Neil Phillips (@neilphillipsnet) was a PCA Trainer and is now Athletic Director at the Landon School in Bethesda, MD. Beyond the roles he takes as educator and coach, Neil is also the Founder and Executive Director of Visible Men, a non-profit organization whose mission is to elevate black boys and men to new heights of achievement.
Here, Phillips writes about how parents, coaches and administrators can maintain a positive culture in youth sports. He lists in order of importance six steps for maintaining culture in a sports program.
Be Proactive. Recognize that positive culture doesn't just happen. Be able to thoroughly answer the question "What do we want our program to stand for?"
Spread the word. Once the elements of the desired culture have been determined, it is imperative that it be communicated clearly to all members of the community.
Recognize the Need for Action. Though very few of us enjoy confrontation, we must prepare ourselves to take appropriate, non-confrontational action when necessary.
Recruit Allies. Communicate with other fans, league administrators, and team parents to build a consensus that something needs to be done.
Rely on stated consequences. To be useful and effective, codes of conduct must clearly and explicitly state the consequences that will follow unacceptable behavior.
Prepare in advance. It’s much easier for us to respond to a situation if we’ve prepared for it. We should think, ahead of time, how we might intervene if the need arises.