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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2006 > Coach's Box - March 2006 > Positive Coaching - March 2006

Positive Coaching - March 2006


Volume I, No. 3

   March 2006


In Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coaching Tip 1: The Mistake Ritual
by Jim Thompson
Positive Coaching Alliance

Welcome to Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal CoachingTM Tips. This regular feature in Little League publications draws from training presented in partnership with Little League Baseball and Softball by Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a Stanford University-based non-profit dedicated to ensuring a positive, character-building experience for all youth athletes. A Double-Goal Coach has two goals: to Win (goal #1) and the more important goal (#2) of using baseball to teach positive life lessons.

Since 1998 nearly 100 Little League organizations have partnered locally with PCA to provide additional educational resources and tools to their Coaches, Administrators and Parents. Here’s what one Little League President has to say about his league’s experience with PCA:

We recently conducted the two hour Leadership workshop with our board of directors members and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Our next move is to deliver a mandatory manager, coach and team rep clinic that will cover approximately 120 of our volunteers with direct relationships to our youth athletes. The PCA philosophy adds a structured format to the best coaching techniques that you have seen on the field, which allows a league to improve the consistency of quality coaching throughout the league by applying common terms, philosophy framework, and tools."

~ Mike Tidd - President, Saratoga Little League

This issue’s Double-Goal Coaching tip is the “Mistake Ritual.” Mistakes are a necessary part of learning and a part of all sports. Just ask Bill Buckner, who had a Hall of Fame calibre career but remains best known for an error in the 1986 World Series.

In youth baseball, of course, errors are even more common. Little League and PCA believe it is important to learn from mistakes. In fact, we use an acronym, ELM, to represent the three most-important values of a positive youth sports culture: Effort, Learning and bouncing back from Mistakes.

The Mistake Ritual helps a whole team bounce back from the initial disappointment of a mistake. One version is the “flushing” ritual, where players make the arm motion of flushing a toilet to “flush” the mistake out of their system and move on to the task at hand. Another version is the “no sweat” ritual, where players make the motion of wiping sweat from their foreheads and casting it aside.

These rituals are helpful even at the highest levels of baseball. California State University-Fullerton sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, a member of PCA’s National Advisory Board, introduced the flushing ritual to the Titans, which helped spur the team to a recent College World Series Championship!

Coaches should participate, as well, both to model behavior for the players and to reassure them the mistake really has been flushed. The mistake ritual can be a lot of fun for young players and it helps player and coaches succeed.

Look for another Double-Goal Coaching Tip in the next Coach’s Box. Until then, identify a mistake ritual for the coming season!

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