Children & Youth,
Recreation & Sports,
Youth Development Programs
Mission: Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) was formed at Stanford University in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) with the mission of transforming the culture of youth sports to ensure that all young athletes have the opportunity for a positive, character-building experience.
As John W. Gardner, founder of Common Cause, has said: "There isn't any other youth institution that equals sports as a setting in which to develop character. There just isn't. Sports are the perfect setting because character is tested all the time. It means a great deal if that time in sports is well used." Youth sports offer a virtual classroom for teaching life lessons, but only if the adults who work with athletes recognize and seize the many teachable moments provided.
Research shows participation in youth sports improves academic performance and school attendance, results in better behavior and decreases risk-taking behavior, such as experimenting with drugs and alcohol. But kids are dropping out of sports, and if kids don't stay in sports, they won't reap these benefits. PCA is creating a movement to seize the latent educational potential of the playing field and ensure that all youth athletes have the opportunity for a positive, character-building experience.
Recent events from the headlines (baseball player killed in attack with bat, increasing steroid use among high school and pre-teen athletes, banning post-game handshakes because of violence, parent brawls, etc.) show how far from the ideal youth sports is and why PCA's mission to "transform youth sports so sports can transform youth" is so needed today. The decentralized nature of youth sports does not lend itself to easy answers or approaches. Changing the culture of youth sports from the win-at-all-cost ethic of the professional sports entertainment business to an "educational-athletic" culture requires a sophisticated, research-based approach that can be applied on an organization-by-organization basis across the U.S.
PCA is in the culture-change business, and we are entering a crucial stage in our history. Since our founding in 1998, we have developed our programs, refined our business model, and built credibility with key institutions and individuals. We have developed a systems approach to effecting cultural change with more than 600 (and counting!) Youth Sports Organizations (YSO's) in which we offer training to leaders, coaches, parents and athletes that gets all the key actors on the same page. We have assembled a world-class National Advisory Board of sports coaches such as Phil Jackson, Herm Edwards, and Larry Brown, as well as leaders in academia and business. We have developed our "model store" for how to operate in individual communities and learned what it takes to expand successfully into new geographic areas.
The next three years are about building capacity to take our program to every corner of the U.S. Our national certification program will make our research-based model of coaching, the "Double-Goal Coach," the industry standard in youth sports. A Double-Goal Coach wants to win (goal #1) while using sports to teach life lessons. Our new on-line workshop makes this accessible to any coach in the U.S.
We will fortify our management structure through a system of regional offices and position ourselves to expand our fundraising efforts to other regions of the U.S. This critical three-year period is designed to allow us to achieve our BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal, in the words of Jim Collins and Jerry Porras) of training and certifying 1 million Double-Goal Coaches in the next decade.
Ultimately, we intend to have an office in every major metropolitan area and a PCA Trainer within driving distance of every YSO in the U.S. If we can directly impact 25% of the four million youth coaches in the U.S., we know we will indirectly reach the entire youth sports industry and change the way the game is played forever.
Target demographics: develop “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience
Direct beneficiaries per year: 1 million student-athletes
Geographic areas served: the United States
Programs: PCA workshops and courses in which we strive to establish these prevailing models in youth and high school sports:
• The Double-Goal Coach®, whose first goal is winning, and whose second, more-important goal is teaching life lessons through sports
• The Second-Goal Parent®, who concentrates on life lessons, while letting coaches and athletes focus on competing
• The Triple-Impact Competitor®, who strives to impact sport on three levels by improving oneself, teammates and the game as a whole.
In partnership with nearly 2,000 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide, PCA has conducted more than 11,000 live group workshops and impacted nearly 5 million youth.