Meghan McDonald

Team Rock, Competitive rock climbing (sport, speed and bouldering), New York

Double-Goal Coach Award Winner

Meghan McDonald, Head Coach for Competitive Climbing Team, Team Rock, has won Positive Coaching Alliance’s coveted National Double-Goal Coach® Award presented by TeamSnap for her positive impact on youth sports.

McDonald is one of 50 national recipients of the Double-Goal Coach award, named for coaches who strive to win while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. The award includes two tickets to attend PCA’s 18th Annual National Youth Sports Awards Dinner and Benefit sponsored by Deloitte being held at the Leavey Center on the campus of Santa Clara University, a $200 prize, a certificate, and mention within the websites and newsletters of Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a national non-profit developing Better Athletes, Better People through youth and high school sports. In addition, McDonald is one of four coaches who won an all-expense paid trip to the awards benefit and invitation to participate in a panel discussion on stage with emcee for the evening, Mike Tirico of NBC Sports Broadcasting,

“Coach McDonald helps athletes win in and out of sports,” said Tina Syer, President of Positive Coaching Alliance. “By creating a positive, character-building youth sports experience and serving as a Double-Goal Coach, Meghan helps youth develop into better athletes and better people.”

Competitive Climbing is a team sport where everyone competes individually, which means it takes a unique approach to coach.  McDonald “Makes every competitor on her team feel like they have an individual coach. Not easy to do on a team with over twenty competitors”, said a reference for her nomination.  One parent shared, in a letter to McDonald after a competitive climb, “More than just the successes and accomplishment on the wall though, your presence, patience, and approach to helping my daughter grow as a climber and as a person is the thing we really appreciate. You were there, with what seemed to be the right balance of teaching/caring.” McDonald seems to have nailed the perfect approach.

Each team member begins a competitive climb in an isolation room, or “iso” as they call it so that they don’t have access to the wall before climbing.  Not knowing what obstacles you might encounter on the way up can cause anxiety, fear and lack of confidence.  McDonald uses her calming nature and confidence-building techniques to prepare the climber.  A reference shared that her “climbers always seem the calmest, most self-assured, most ready to take on the challenges that await them when they come out of “iso” “because of her coaching technique.”

McDonald came to New York from Nashville to attend Fordham University with a love for climbing and was looking for a gym where she could teach so that she could climb for free.  After a very short time observing her coach, they asked her to run the gym and she has been there 13 years now. McDonald looks forward to coming into work every single day and enjoys the many challenges the sport presents.

When McDonald tells climbers at try-outs that she expects them to be “winners”, she often gets weird looks from them thinking that she is concerned only with winning.  What she really means is that “she expects all of her climbers to have an absolute love for climbing and that they will give their best effort always, constantly seek ways to learn every day and that they’ll manage their mistakes well, and be willing to make them,” much like PCA’s “ELM” tree of mastery: giving your best Effort, Learning and improvement, and bouncing back from Mistakes.

Darrell Johnson, Executive Director of Positive Coaching Alliance – NYC said of McDonald,  She has a unique ability to connect with her climbers off-the-wall that builds trust and confidence that they then translate to competitions, as well as other aspects of their lives.  Her climbers all respect and admire her, often striving to model themselves after how she interacts with others.  The success of the Team Rock program is driven in large part through the culture of caring that Meghan has built amongst teammates.”

About Positive Coaching Alliance

Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) develops BETTER ATHLETES, BETTER PEOPLE through resources for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. In addition to more than 1,800 free multimedia tips and tools at, PCA has partnered with roughly 3,500 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver more than 20,000 live group workshops, along with online courses and books by PCA Founder Jim Thompson that help those involved in youth and high school sports create a positive, character-building youth sports culture.

PCA resources, which have reached more than 8.6 million youth, strive to transform high school and youth sports into a Development Zone® culture, where the goal is to develop Better Athletes, Better People and the following become the prevailing models in youth and high school sports:

·       The Double-Goal Coach®, who strives to win while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.

·       The Second-Goal Parent®, who concentrates on life lessons, while letting coaches and athletes focus on competing.

·       The Triple-Impact Competitor®, who strives to impact sport on three levels by improving oneself, teammates and the game as a whole.

PCA gains support from a National Advisory Board, including National Spokesperson and 11-time NBA Champion Coach Phil Jackson, and many other top coaches, athletes, organization leaders and academics who share PCA’s mission. PCA is proud to partner with the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and over 35 professional teams across the United States.

List of national winners of PCA’s 2019 Double-Goal Coach Award Presented by TeamSnap.

Casey Miller
Director of External Relations
(650) 210-0814