PCA has been conducting SEL training for the past 20 years and trained over 100,000 Coaches.

In a new study, research demonstrates sports-based youth development programs foster significantly more social and emotional learning(SEL) than non-sport after-school programs.

What is SEL? CASEL, a leader in SEL, defines SEL as "the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions."

The full research study, “Sports-based Youth Development: Hitting a Home Run in Social and Emotional Learning Outcomes,” provides more information on demographics, methodology, and the role coaches play in this process can be viewed by clicking the link below.



Learn more about CASEL’s research-practice-policy partnership approaches that advance ways that SEL supports equitable learning environments and optimal developmental outcomes for diverse children, adolescents, and adults.

To learn more, go to www.casel.org/impact.

And while Youth Sports can be a catalyst for the development of SEL Skills, the outcomes are not guaranteed.

According to Susan Crown Exchange

Put simply, sports can help kids thrive both in and out of the classroom. But these outcomes are not guaranteed—especially in a youth sports culture that over-values specialization, social comparison, and winning from early ages. Only 38% of kids ages 6-12 played team or individual sports on a regular basis in 2018, down from 45% in 2008. Kids are burning out—and parents report that coaches can be the highest source of pressure.[2]

Much like a teacher inside a classroom, a coach plays a vital role in a child’s experience. Research demonstrates that adults significantly influence children’s social and emotional development. Young people who identify at least one supportive adult within their social networks achieve better outcomes across a range of academic, behavioral, and health indicators.[3] For kids who play sports, a good coach can be a transformational figure.

However, being a caring adult is not enough. Beyond building sport-specific skills, coaching requires a nuanced skillset that is developed through ongoing training and professional development. When coaches do not have appropriate training, it can have dire consequences.[4] For instance, a 1992 seminal study found that when coaches received training in effective communication with kids, only 5% of children chose not to play the sport again, as compared to a 26% attrition rate with untrained coaches.[5]

Life lessons are not implicit and youth don’t learn them simply by playing. Coaches must know how to embed those lessons into the activities that engage youth where they are.

o take advantage of the many resources PCA offers with SEL training, we highly recommend taking any of our online courses for coaches, parents, student-athletes, and administrators.

All of our online resources and tools offer a way to make sure that as sports continue to reopen, they are done right. 

In more than two decades of work, PCA expanded from a small local nonprofit to a strong, nationwide organization that provides programming in all 50 states, reaching thousands of organizations around the country and positively impacting millions of youth athletes every year.

To learn more about bringing PCA's coach training or other resources for parents, athletes and leaders to your organization, click below.

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"The workshop was interactive, user friendly, and very beneficial for our coaching staff. The one aspect we truly enjoyed were the breakout sessions that occurred throughout the workshop. Our coaching staff will be participating in more PCA workshops in the near future."

- Luke Toth, Senior Manager, Cleveland Cavaliers Youth Academy (Ohio)

"Positive Coaching Alliance new online webinars same powerful impact for coach development. The online experience was seamless with multiple prepared presenters, clear slides, individual and breakout room chats. We appreciate PCA’s rapid evolution to provide a safe method and experience for coach development."

- James Charette, Black Hills FC (Seattle)


"The workshops were a hit and we got amazing feedback from membership. Thank you for your time and professionalism over these last few weeks. I look forward to working with you and PCA in the future."

- Drew White, Multnomah Athletic Club, Portland, OR


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