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The Power of Positive: Positive Coaching Alliance

Updated: Nov 19, 2018

Written by: Coach Sara

I recently became a certified Double Goal Coach through the Positive Coaching Alliance! A Double Goal Coach has two goals that typically reinforce each other: winning and teaching life lessons; however, a great coach always chooses teaching the right life lesson over winning.

When I think about what I want my students to gain from their time in my class, I think more about the long term benefits and life lessons than solely gymnastics skills. I want them to achieve their goals and accomplish new skills through a positive experience that teaches them effort over winning.


In this course I learned about filling "Emotional Tanks". This is a great way to think about how positive and negative words and actions can affect your students, and the idea that if you want more out of your students in class, you must give them the "fuel" to do so.


What drains the tank?

  • Criticism

  • Sarcasm

  • Ignoring

  • Nonverbal Actions such as shaking your head or turning away

What fills the tank?

  • Praise

  • Listening

  • Appreciation for good things

  • Nonverbal actions such as smiling and high fives

I also learned about what PCA calls the "ELM Tree of Mastery" (Effort, Learning, Mistakes are OK), which helps to redefine winning. The traditional definition of winning focuses on results, making comparisons to others, and generally gives kids the impression that making mistakes is not OK. Meanwhile, the mastery definition focuses on effort and learning, and teaches you that not only are mistakes OK, but that they are crucial to the learning experience.


"Learning can't be maximized unless mistakes are happening."


Lastly, it reviewed the importance of Honoring The Game, whichever sport you may play. Their module is based on the acronym ROOTS, and says that coaches, athletes and parents must respect each of these at all times, creating a team culture where honoring the game is cardinal:






As a gymnast I experienced the effects of both positive and negative coaching, which is why when I began my coaching career, I vowed to always give my best effort in staying true to positive reinforcement. I know how damaging a negative coach can be to your self esteem and passion for the sport, so being a positive coach at all times, in my opinion, is the only option. This course gave me a new perspective and a plethora of ideas on how to foster a culture of respect and pride for the betterment of your students, as athletes and as people. Thank you PCA!


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