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Issue #19, December 2005
Welcome to a special year-end issue of Positive Coaching Alliance's Connector, designed to share good ideas and create a "social epidemic" of Positive Coaching. You can help by passing Connector along to others.

In this Issue

PCA's Bottom 10 Moments in Sports, 2005
- How to talk to youth athletes about adult misconduct in sports

Gooooooal & Stretch Gooooooal
- From the NCAA Championship to the 2nd Grade

Gifts for Coaches
- Spread the PCA movement AND thank the coaches in your children's lives

Positive Coaching Alliance's Bottom 10 Moments in Sports, 2005
Positive Coaching Alliance offers a year-in-review "Bottom 10 List" of the worst behavior in sports from pee-wees to the pros to stimulate discussion about Honoring the Game among parents, coaches, players and educators. "PCA's Guide to Discussing Sports Incidents with Children" follows the list.

10) A California high school football coach is caught on videotape moving a sideline yard marker so his team gains a first down and eventual "victory" in a league title game. (CBS Evening News, Nov. 30)
9) The Baltimore Ravens incur 21 penalties and two ejections for bumping officials in an October game against the Detroit Lions. (The Washington Post, Oct. 9)
8) The NBA's Sacramento Kings, during pre-game introduction of the visiting Detroit Pistons, show pictures of abandoned buildings, burned-out cars, and other negative images of Detroit on the scoreboard. (Sacramento Bee, Nov. 9)
7) Former future Hall-of-Fame baseball player Rafael Palmeiro tests positive for steroids after his emphatic, finger-waving denial during Congressional testimony. (The Washington Post, Aug. 2)
6) Terrell Owens criticizes the Philadelphia Eagles organization for insufficiently celebrating his 100th touchdown and continues disparaging teammates. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 7)
5) A Connecticut man allegedly beats his daughter's high school softball coach with a bat for benching the daughter after she skipped practice to attend her boyfriend's prom. (AP, The Boston Globe, May 19)
4) A Michigan youth hockey coach allegedly orders teammates to conduct bare-knuckle fights as part of a practice session. (Lansing State Journal, Oct. 21)
3) A Texas high school football coach allegedly dismisses his team and pits ineligible, overage, oversized players against a scheduled opponent, endangering that team's players--and still loses! (Sports Illustrated, Dec. 5)
2) A Texas high school football parent faces criminal charges for allegedly critically wounding his son's coach with a .45-caliber pistol. (The Dallas Morning News, April 8)
1) A Pennsylvania youth baseball coach allegedly pays one of his players $25 to bean an 8-year-old teammate with autism to keep him out of a game and aid the team's chance to "win." (Pittsburgh Tribune Review, July 16)

On the bright side, Positive Coaching Alliance also sees high-profile examples of behavior that Honors the Game and sets an example for youth sports leaders, coaches, parents and athletes. For example:
  • Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis, following his team's controversial last-second loss to USC, taking his 12-year-old son to the USC locker room to congratulate the victors. (College Football News, Oct. 16)

  • Pro tennis star Andy Roddick overruling a linesman's incorrect 'out' call to 'in', giving a crucial point to eventual match winner Fernando Verdasco at the Rome Masters. (Sports Illustrated, May 11)

  • The city of Memphis (and many others) embracing and supporting Darius Washington after his missed free throws cost the University of Memphis a trip to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. (Sports Illustrated, Oct. 20)

  • Bobby Martin, a high school football player born without legs, taking the field for Dayton, Ohio's Colonel White High School. (AP, USA Today, Sept. 20)

PCA Guide to Discussing Sports Incidents with Children

Positive Coaching Alliance created and released its "Bottom 10 List" in response to a frequent query in the thousand-plus workshops PCA presents each year for youth sports leaders, parents and coaches: "How can we encourage our children to Honor the Game when they see so many poor examples from their college or pro sports idols?"

The answer is to capitalize on the "teachable moments" those negative examples provide. Teachable moments occur when a child tries to process an experience or an impression, and that is the best time for a youth sports leader, parent or coach to turn an otherwise-negative incident into a springboard for discussing and teaching positive behavior.

