Tools: Double-Goal Coaching Contract

10 Jan

In the spirit that there’s more than one way to achieve a common goal, we’re reprinting a coach’s contract that we found at the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) website. 
The idea behind the contract is that we, as coaches, should teach more than just football skills.  We agree.  We are very much instructors in the lessons of life and how we teach those lessons should be addressed.  That’s not a novel idea, but putting it into writing makes it more than just coachspeak at a meeting with parents.
The suggestions put forth in the contract are, in our opinion, perfectly suited for young players, especially those just starting out in the game.  We think, though, that with older players, like 12-14 year olds, some of the positive reinforcement methods need to be modified to suit the general personality and experience-levels of your team.   
Of course, you don’t have to agree with the good people at PCA but the fact remains that there are some good ideas in the contract which any coach can incorporate into his (or her) leadership style and practice plan — especially if your goal is to teach your kids to be better people as well as players. 
If you like this contract then by all means copy and paste this version and use it in your organization or go to the Positive Coaching Alliance website (  where you’ll find a printable copy under the “Free Tips” tab.
TO:  All Coaches

RE: What We Expect of You
You are the most important person in our organization. You determine the kind of experience our athletes have with sports. We are committed to the principles of Positive Coaching. We expect our coaches to be “Double-Goal Coaches” who want to win and help players learn “life lessons” and positive character traits from sports.
The following is what we expect from you during the coming the season.
1.  Model and teach your players to honor the game.  Teach the elements of ROOTS – Respect for: Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and one’s Self.
• Appoint a parent to be “Culture Keeper” for the team.
• Hold a parent meeting and distribute Parent/Guardian Letter to parents to get them on board with Honoring the Game.
• Drill Honoring the Game in practice.
• Seize teachable moments to talk with players about Honoring the Game.
2.  Help players redefine what it means to be a “Winner” in terms of mastery, not just the scoreboard:
• Teach players the ELM Tree of Mastery (Effort, Learning, and bouncing back from Mistakes).
• Use a “Team Mistake Ritual” (like “Flushing Mistakes”) to help players quickly rebound from mistakes.
• Reward effort, not just good outcomes. Look to recognize players for unsuccessful effort.
• Encourage players to set “Effort Goals” that are tied to how hard they try.
• Use Targeted Symbolic Rewards to reinforce effort and team play.
3.  Fill your players’ Emotional Tanks.
• Use encouragement and positive reinforcement as your primary method of motivating.
• Strive to achieve the “Magic Ratio” of 5 positive reinforcements to each criticism/correction.
• Schedule “fun activities” for practices, so players will enjoy their sport.
• Use the “Buddy System” to teach players to fill each other’s Emotional Tanks.
• Use Player of the Day and Behavior Management Strategies to resource desirable behavior and win cooperation from your players.
• Learn to give “Kid-Friendly Criticism” so players will be able to hear it. Criticize in private, “Ask Permission,” use the Criticism Sandwich, avoid giving criticism in non-teachable moments.
4.  Have Conversations during Team Meetings with your players at every practice and every game.
• Review Honoring the Game, the ELM Tree and the Emotional Tank throughout the season.
• Remind players about these three concepts before and after every game.
• Ask questions and encourage players to speak and contribute during team meetings.
At the end of the season we will survey your players and their parents to give you feedback on how you did at implementing these Positive Coaching principles during the season. We will share the results with you. Thank you for all your time and effort!
Reprinted with permission from Positive Coaching Alliance.  All rights are reserved by them.  They can be visited at


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