Scottish FA / West Lothian Council

Positive Coaching Scotland

What is Positive Coaching Scotland?

Positive Coaching Scotland is based on a highly successful US model which was developed at Stanford University in 1998 to combat escalating health and social problems. Since then, it has been used by over 1,100 sports organisations, has influenced over four million young people, and is helping to create a positive sporting culture in the United States of America through the Positive Coaching Alliance.

In Scotland, a pilot of the programme was rolled out across several local authority areas and Scottish governing bodies of sport. Since this pilot, the PCS programme has evolved and is now delivered by a variety of partners across the country.


Positive Coaching Scotland’s vision is a football culture in Scotland where young players are developed in a positive, safe environment, where they learn to win through effort and where valuable life lessons are developed. Through the Positive Coaching Scotland programme we are driving change.

Positive Coaching Scotland gives all involved in the game the tools to develop happy, successful, confident, and respectful young people. PCS want players to win, just not at all costs, and they want them to stay involved in the game through to adulthood.

Unfortunately, across all levels of the youth game, coaches focused on winning at all costs, irresponsible parents piling pressure on their children, violence on the touchline and disrespect for officials have become far too common. Therefore, it’s no surprise a high proportion of players are lost to football at a young age and we aren’t producing enough high performing players. Coaches, parents, volunteers, officials and players alike, let’s work together to change our culture.


The PCS programme is a double goal strategy:

The first goal is teaching young people vital, character building skills through football. Skills that will equip them for life.

The second goal is winning. Learning to compete effectively is a necessity in all areas of life. We want to win, just not at all costs, but through applying concerted effort to achieve set goals.

We use three key principles:

Honour Our Game

Teach everyone involved how to honour their team-mates, opponents, the rules, officials, and themselves.

Redefine Winning

Move the focus from the scoreboard to succeeding and winning through effort.

Fill the emotional tank

Build a young player’s confidence, motivation and resilience.

Call to action

So, now you know about the objectives of Positive Coaching Scotland how do you get on board?

Well, for instance, if you enrol on a Scottish FA coaching course then the principles of PCS and the tools to help you deliver them are taught through the course.

Or, if you, or your child play for a Scottish FA Quality Mark accredited club, or you are a coach, parent or volunteer at one, then the chances are you will have been offered a place on a PCS workshop. PCS run separate workshops for coaches, club leaders, parents and players. If you haven’t heard about PCS workshops, then please ask your club to get in touch with us.

Also, all coaches delivering Scottish FA community courses as well as coaches attending the National Player Pathway workshops will have been exposed to the principles and tools of PCS.

And, soon PCS will be offering workshops to SYFA and SWF clubs, and running drop in workshops through the Scottish FA regions.

For more information on Positive Coaching Scotland please visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/football.cfm?page=2597