Positive Coaching Alliance

Erie Sports Center Partners with Positive Coaching Alliance to Foster Positive Youth Development Through Sports

national organization dedicated to promoting positive youth sports experiences
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) & Erie Sports Center

ERIE, PA, November 2, 2023 – The Erie Sports Center, a state-of-the-art multi-sports complex in Erie, PA, has partnered with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a national organization dedicated to promoting positive youth sports experiences. This collaboration signifies the Erie Sports Center’s commitment to youth development, character building, and fostering a positive sports culture for young athletes.

Troy Bingham, Owner of the Erie Sports Center, expressed his excitement about the partnership, saying, “All of our coaches will be required to become PCA compliant moving forward so that families can be assured their children are being developed in a positive environment. We are working hard to change the culture of the ‘win at all costs’ mentality that is leading to players being belittled, abused, discouraged, and losing their love for sport. We want the focus to be on individual player development in a positive environment and to establish this culture across all of our sports programs at the Erie Sports Center. This program will also be rolled out to parents, players and partners moving forward.”

Since its inception in 1998, PCA has partnered with approximately 3,500 youth sports organizations, conferences, schools, districts, and parks-and-rec departments, and instills valuable life skills and character development in young athletes. By providing research-based training and resources for coaches, parents, athletes, and leaders, PCA ensures that every child, regardless of social or economic circumstance, has access to a positive youth sports experience. The organization’s programs are designed to make a positive impact at multiple levels within youth sports organizations and schools. At the youth level, PCA’s initiatives focus on enhancing life skills and character development among young athletes. 

The tools and concepts taught in PCA courses are based on extensive research and apply to various contexts, fostering improved teamwork, personal resilience, and the ability to learn from mistakes. The Erie Sports Center will host a mandatory workshop for its team of coaches across all sports later this month. Facilitated by a certified PCA Trainer, the interactive workshop will empower coaches with tangible tools and practical knowledge to create a positive and enriching sports experience for young athletes. 

Bingham added, “We believe sports play a vital role in shaping the character and resilience of our youth. Partnering with Positive Coaching Alliance aligns perfectly with our mission to provide a nurturing environment where young athletes can grow, learn, and develop not only as players but also as individuals.”

This partnership will provide access to PCA’s training for coaches, athletes, and sports parents through online courses, live group workshops, books by PCA Founder Jim Thompson, and additional online resources.

About Erie Sports Center

The Erie Sports Center, a state-of-the-art multi-sports complex in Erie, PA, offers ten soccer fields, including a fully-equipped indoor dome for year-round training and competition. The facility also provides accommodations for over 400 student-athletes, a private school, and a cafeteria, and will soon offer a top-of-the-range sports medicine center. For more information, visit www.eriesportscenter.com

Click here to learn more about the Positive Coaching Alliance.

PCA Sports Resources to Parents

Kristine Lilly is a PCA National Advisory Board Member and former U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team Captain, who retired from international play with a record 352 caps. Kristine was a four-time NCAA Champion at the University of North Carolina and went on to play in five World Cups, helping the U.S. to championships in 1991 and 1999. She is currently an Assistant Coach for the University of Texas.

In this clip, Kristine recalls the aftermath of her team’s loss in the gold medal match of the 2000 Olympics. She felt she’d let her parents down, and as she accepted her silver medal avoided looking at her family in the stands. Now she realizes that should have been the first place she looked, as he parents later let her know of their pride in her, regardless of the match result.

Now that Kristine is a parent, she is careful not to bring a player or coach mentality to her sports parenting. The most important thing, she says, is to focus on your child’s development.

Advice to youth sport coaches

Brian McBride, had a 17 year professional soccer career serving as a captain for the US Men’s National Team. He played professionally for Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire and Fulham and earned 96 caps in international competition. He currently serves on PCA’s National Advisory Board and is the General Manager of the USMNT.

McBride explains the privilege around coaches impacting kids for life. He offers coaches perspective on the experience and feelings they had growing up and playing sports . He describes how providing a child with a compliment and nurturing their talents is a unique gift coaches can and should give continuously.

Tips for the First time Coach

Youth sport organizations often rely on parent volunteers to coach the league’s teams. Despite the lack of experience many of these volunteers have, without their generosity of time and spirit, kids would not have the opportunity to learn and play a sport.

If you are in this position, avoid being overwhelmed and instead focus on the 11 tips found in this document for first-time coaches. These may be the difference maker for you to enjoy the experience!

Tips include pre-season advice like letting your child know you’re considering coaching and being clear on your own goals. Putting some thought in before the season begins will help direct your strategy for practice and game planning.

This list also includes tricks of the trade like welcoming all kids to practice by name to make them feel important, and facing the sun when you talk in team huddles. These may seem like small adjustments, but they make a big difference when you’re dealing with young impressionable players, with short attention spans.

Finally, don’t forget that this can be hard! First-time coaches are often confronted with a harder-than-expected experience. Don’t get discouraged, give yourself a break and remain positive with yourself. Find other coaches and workshops to learn from, and remember how important a role you’re playing in the lives of young athletes.

Click here to download a PDF of the full article.

To learn more about Positive Coaching Alliance and creating a positive youth sports experience, click here: https://positivecoach.org/

12 Tips for Talking to Your Teen Athlete About Their Mental Health

This resource by Katie Hurley, DSW, LCSW, Senior Clinical Advisor of External Affairs for The Jed Foundation (with input from Positive Coaching Alliance) provides parents and caregivers 12 tips for talking to their teen athletes about their mental health.

Sports, especially at a competitive level, can add another layer of stress to the lives of teens. There’s balancing the time commitment between school and sports, as well as the pressure, disappointment, and social scrutiny that can come with competition: losing, not making a team, having your plays shared and sometimes criticized on social media, trying to earn scholarships, and more.

As the caregiver of a teen athlete, your support can help them understand their feelings and feel valued and cared for. You can provide a safe space to work through all the inevitable emotions of life and competition. Of course, they may not immediately take advantage of it. Any parent of a teen knows that, “fine” is often the go-to answer when we ask how practice went or how they are feeling. That may leave you feeling frustrated and confused. How can you help your teen athlete if they won’t talk?

Click here to download the PDF for the full article.

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