Positive Coaching Alliance

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Positive Coaching Alliance
Founded 1998
Founder Jim Thompson
Focus Youth (athletics)
Headquarters Suite 100, 1001 N. Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View, California
Area served
United States
Products Workshops, Scholarships, Books, Online Resources
Mission Better Athletes, Better People
Website positivecoach.org

Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is a national non-profit organization with the mission to transform the culture of youth sports so that youth athletes can have a positive, character-building experience. PCA achieves its goals primarily by providing training workshops to coaches, parents, and administrators of schools and youth sports organizations in the United States. Founded in 1998, PCA has conducted more than 10,000 workshops for more than 1,700 schools and youth sports organizations, affecting more than 4.5 million youth and high school athletes.[1] PCA Founder and Executive Director Jim Thompson launched PCA in 1998 within the Stanford University Athletic Department after seeing a "win-at-all-cost" mentality in youth sports while coaching his son’s baseball team. Positive Coaching Alliance was created with the mission to "transform youth sports so sports can transform youth." Its mission statement has since been modified to "Better Athletes, Better People."

Thompson, who served more than ten years as the Director of Public and Global Management Programs at Stanford University, in 2004 was recognized as an Ashoka: Innovators for the Public fellow for outstanding social entrepreneurship. He has authored eight books on coaching: Elevating Your Game: Becoming a Triple-Impact Competitor (2011), The Power of Double-Goal Coaching (2010), The High School Sports Parent (2010), Positive Sports Parenting (2009), Positive Coaching in a Nutshell (2007), The Double Goal Coach (2003), Shooting in the Dark: Tales of Coaching and Leadership (1998), and Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Sports (1995).


"Better Athletes, Better People"

PCA’s philosophy focuses on sports as an opportunity for character education, espousing the Double-Goal Coach, whose first goal is winning, and whose second, more important goal is teaching life lessons through sports.

Positive Coaching Alliance has three national goals:

  1. Replace "win-at-all-cost" coaching with Double-Goal Coaching
  2. Help youth sports organization leaders create a culture in which "Honoring the Game" is the norm
  3. Spark and fuel a "social epidemic" of Positive Coaching in the United States


Positive Coaching Alliance developed "The Positive Coaching Mental Model",[2] a research summary based upon several psychological studies, in order to guide youth sports coaches in creating positive and effective team cultures. The model comprises three principles:

  • Redefining "Winner"

Focusing on mastery of skill, rather than on scoreboard results, decreases anxiety and gives youth athletes a sense of control over the outcome. Positive Coaches recognize that mistakes are an inevitable part of sports and cultivate effort rather than concern about outcome, fostering an environment in which players don't fear making mistakes.

  • Filling "Emotional Tanks"

Positive Coaches frequently give truthful, specific praise, laying the groundwork for "teachable moments," when players will be receptive to specific, constructive criticism.

  • Honoring the Game

Positive Coaches train their athletes to respect Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self (R.O.O.T.S.)

The National Advisory Board[edit]

Notable figures from sports, academia and business comprise PCA’s National Advisory Board:[3]

PCA national spokesperson:

Board members:


The Positive Coaching Alliance gives out the Ronald L. Jensen award for Lifetime Achievement. The winners include:

Corporate Alliance Partners[edit]

NikeGo, Deloitte, Liberty Mutual, Continental Airlines

National Youth Sports Organization Partners[edit]

Little League Baseball, US Lacrosse, Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), US Club Soccer, USA Rugby, Ice Skating Institute, Pop Warner, USA Water Polo



External links[edit]