over-worked word, but well deserved here. The production is also vibrant and appealing.

  5. Not so much a `book', as a speaking gig you can hold in your hands, this summary of Jim Roberson's values is compellingly presented, with the word count per page kept to a minimum, and strikingly stylish, black-and-white design throughout. As the title suggests, Roberson's specialism is `discipline', which he defines not as `something you do to others', but rather as something you do for - not to - yourself. Focusing on behaviour, he argues, simply teaches young people to work harder at not getting caught; whereas if you encourage respect, accountability and preparation (RAP), then you give them the kind of self-belief and motivation that can be truly transformational, and will stay with them for life. Part biography, part philosophical observation, this is an inspiring and interactive reading experience that could give you a genuinely new perspective on dealing with -˜challenging' students.

  6. If you're looking for motivation or inspiration in life, you could do a lot worse than to look at some of the words of U.S. sports coaches.

    Coach Don Coryell (San Diego Chargers) inadvertently summed up our teaching philosophy in one soundbite : “The country is full of good coaches. What it takes to win is a bunch of interested players.” And if you've never sat down and watched Coach John Wooden's gentle TED talk on the difference between winning and succeeding, you really should.

    You can add Jim Roberson's name to that list of inspiring coaches. He has coached American Football in the U.S. and, more recently, in the U.K. and his book -˜The Discipline Coach', is full of wisdom as applicable to your classroom as the sports field.

    -˜The Discipline Coach' is a book about redefining discipline as we've known it. Through quotes, anecdotes and a unique style of writing, Jim Roberson explains that discipline is “not what you do to yourself or what anyone does to you. It's what you do to yourself.” He goes on to provide positive alternatives and clear guidance as to how to put self-discipline into practice in the classroom and in life.

    It's hard to put into words what this book is like. As I type, it's sounding too verbose and dry, which for this book isn't good enough. -˜The Discipline Coach' is punchy stuff. Gutsy. Coach Roberson doesn't waste words or mince them. This is reflected in the book's design (which, by the way, is a thing of beauty) - why fill a page with 200 words when six will do the job and a lot more powerfully too?

    Perhaps the best review would be to explain the feelings it provoked. It brought back memories of specific children who had been excluded from schools I'd taught in. Challenging children who were taken out of class on a daily basis. Children who the schools just couldn't (or didn't want to) cope with. Children who didn't comply with the conventional -˜discipline'. I can remember walking across the school field to where they'd stormed off - in a bid to talk it out - only to find there was no getting through their red mist. When they were eventually “moved on”, the school collectively breathed a sigh of relief. I know I did. We'd tried everything and they just didn't want to learn.

    Roberson goes on to give three ways of helping young people think before they act. I wish I'd read it as a PGCE student.

    -˜The Discipline Coach' will challenge you. It'll probably give you regrets about the way you've handled things in the past and certainly make you wish you'd read it years ago. But, more than that, it'll inspire you to make a difference NOW. It'll inspire you to model respect in order to get it, make -˜firsts' happen for your students, to use the art of making others feel good and develop an -˜I can' mindset.

    I've never met Jim Roberson, but I want to teach like him.

    In his foreword to -˜The Discipline Coach', Ian Gilbert talks about trying to distil Jim Roberson's philosophy into the book, capturing “Jim's spirit, his voice and his relentless energy”. Credit needs to go to the Independent Thinking / Crown House team here, because they've done so in spadefuls. You'll leave -˜The Discipline Coach' feeling energised, raring to go and with a strange feeling that you already know Jim Roberson quite well. If Independent Thinking ever decide to go into the audio book market, this would be the perfect place to start.

    -˜The Discipline Coach' is more than a book. It's a team talk.

    COME ON!!
  7. Jim Roberson is clearly a larger than life character who makes a huge and inspiring impression on all he meets... How do I know this? From reading this book! It too is inspiring and makes a huge impression.

    I loved the bold black and white images that support the short and snappy statements - together the images and words make such a dramatic impact and certainly helped this aged and forgetful teacher remember the key messages with ease. As a lead within the now defunct Playing for Success Programme across the UK (a study support initiative working in partnership with schools and prestigious sports clubs) I have long recognised the power that sporting metaphors can have on transforming the aspirations of vulnerable pupils. Within this book those metaphors are skilfully transferred into mainstream / everyday situations.

    Not only is the guidance offered to support those developing an ethos of self-discipline and engagement for young people bold and memorable, but it is also grounded in common sense and simple progressive steps. I would have no hesitation in recommending this as a key resource in any staff library.

  8. A `speaking gig' in book form - educators will appreciate being able to get the heart of the message without having to wade through pages of dense, closely referenced text!
  9. James Roberson makes a compelling argument for a new and refreshing view on discipline. He combines the logic of Hall of Fame coaching with his own experience of coaching and working with “at-risk youth” to derive a formula for positive change.

    If you are a teacher and want to see a difference in your learners, read this book. Coach Roberson writes with laser-like accuracy, getting straight to the point of what it takes to inspire young people to reach their potential.

    There are pearls of wisdom in this book for teachers, coaches and even parents, all presented in an easy to read -understand and truly enjoyable book. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down until I was done.

    Like my best professors at Harvard Business School, the wisdom of James Roberson has inspired me to take a closer look at myself, as a first step to becoming a more effective leader. This book is as valuable for the teacher, coach or parent reading it, as it is for the young people they are attempting to lead. Without a doubt, leadership, teaching, coaching and parenting go hand in hand.

  10. Having known Jim as a friend and professionally for 15 years, I can hear his voice come through the text. He is an inspiration to all that he comes into contact with. I have witnessed him apply many of the concepts he writes about and seen the impact these words have on young people. The boost to their self-worth and self-esteem. The importance of self-discipline, considering all factors, taking care of business and considering the repercussions of our actions are important concepts for all and something I try to instil in my own children at home and in my classroom. Jim really is a legend.

  11. The Discipline Coach gives a good illustration of the importance of coaching in the lives of adolescents. Jim relates the Discipline Coach to his life and how his coaches were able to help him to think and prepare for the future. The book should be used by Social Workers, Counselors, Teachers and others that are concerned about changing the negative attitudes of adolescents and give them a positive way of thinking for the future. It gives good illustration of the steps that can be used to help adolescents change their way of thinking and learn to respect themselves and others.
  12. Jim provides a sensible and non-traditional approach to helping young people understand what they need to know for achieving in life. As a High School educator, dean and head coach of varsity football , Jim's method of managing discipline has given me a new approach for reaching my student athletes to achieve team and individual goals on and off the field.

  13. Jim has worked with me for nearly 20 years dealing with challenging young people and in the pages of 'The Discipline Coach' Jim has distilled the very essence of his beliefs and his enthusiasm for making the difference. There is no task too difficult for Jim to challenge. On the first occasion he may meet with rejection but that does not blunt Jim's approach. I have had plaudits from both young people and parents as to the difference Jim has made to their perception of themselves and what they can strive to achieve in their futures. This book has Jim's inspirational qualities on nearly every page. He appreciates the chances he got as a young man in New York and is now providing those life changing opportunities here in the UK.'

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