By Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Dr. Jeff Davis
This past April the Spartan Boosters made a financial commitment to bring the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) program to La Canada High School for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years and in just a few short months it appears the PCA program has already started to make an impact on our coaches and student-athletes. LCHS Athletic Director, Mrs. Kristina Kalb, who first approached the Spartan Boosters about bringing PCA to LCHS says “PCA has given our athletic department tools and tips to take an already good program and launch us into the great category”.
PCA has partnered with over 3,500 schools and youth groups nationwide over the years and feature several prominent athletes and coaches on their National Advisory Board, such as the 11-time NBA Champion Coach Phil Jackson, World Cup Soccer Champion Brandi Chastain, LA Clippers and NBA Champion Coach Doc Rivers, and former USC All-American and NFL Hall of Fame member Ronnie Lott. However, the true power of PCA comes from its mission of striving to transform high school and youth sports into a Development Zone Culture and its goal of developing “Better Athletes, Better People”.
PCA’s Ray Lokar, a former acclaimed high school basketball coach at Bishop Amat High School, has been working with LCHS for the past six months. He led a Leadership Workshop in June with school administrators, a Double-Goal Coach Workshop in August with all LCHS coaches, and a Triple-Impact Competitor Workshop for over 600 student-athletes in November. The Leadership Workshop provided an overview of the program for site leaders and gave them a road map of where the program would lead the LCHS coaches, student-athletes, and parents. The Double-Goal workshop focused on shaping a positive culture from the top down and looking at a coach as one who strives to win, yet pursues the more important goal of teaching life lessons. The Triple-Impact student-athlete workshop focused on communicating to the students that their goal is to be Better Athletes-Better People each day, and that they not only need to improve their own skills each day, but also help their teammates improve and to respect the sport they play through competitive fair play and “Honoring the Game”. The next workshop scheduled is the Second-Goal Parent workshop which will be held after the winter break. Mrs. Kalb has also been working with the students on the LCHS Athletic Leadership Council to pass on the teachings of PCA to their respective teams and teammates. Ian McFeat, La Canada High School Principal, is very positive about the outcomes that he is seeing from PCA. McFeat states, “PCA is a growth mindset for the soul of the school. It is the ‘how to’ of positivity and the steps one needs to transform athletics. PCA allows schools to build programs that validate hard work and effort, that celebrate divergent skills, and that honor perseverance and grit. We at LCHS believe in the power of PCA”.
LCHS coaches have been implementing the lessons and strategies from the coaches’ workshop and from the book they each received “Developing Better Athletes, Better People”. Nicole Davidson, Girls Varsity Water Polo coach, states, “The PCA is an incredible resource and support network for coaches. It provides high quality research in the best practices of leadership and mentoring of young athletes. Most importantly, PCA provides inspiration, perspective, reassurance, and assistance that enables coaches to guide student-athletes through pivotal times in their lives, and also instruct on the life lessons that are learned in sport. I am incredibly grateful to the LCUSD for providing the quality training and partnership for our athletic department”. LCHS Boys Varsity Water Polo Coach Josh Rodriguez says, “I think it’s extremely important for both athletes and coaches to be on the same page and the PCA program really gives perspective into each other’s realms, which really allows coaches to become better role models. He adds, “La Canada High School’s strive for excellence is second to none and the PCA sets the standard for all coaches in the San Gabriel Valley”.
As we move forward to second semester and the further implementation of PCA, Mrs. Kalb describes how PCA ties into many things that we are already committed to in our district. “The values of the PCA program, centered on 'Better Athletes-Better People' and 'We Honor the Game Here', go hand in hand with the LCHS values of building growth mindsets in our students and the Challenge Success program. We have already seen positive results in many ways since its implementation over the summer. I know we will continue to see even more results as our time with the program progresses”.