School offers program that teaches positive reinforcement to coaches


Coach Emily Chrisman gives advice and positive encouragement to her players. The positive coaching alliance has made an impact on how she interacts with her players.

Max Feldman, Bear Facts Contributor

Many student-athletes may feel pressure from their sport programs to perform well, and the pressure can even cause them to stop enjoying the game. But one program is trying to put the fun and positivity back into sports. reinforcement 

The Positive Coaching Alliance is a national organization dedicated to making that happen, according to their official website. The program came to the school just last year and since then has taught coaches to pursue winning and a positive environment for their players, the athletic director says. Students use this positive reinforcement to not only influence their athletics but also their everyday lives. Andrew Lambert, athletic director, says the implementation of the positive coaching alliance has made an impact on student athletes.

“Positive coaching makes sure the student gets the best coaching system possible, it works with the communication of our student athletes, and deals with the social and emotional wellness of student athletes. The football team, for example, had workshops and discussions [about it] and they took a lot out of this,” Lambert said. “[The Positive Coaching Alliance] is reinforcing what a lot of our parents and coaches have already believed, but it’s not just one person saying it. It’s not the athletic director saying it, it’s not the coach saying it, it’s an organization that has credible speakers, and this really makes a difference,”

Coaches say they have changed the way they interact with players, and also say that with the support of an organization, students are taking this positive reinforcement to heart.

“It’s making me think more, and making me think about doing things that will help promote team spirit and help my athletes. I’m making sure I’m communicating well with my players as well as their parents so we are all on the same page and working or playing effectively,” Emily Chrisman, Boys JV tennis coach, said. “I think that it’s always a good thing to have positive reinforcement and encourage them. It keeps their spirits high, especially in tennis which is a mental game, and helps them keep going. While negative reinforcement could cause players to perform more poorly and they could lose the game,”

Some students that have experienced negative reinforcement say that a coach with a positive mindset is the best thing for the team, and negative thoughts can often result in a loss of the game. Abby DeGustino, freshman varsity soccer player, says that with this positive reinforcement, her coach has helped her lead a more successful life in athletics and much more.

“When I get positive reinforcement I feel more empowered, and I want to get better at what I’m doing when I have positive reinforcement, while if someone is negative I can’t do anything at all. If you’re not respectful to the players, the players won’t respect you, so if I or any other teammate get a negative comment, we will play worse,” DeGustino said. “Academically I feel like I work a lot better in groups now that I’m part of a positive team environment. Also I’m better at being respectful to teachers and other adults in the school. Then, socially I feel like I can branch out to more people and put myself out there.”

Friends and family say that ever since these student athletes began playing sports, their lives seem more put together: socially, academically, as well as physically. Martha Montoya, a mother of a freshman student athlete, says that ever since her daughter began playing a sport, she has led a more healthy life.

“When she comes home she’s happier than before, more bubbly. High school is a stressful time, and if her coach and her team help her relax it’s the best thing for her,” Montoya said. “She, much like many other kids in a sport, belongs to something. A community that makes her feel welcome and content, and that’s all I could ask for.”