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Positive Coaching Alliance

Positive Coaching Alliance

After a too-short (but hopefully happy and healthy) summer it is now back-to-school time. That means a fresh start and a chance to make this your best sports season ever!

Key to success is an environment where administrators, coaches, parents and student-athletes share a common vision, values and vocabulary. When all four of those groups are on the same page, your school sports experience offers a great opportunity for pursuing not only competitive excellence but also life lessons and character development.

Here we will take a closer look at what that means to each of the four groups and direct you to resources that can inform and inspire you toward the development of Better Athletes, Better People.


PCA urges you as a school athletic director to be a Single-Goal Leader. Your goal is to create what we call a Development Zone™ culture, where you focus on what is best for student-athletes’ long-term development as healthy contributors to our communities and society as a whole. These concepts are thoroughly explored in PCA Founder Jim Thompson’s book, Developing Better Athletes, Better People: A Leader’s Guide to Transforming High School and Youth Sports into a Development Zone.

Here are additional resources within

"5 Qualities Of A Great High School Coach" is a brief video of a successful high school athletic director, covering community, caring, communication, organization and commitment.

"Three Steps Toward Creating A Development Zone Culture" explains the keys to establishing and maintaining your school’s athletic culture, such as setting expectations for behavior, “fixing broken windows” and building “structural pillars.”

"Life Lessons And Character Development" features San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan High School Athletic Director Mike Gilleran commenting on an AD’s role in gaining buy-in to the culture.

Even early in a season, you may encounter disgruntled parents, so watch Dealing With Upset Parents. Former Punahou School AD and current PCA-Hawaii Executive Director Jeaney Garcia explains the importance of ADs participating in meetings with coaches and parents.


Every youth and high school sports coach should be a Double-Goal Coach®, pursuing both wins and the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. Achieving that second goal leaves a lasting legacy in the future lives of the youth you lead, teach and mentor. More on those ideas appear in Jim Thompson’s book, The Power of Double-Goal Coaching: Developing Winners in Sports and Life.

Here are additional resources within

"The Double-Goal Coach Job Description" spells out details of coach behavior that are most effective in improving athletic performance and teaching life lessons. 

"How To Conduct Tryouts" is a printable tip-sheet sharing principles on running tryouts efficiently and with the athletes’ best interests in mind, including how to ensure fairness and how to lead drills.

"How Coaches Should Handle Player Cuts" gives a step-by-step approach to communicating honestly and humanely with players who do not make the team. The emphasis here is on privacy and direct, individual communication.

"Coaches Cultivating A Caring Climate" is a podcast with Mary Fry, Director of the University of Kansas Sport and Exercise Psychology Lab, who explains how and why athletes thrive under coaches who care. Fun is often the key!