For over 20 years, PCA has focused on providing a positive, equitable, and accessible youth sports experience for all kids.

  • PCA's coach education approach is strongly rooted in decades of research about how to provide positive youth development (PYD) environments for youth, and what needs to happen for them to develop social emotional learning (SEL) skills for life
  • PCA's Sports Equity Initiative employs a collective impact approach & systems change framework. Grounded in well-recognized best practices, our programs address barriers to participation in marginalized communities, enhancing equitable youth sports access
  • PCA has been collecting data for a long time that shows our approach has impact
  • PCA collects data to learn, to show impact, and to maintain quality control

The focus of our data collections efforts is to determine whether or not adults, in our case, coaches, are exhibiting the kind of behavior it takes to manifest a positive youth development (PYD) environment where social-emotional learning can take place for young people, and on how effective PCA is at developing these behaviors in adults, as well as in the organizations and communities in which they live and work.  Additionally, PCA rigorously evaluates the impact of our Sports Equity Initiative on racial/gender equity and sports participation using varied metrics.

Our data collection efforts primarily focus on understanding if adults, particularly coaches, are fostering a positive youth development (PYD) environment that allows for the growth of social-emotional learning in young individuals. We also assess the efficacy of PCA's role in nurturing these behaviors within coaches, organizations, and communities. Complementing this, we conduct a rigorous evaluation of the impact of our Sports Equity Initiative, specifically measuring its influence on racial/gender equity and the overall increase in sports participation.

PCA’s data indicate that as a result of PCA programs and initiatives:

exhibit increased teamwork, confidence, resilience, persistence, empathy, ability to bounce back from mistakes, and become more physically active.

exhibit the behaviors necessary for positive youth development and social emotional learning to take place (as identified by the well-established research on this topic that can be found at Coaches also increase their focus on using sports to teach life skills, feel more prepared in specific ways to use tools and techniques with their players to improve their resilience, their sportsmanship, and their character on and off the field.

see their cultures become more positive. In addition, schools working with PCA on closing the sports equity gap see a significant increase in the number of BIPOC students participating in sports and the number of positive youth sports opportunities available.

show increased quality sports opportunities for under resourced youth, and parents feel more connected to their child's school and their community.


Over the last 25 years PCA and external evaluators have collected data from thousands of coaches, youth, and youth sports leaders about the impact of our programming. Here are some of our evaluations and reports that show the impact of our work:


Youth develop SEL skills because of the environments that adults create, and this is why PCA focuses on adult behavior in this realm, to make sure those environments are developing and being sustained.  We rely on the well-established research regarding what adults need to do to enable social emotional learning to take place. PCA was founded on the principles from that research. An overview of the research base and approach to PYD, as well as some supporting articles, can be found here, and here.

The widely accepted eight key elements for fomenting PYD are listed below, and are the foundation of our work.

Social emotional learning (SEL) skill development and implementation has been heavily studied. An overview of what it takes to develop SEL skills in youth, as well as foundational research can be found at CASEL provides one of the most widely adopted frameworks for SEL in the country. PCA's programming has strong links to the CASEL framework; a summary of how PCA programming explicitly links to social emotional learning is here.


At PCA, our commitment to sports equity is deeply ingrained in evidence-based models and frameworks. Our approach hinges on the conviction that the entirety of our youth sports ecosystem can collaborate to form an inclusive, equitable, and universally accessible sporting milieu. Here's a closer look at the foundational principles of our Sports Equity Initiative:

Our work is rooted in this model's structured alignment towards equity-driven social transformation. By adhering to its five conditions—like Shared Measurement and Continuous Communication—we synergistically tackle sports equity challenges in historically marginalized communities.
This underpins our ethos. By applying recognized community engagement best practices, we foster collaborations, cultivate partnerships, and channel resources, all aimed at mitigating the sports equity gap faced by the youth, particularly in low-income communities of color.
Our strategy includes the use of the CoP model. We harness the collective concern and dedication of various stakeholders, focusing their energies on the sports equity challenges in low-income communities. This model fosters shared learning, the development of innovative strategies and practices, catalyzing meaningful change.
This is our compass. With tools designed for introspection and inclusivity, we ensure our actions resonate with cultural sensitivity and inclusiveness. Grounded in the pioneering work of Dr. Terry Cross and Dr. Randall Lindsey, our strategies emphasize equitable outreach and impact.
We address sports equity not as isolated challenges but as systemic concerns. Recognizing that societal issues are often tethered to underlying conditions, we employ Systems Change Theory. Our focus is holistic, targeting the root causes and aiming for lasting transformations.

PCA staff would be happy to share more and answer any questions you may have about our impact.