The Positive Coaching Alliance event, co-hosted with the Florida Philanthropic Network, was Stop 3 on the Economic Opportunity Road Tour on July 20-21, 2011. The event brought attendees courtside for the Amateur Athletic Union’s national youth basketball championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
The Positive Coaching Alliance seeks to transform youth sports through a character-building environment, helping young athletes look beyond themselves and seek the good of their teammates, families, and communities. Since 1998, the Alliance has partnered with 1,100 youth sports organizations, conducted more than 6,000 workshops for coaches, parents, and athletes, and reached more than 3 million young people.
PCA’s partner, the AAU, is America’s largest volunteer sports federation, with over 2.5 million members. Nine months ago, AAU agreed to make PCA training mandatory for all of its 40,000-plus coaches, and to date, more than 20,000 coaches have been trained thanks to an initiative made possible by a grant from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation.
We were honored to have Doc Rivers kick off the event delivering the keynote address at our dinner at the Grand Floridian Hotel. Rivers discussed how sports have changed his life, the positive impact of sports on youth, and his personal commitment to PCA. Rivers stressed the valuable lessons sports and teamwork can teach youth—one of the most important lessons being, as Rivers’ dad taught him, to “Finish the course.” Rivers attributes his personal success, and his team’s, to following this advice and the Ubuntu philosophy: “I only succeed when you succeed.”
At a special breakfast panel the morning of the AAU championships, PCA founder Jim Thompson, AAU president Bobby Dodd, and Disney’s Mike Millay discussed the history, purpose, and future of PCA.
Other expert speakers at this event included Donna Orender, sports executive and former WNBA president; Richard Lapchick, professor at the University of Central Florida, Marcia Argyris of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, and Ryan Olson of the Kern Family Foundation. Retired LPGA champion Annika Sorenstam also attended our evening reception to lend her support to this initiative.
In a unique opportunity at this event, attendees got a chance to see PCA training in action. PCA senior trainer Joe Thomas worked with two teams of 14-year-old basketball players to instill the principles of “triple-impact competitors”—athletes who elevate themselves, their teammates, and the game through the way they compete. Among the principles PCA emphasizes:
- The ELM Tree of Mastery: E is for Effort, doing your best every time; L is for Learning, constantly working to improve yourself and your team; M is for Mistakes, dealing with them and learning from them.
- The ROOTS of Honoring the Game. A great player will show respect for: Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self.
- The Magic Ratio of 5:1. Coaches and teammates should strive to make five positive comments to their teammates/players for every one criticism.
- Even great athletes are “in the zone” only 15 percent of the time: It is discipline and character that determine how well they do the other 85 percent.
This conference inspired attendees to think of new ways to foster character education among today’s youth. If you would like to learn more about the Positive Coaching Alliance and The Philanthropy Roundtable's Economic Opportunity program, please contact us at (202) 822-8333.