Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is one of the bright spots in the world of sports. The non-profit organization, founded by current chief executive officer Jim Thompson, is focused on eliminating the “win-at-all-costs” mentality that too often permeates the youth sports environment. The result of this mindset is that for too many children what should be an opportunity for fun and personal growth turns into an experience filled with anxiety and frustration.
The foundation of PCA’s approach to youth sports is training “double-goal” coaches: coaches who effectively balance the goal of winning with the second (and more important goal in youth sports) of teaching life lessons, and building character and self-esteem. Thompson and his trainers focus on the “ELM Tree of Mastery” with coaches and young athletes. This tool helps young people realize that they control three key variables in sports: 1) Their level of Effort; 2) Whether they Learn from experiences; and 3) How they respond to Mistakes.
“The single most important thing we do is help coaches teach kids not to be afraid to make mistakes,” says Thompson.
PCA trainers also talk to coaches about the “magic ratio,” five positive statements for every one criticism. By doing this, coaches help boost players’ confidence and hence their performance. The magic ratio needs to be real. Coaches need to deliver honest praise, not false praise. And criticism needs to be delivered in a helpful way at the appropriate time.
“Screaming at a kid is not tough,” says Thompson. “That’s just a lack of impulse control.”
Think back upon your own experience in youth sports. Would you have liked to have played for a PCA coach? Would you like your son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter to play for a PCA-style coach today?
Here’s a great chance to improve the youth sports experience today: Donate to Positive Coaching Alliance by December 31, 2011 and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by several prominent PCA supporters.
Your support can help a great organization make a big difference in the lives of young athletes across the country.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon