PCA Leaders

The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Way:

We are emotionally committed to achieving our mission of transforming the culture of youth sports. We are professional in all that we do in support of our mission.
We recognize that effort and enjoyment tend to go hand in hand. We go the extra mile for a partner.
We flush our mistakes, learn from them, and go on. We continue to innovate.
We Debate and Commit rather than smooth and avoid. We fill each other's Emotional Tanks.


Develop a Mission Statement


A compelling mission statement can inspire people and galvanize their energy to make it come true. The mission statement makes clear to all stakeholders what your organization stands for in a concise, memorable way. Consider how your culture can benefit from a mission statement:

  • It helps you communicate core values.
  • It guides you through difficult, ambiguous situations.
  • It starts conversations about your values.
  • It helps hold your organization accountable.

Every school and youth sports organization should have a mission statement that explicitly emphasizes the goal of using sports to help athletes develop positive character traits and values that will help them succeed in life.


Parent Meetings


A primary task for youth sports leaders is shaping their organization's culture. Reminding parents early and often that you are an educational-athletic organization is an important part of the culture-shaping process.

One key is to make sure coaches host pre-season parent meetings and provide coaches with a sample agenda. Parents understand everyone's role (coaches, fans, parents and athletes) when leaders and coaches present a consistent message. When parents understand what is expected, leaders have successfully communicated the way We do things Here!

How to have a Parent Meeting

Parent/Guardian Meeting Agenda for Coaches

Lead a Coaches Round Table


The most impactful thing you can do as a leader is to shape your organization's culture. One method is to host a Round Table for all your coaches. Offer food and beverage and pick a convenient time, such as after practice. Ask coaches to contribute to the conversation by responding to questions or scenarios, such as:

  • Describe a situation where your self-control routine helped you be a positive role model for your athletes.
  • How does your team demonstrate respect for your opponents?
  • How do your players overcome mistakes during competition?
  • How have PCA tools, such as "If-Then Statements" and "Criticism Sandwiches" helped in their coaching? 

Encourage Written Coaching Philosophies


The demands on volunteer youth coaches are substantial. Varying expectations in the face of limited time and resources leads to many coaches feeling overwhelmed. Help your coaches meet these challenges by encouraging them to develop written coaching philosophies. They'll be more likely to provide a healthy, character-building experience for the athletes and their families, and they'll have more fun themselves! Here are three ideas that will help them get the process rolling:

  • What's most important? List 3-5 guiding principles of your coaching.
  • Consider your coaching legacy: "When I retire as a coach, what I hope to be remembered for as a coach is..."

The seeds of your philosophy: Make a list of the key words and phrases you'd like to include in your coaching philosophy.

Key Points Of A Coaching Philosophy

Ten Simple Steps For New Coaches To Build A Coaching Philosophy

2 Steps For Coaches To Take Before Creating A Coaching Philosophy

How A Coaching Philosophy Defines A Kid's Experience

Pat Fitzgerald On The Best Coaching Philosophy In Youth Sports

Joe Ehrmann On His Coaching Philosophy

Recognize and Reinforce Desired Behavior


Leaders reinforce what they want to see when they recognize people who exhibit desired behaviors. Catch an athlete, parent and coach doing something right this month. Recognize their actions by highlighting them in the following ways:

  • Create a special section on your league website.
  • Add a paragraph to your league's e-newsletter.
  • Make an announcement on the PA system during a game break.

Top 3 Mistakes People Make In Giving Recognition

Organize an 'Honor the Game' Day


Honor the Game Day focuses players, coaches, parents, officials, and fans on Honoring the Game. Among other things, your event plans should include:

  • Promotion of the day at all parent, coach and board member meetings.
  • Creation of banners to hang at all of the fields promoting the themes of the day.
  • Coaches reading a statement at the beginning of all games to players, parents, officials, and fans that explains their team's commitment to Honoring the Game.

Honor the Game Day is a great way to let everyone know, "This is the way we do things here!"


Exercise 'Moral Courage' in the Moment


Moral Courage is the public exercise of personal power to stand up for what's right, even when others disapprove. The moment will come when you must display the moral courage to stand up for your organization's positive culture. When players, coaches, parents or fans act in a way that undermines your organization's commitment to Honoring the Game, your moral courage will impel you to let them know such behavior is unacceptable. Here are some suggestions for handling those situations:

  • You don't have to be perfect. It's okay if you don't say exactly the right thing.
  • You must act in the moment, even if you are not terribly articulate.
  • Sometimes, just a look and a downward hand movement to "calm down" will do the job.

People tend to respond to a higher authority or standard. Remind them that the higher standard for your organization is to Honor the Game.

Joe Ehrmann On Moral Courage

Preventing Bullying: Finding Your Moral Courage

The Challenge: Upholding a Positive Culture


When important games are on the line, can we really expect coaches, players, fans and parents to uphold a positive culture if it might result in losing the game? The answer must be, "YES!" PCA urges you, as leaders, to reinforce these important reminders with everyone in your organization:

  • Involvement in sports is a privilege that must never be dishonored.
  • Developing positive character traits in young athletes must come first.
  • Capitalize on the learning opportunities inherent in playing the most challenging opponents and pushing teams to reach their highest potential.

When tensions run high, adults who demonstrate a high level of moral courage teach young athletes an invaluable lesson.

Hugh McCutcheon: Establishing A Positive Culture

Team Dynamics And The Role Of Positive Team Culture In Sustained Success

6 Steps For Maintaining Positive Team Culture

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