Casting light on negative behavior and discussing it - rather than ignoring it and hoping children do the same - can help children avoid emulating the negative behavior. PCA hopes our list prompts media outlets to discuss these incidents in a way that educates youth sports leaders, parents and coaches who work with children.

Using as an example the most publicized incident from our list, Terrell Owens publicly criticizing his teammates, PCA suggests several steps to youth sports leaders, coaches and parents:

Do NOT let it go by without comment. Children who learn of Owens' behavior without comment may take it as tacit approval from the adults. You might say something like, "That is not being a good team player. I certainly hope you would never do something like that!" Beyond showing disapproval, adults have the opportunity to reinforce specific positive values and character traits.

Cultivate respect for teammates. PCA promotes the ROOTS of "Honoring the Game," where ROOTS stands for respect for the Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self. You might say to your child that individuals who value and respect their teammates would never publicly disparage them.

Capitalize on "Talk-Able Moments." In addition to teachable moments, talk-able moments strengthen bonds between children and the important adults in their lives. Kids love to talk about sports so much that they will even talk with their parents about it!

Getting children to talk about their opinions of incidents such as these may be as important as telling them your own opinions. Children who grapple with the right and wrong of a situation (rather than simply nod their heads when an adult speaks) are more likely to internalize the lesson. In time you may find that both the good and bad of big-time sports provides grist for the mill of many wonderful conversations with children.

Positive Coaching Alliance Trainer (workshop presenter) Rob Baarts recently achieved the first goal of every Double-Goal Coach: winning. As an assistant women's soccer coach at University of Portland, Rob's team won the Division I National Championship earlier this month with a 4-nil shutout of UCLA. PCA congratulates Rob and his Pilots!

Stretch Goooooal!

Chris Williamson, a second-grade girls soccer coach, who attended our recent Merrick, NY workshop, reported to PCA Trainer Amy Nakamoto: "We set a stretch goal to have eight shots on goal at practice on Saturday. If we could get eight shots at Sunday's game, that should hopefully produce a goal or two. Sure enough, last Sunday we had 11 shots on goal, and won the game 2-0. Parents were commenting on how determined the girls seemed to be this week. I bought a big Oak Tag sheet, and we drew eight boxes on it. Every time we had a shot on goal, I crossed off a box. I do admit I bribed them with ice cream, and I'm sure that helped motivate them, but I just wanted to thank you. The girls want to know what next week's stretch goal is."

Gifts for Coaches: Spread the PCA Movement AND Reward the Coaches in Your Children's Lives

PCA Founder Jim Thompson's three books make great gifts for the coaches in your life and offer a plethora of frameworks and tools that virtually any coach can use to improve.

Positive Coaching: Building Character & Self-Esteem Through Sports is the book that launched the PCA Movement. Chock-full of inspirational stories of ways to motivate youth athletes and get the best out of them, Positive Coaching is a great gift or stocking stuffer.

Shooting in the Dark: Tales of Coaching and Leadership is a perfect gift for high school coaches and for those who coach girls. Shooting in the Dark is the story of Jim Thompson's two years as head girls basketball coach of the Fremont (CA) High School "Women Warriors" while also teaching a leadership course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Chapters on the use of visualization and the art of celebrating practice are favorites.

The Double-Goal Coach reflects the continuing evolution of positive coaching with a new model of coaching that emphasizes Honoring the Game, filling Emotional Tanks of athletes and redefining what it means to be a "winner" in terms of the ELM Tree of Mastery (Effort, Learning and bouncing back from Mistakes). It also includes a special chapter for parents.

All three books are available in bookstores and by visiting
www.positivecoach.org and clicking on "Store."

Give the gift of online Double-Goal Coach Certification. Another great gift for the coaches in your life: PCA's online Double-Goal Coach Certification.
Click here or visit www.positivecoach.org/certification to purchase a password that will be e-mailed to the recipient of your gift. Remember, your gift of Positive Coaching keeps giving - not just to the recipient of your gift, but to the children he or she coaches.