parent coach timeout meeting, parents coaches timeout meeting, PCT meeting, youth sports problems, kid sports, youth sports, coaching youth, parent coach
PCT Meeting, Parents Coaches Meeting The PCT Meeting
Phone: 203-234-1404  Email:
Home Overview Parents Org-Leaders Kids PCT Details Resources Contact

The Process

The PCT process revolves around a periodic meeting run by the head Coach and optionally attended by Parents and Observers. The meeting is followed by a brief written response by the Head Coach.

The meeting has specific Ground Rules, Roles, Boundaries and Tasks. The Tasks are duties or responsibilities related to a specific Role. The Head Coach, for example, executes on the Task to start the meeting on time, while those in the Parent role are required to execute on the Task of answering questions. Those in the Role of Observer have a responsibility to remain silent and not speak during the meeting.

All attendees at a PCT meeting take up specific Roles and have associated Tasks. These Tasks are responsibilities and duties associated with a given Role. You may wish to examine the Glossary of Terms as a starting point for study of PCT.

Glossary of PCT Terms- The list of terms used to describe and discuss the PCT process.

Frequently Asked Questions- The list of questions commonly asked by Coach and parents.

The Parent / Coach Communication Problem

Why bother with the PCT at all? Because there is a problem, and the entire problem is this: Most teams have one Parent group meeting at the start of the year. From there, the season begins and there are no more Parent group meetings scheduled ! Meanwhile, the season grinds on, generating a very large but unmet need for Coaches and Parents to engage in ongoing, 2-way communication.

If you are new to Youth Sports, you may find this description ridiculous, and very hard to believe. But, believe it or not, this is what actually happens.

If you have experience as a Coach or Parent, you know that this is the way it actually is.

How does this happen?

Coaches rationally avoid meeting with Parents as a group, for many reasons. The chief reason is that the meeting can become a 'gripe session' where Coaches feel attacked and potentially, unappreciated. Since most Coaches are not 'managers', they end up avoiding any meeting with a group of Parents during the season.

But- this avoidance leads to all sorts of dysfunctional behavior as the season grinds on. The lack of communication can and does become standard operating procedure- with predictable results. With no real communication between Parents and Coaches at the group level, both groups fail the Kids. Taken to extremes, individual Parents may even 'give up' on approaching the Coach about anything at all. Kids end up in the middle. It does not have to be this way. This lack of communication fails the Kids.

What is needed is a set of ground rules under which Coaches and Parents may periodically meet and communicate. From there, a shared understanding between Parents and Coaches can develop. Once that shared understanding develops, the Kids can relax as Coach and Parent start saying the same thing to the Kid. The Kid can take up the single, simple Role of Player and JUST PLAY THE GAME.

This is the entire objective of the PCT-- and what the PCT meeting process is all about. The Parents / Coaches TImeout is a tool for Coaches to effectively communciate with the Parent group.



When you implement the PCT, you may experience:

o Coaches paying more attention to the Parent group

o Parents who act as a team, and self-organize around preparing for and attending the next PCT meeting

o Coaches who exhibit a much more adaptive style of coaching than previously

o Players who become more relaxed and have more fun playing organized sports

o Players who advance skills more rapidly than previously

o Individual Parents who tend to get more engaged in volunteer activities inside the Organization

o An Organization that is steadlly growing

o A tendency for individual Parents to perceive Team-level concerns as FAR more important that any one individual Player-level concern

o Player teams that are highly adaptive and execute better in game situations

o Parents groups who become highly adaptive and better at helping the entire Player team evolve

o An Organization that is highly adaptive and better aligning overall efforts with intended overall results

Parents/Coaches Timeout Meeting Executive Summary

The PCT Process is simple, and simple to describe:

0. Coaches schedule the recurring meeting at a convenient, recurring time, in the same place every time for the entire season.

1. Head Coach conducts PCT meeting in accordance with the the PCT Roles, Tasks and Boundaries listed below. Other participants in other Roles agree in advance to absolutely honor the PCT meeting Ground Rules, and to do the simple Tasks related to the Role they assume during attendance.

2. Meeting is limited to 25 minutes, and starts and ends strictly on time. Head Coach asks three specific questions to the Parent group:

a) What is going well with the team?

b) What is NOT going well with the team?

c) What are the obstacles the team faces between now and the next meeting?

