Leading a school athletic program or youth sports organization, you have awesome power and responsibility to have your program serve as a Development Zone for developing Better Athletes, Better People. Creating a positive, character-building youth sports environment may be the most important thing you ever do, because it can provide thousands of children with life lessons in teamwork, commitment, persistence, overcoming adversity, empathy, and leadership. And, as they cultivate a lifelong love of sports in your program, they will stay involved as athletes, coaches and parents in later life who carry forward the legacy they gain from your leadership to influence the next generation. Use the tools below to make it so.

PCA has developed "Standards of Excellence" for youth sports organizations (YSOs) that aspire to be outstanding "educational-athletic" organizations. There are six elements:

  1. Mission Statement Every youth or high school sports program needs a strong mission statement. Here are some ideas whether you're reviewing your current mission statement or embarking on creating one.
  2. Coach Recruitment Plan Step-by-step instructions for bringing together a great group of coaches who will stick with your program for years and help you develop your organizational culture.
  3. Coach Development Program. Ongoing improvement in your current coaches and adding even more great coaches can strengthen your culture.
  4. Positive Coaching Awards. People tend to do what gets rewarded in an organization. Here is a program for rewarding your coaches, complete with nomination forms for the awards.
  5. Parent Expectations Program An effective leader sets expectations for everyone in the organization. Include parents. They are the ultimate decision-makers as to the health, success and longevity of your program.
  6. Pre-Empt Problems and Intervene With Honor the Game Day Information
    • How to Intervene (When Someone Dishonors the Game) Follow this approach if you see behavior that threatens the positive youth sports environment you are working hard to create and maintain.
    • Recruit parents or board members whose job is to help maintain the positive environment within your school or organization to be a culture keeper.