Interscholastic sports provide community-building and teamwork experiences for athletes, coaches, parents, and fans alike. This school year, a new MFS partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) will continue to reinforce these outcomes through workshops, discussions, and professional development.

Athletic Director Danielle Dayton began working with PCA in Winter 2017. Over the course of the 2017-18 school year, visiting PCA trainers met with all Middle and Upper School coaches to explain the Alliance’s mission. Now, PCA is hosting interactive presentations for MS and US students to discuss topics like leadership and inclusivity.

“Their philosophy directly aligns with Moorestown Friends’ philosophy,” Dayton says. “Our coaches do an amazing job at supporting our student-athletes, pushing them in all the right ways to try to be their best team collectively. But I really feel like partnering with PCA gives the coaches some validation that we’re on the right track with what we’re doing.”

The Middle School presentation on September 11 included a Q&A session and activities involving questions about sportsmanship. In one case, the visiting PCA trainer provided scenarios (for example, a disputed goal or on-field argument) and four possible solutions. Students stood at four corners of the auditorium based on which outcome they felt was best for the hypothetical soccer team. This led to further discussions, with the PCA trainer calling on several student-athletes to explain their opinions.

“I think the more student-athletes hear, whether it be from coaches or outside groups, the more it clicks,” Dayton says. “For coaches, it also opens up space for dialogue on getting new ideas and keeping it fresh.”

In addition to regular workshops and guest speakers, Dayton plans to roll out online resources for families and fans. PCA has a large collection of books and articles that emphasize its “double-goal mission” of teaching life lessons both on and off the field; several of these feature discussion points for parents and spectators.

“We have a great fan turnout at MFS,” Dayton says. “We need to continue to support our fans, too. They have a role and they have responsibility.”