Skip to main content

Discussion Guide: Coach Carter


Movie Synopsis

Based on the life of controversial High School basketball coach Ken Carter, who made national news in 1999 when he benched his entire undefeated basketball team for poor academic performance. The coach forfeited two league games and made the gym off-limits until students raised their grades, a move that drew praise and criticism from parents and school officials.

Coach Carter movie poster


Rent $3.99                       

 Buy $6.99                          


Discussion Questions

  1. Do you agree with Coach Carter’s strict disciplinary techniques? Why or why not?
  2. Coach Carter must walk a fine line between father and coach when coaching his son Damien. Does he walk this line effectively? How so?
  3. Coach Carter holds his student-athletes to high academic standards. Why is this important for him to do?
  4. When Timo Cruz wants to be back on the team, why is it important that Coach Carter gives him a second chance?
  5. How does playing basketball help Kenyon Stone and his priorities in life?
  6. Even though the team does not win the championship on the scoreboard at the end, what other ways do they succeed as a team?

What Parents Need To Know

Parents need to know that Coach Carter has some mature material, including an out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy and a discussion of abortion. There is some strong language, but the movie includes a very worthwhile discussion of the n-word and whether it is appropriate for African-Americans to use a word that would make them angry if used by a white person. The film is frank about the kinds of violence inner-city neighborhoods are subjected to, including shooting. A character is killed. There is some material relating to drug-dealing.

Read full review

Review by Common Sense Media® Common Sense Media is a registered trademark, and other associated names, and logos are trademarks of Common Sense Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Our partner, Positive Coaching Alliance, provides a collection of movie discussion guides, which aim to help you make the most out of movie viewing with your team or child. Movies provide many of "teachable moments" parents can share with their young athletes helping them be successful, contributing members of society.

Sports in this article