Southwestern Youth Association Sports

Positive Coaching Alliance Update: Maintaining Support For A Coach During A Losing Season

This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"Our U9 competitive soccer team has a model PCA Double-Goal Coach, but the majority of parents are struggling with our lack of wins. They chose competitive over rec in many cases because they don't want their kids on losing sides. The most competitive parents have said that their kids come home demoralized by the losses but my daughter seems able to take the losses in stride and still enjoy the games. How can I keep the parents supportive of our Double-Goal Coach?"

Support for a Coach During a Losing SeasonPCA Response by Jim Thompson (@JimThompson18), PCA Executive Director
As a lone parent who recognizes the value of the situation your child is in, you have to be thoughtful about how to try to make the situation better. Here are some thoughts:

  1. Continue to reinforce your daughter's effort and notice her improvement. Don't let others' "Eeyore reactions" color yours.
  2. Reinforce the coach for his Double-Goal Coaching. Tell him you appreciate his positive approach and let him know your daughter is having a good experience.
  3. Give him a copy of PCA's Script and Talking Points for the ELM Tree of Mastery -- E for effort, L for learning and M for bouncing back from mistakes. Download it here Tell him, "I think you'll really like this material from Positive Coaching Alliance because it is in line with your coaching style."
  4. Seed your conversations with other parents with comments like: “I really like Positive Coaching Alliance’s focus on the ELM Tree of Mastery. E for effort, L for learning and M for bouncing back from mistakes. You know the research shows that focusing on mastery rather than the scoreboard produces more wins in the long run.” Distribute copies of the ELM Script & Talking Points to them as well.
  5. Stand up for the coach with other parents. “I know it’s hard to lose so many games, but I really appreciate Coach’s positive approach. I want my daughter to love soccer and want to play again next year. I think we’re lucky to have him for our girls.”
  6. Cheer other kids on your team for their effort. This is good for them and it will endear you to other parents. To a parent, no one is as smart as the person who recognizes their child’s good points!


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