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 #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon