Expert weighs in on the importance of building a positive youth sports culture


Seventy-percent of kids quit playing sports by the age of 14 because it just isn’t fun anymore.

That’s according to Positive Coaching Alliance, an organization dedicated to creating a positive, character-building youth sports culture.

Trainer Kiha Pimental says emotions in athletic can run high.

“I know that it can feel like life or death, but when we can step back and see that it’s just a game, and it’s a place for athletes to grow, and a place for all of us to become aware,” said Pimental.

Whether it be club volleyball, basketball, or football, if you have a child who plays sports, you know it can be a grind.

Trainers with Positive Coaching Alliance focus on three primary issues: the roles of players, coaches, and parents.

For coaches, they say it’s about winning, but also sportsmanship and teaching life lessons.

For players, it’s about competition and learning life those lessons through athletics.

For parents, it’s about supporting the kids while they learn those life lessons.

“It’s a systems approach. All parts of it need to be in harmony with each other to make this work,” Pimental said.

Pimental says the old style of screaming and yelling and intimidating players in to performing is no longer applicable in today’s world.

For the Positive Coaching Alliance, the mission is to create an environment that allows all athletes to a positive, character-building experience that results in better people.

And when you need to choose between winning and those life lessons, “we would choose the life lessons,” Pimental said. “Especially youth sports, because in the long run, that’s what makes the difference. If it’s about the winning, it’s more about me as a coach. If it’s about the life lessons, then the focus is on the child, that I really am coaching a life, not a sport.”

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