3. Parents respond in whatever way they choose, consistent with Ground Rules and Parent role boundaries (listed below)

4. Meeting is over when all Head Coach questions have been answered, or the 25 minutes is up.

5. Within 24 hours, Head Coach issues a written response (called Followup) about the meeting, and distributes it to attendees. This is usually an email.

This process repeats on a predictable, known schedule throughout the season.

The PCT process acts as a hub, a hub that provides periodic, actionable feedback to all the agents in the system:




People may participate in only ONE of 6 roles when attending the PCT. When they attend, they are formally in one (and only one) of the following formal roles in the PCT process:

Head Coach: The single person with final authority concerning Coaching decisions for the team

Assistant Coach(es):One or more qualified persons who are authorized by the Head Coach to formally assist the Head Coach in coaching the team

Parent(s): Any natural parent or step-parent with a Player on the team

Team Captain(s): Players who have been elected Captain(s) of the team.

Observers: Any adult person who is explicitly authorized by the Head Coach to attend.

Facilitator: A person to whom the Head Coach confers authority to maintain the integrity of the process and administer the PCT Ground Rules, Roles, Tasks and Boundaries during the PCT meeting.

Facilitators are used only in rare cases where Head Coach has difficulty maintaining PCT process Ground Rules and associated Roles, Tasks, and Boundaries (see below)

NOTE: No other Roles are defined in the PCT process and each participant in any one meeting may occupy and act in one and ONLY one Role. This means that an Assistant Coach with a Kid in the program may not switch to Parent Role in the middle of the meeting. This means a Organization President has no defined role in the PCT meeting except as a Head Coach, Assistant Coach, Parent, Observer or Facilitator. He or she must assume one of these roles and honor the Boundaries of that Role (and perform the Tasks associated with that Role) to participate in the meeting.

These are ALL the roles and there are no other Roles available in the PCT process.

NOTE: This also means there is no role of "Child" defined in the PCT. This is important to note if you choose to allow Team Captain(s) to participate. If a Captain attends while his Parent is also attending, the Kid may feel a need to navigate the Child and Captain role simultaneously. This is the reason for one of the important Parent boundaries listed below.

Detailed PCT Ground Rules for All Roles:

0. The meeting occurs at the same time in the same place periodically. For example "at 8:30PM, after every Thursday practice weeks 2 and 4 of that month". The process absolutely requires a regularly scheduled, recurring meeting that occurs every "N" intervals of time throughout the season. For example, every 2 weeks or every Wednesday evening.

1. When one person is speaking, all must listen until that person is done speaking.

2. No person may join the meeting after the meeting starts. The meeting officially starts when the door is closed by the Head Coach. When the door is closed, no additional attendees are permitted to enter.

3. Head Coach asks the 3 questions:

a) What is going well with the team?

b) What is NOT going well with the team?

c) What are the obstacles the team faces between now and the next meeting?

4. Meeting is 25 minutes in duration. Meeting is over when 25 minutes is up, and/or all 3 questions from Head Coach are answered by Parents.

5. Except for emergencies, no person in attendance may exit the meeting unless the Head Coach dismisses them (per the PCT process) or the Head Coach opens the door and leaves; indicating the meeting is over.

6. If a Team Captain attends a PCT meeting, none of his Parents may also attend that meeting. This protects the Kid from the difficult position of being placed in a dual role situation (both Team Captain, and Child at the same time) When Team Captains are participating, there is a risk of placing a Kid in two Roles at once: The role of Team Captain, and role of Child. Note that the Child role is not a Role defined in the PCT Process.

7. No attendee participating in a specific Role may implicitly (through behavior) or explicitly (through verbal declaration) switch out of, or into, any other role of any kind during a PCT meeting. This means for example, that an participant in the Assistant Coach Role cannot answer questions Head Coach questions that are answerable only in Parent or Team Captain Role. This for example also means Board members and Org Leaders who attend as Parents must stay in Parent Role for the duration of the meeting. Participants who may take up multiple roles in the Organization are expected to self-police their own behavior regarding Role, during a PCT meeting. If necessary the Head Coach may step in and administer Role boundaries.


Detailed Roles, Task and Boundaries Descriptions for all PCT Meeting Participants

Head Coach Role: Tasks and Boundaries

Assistant Coach Role: Tasks and Boundaries

Parent Role: Tasks and Boundaries

Team Captain Role: Tasks and Boundaries

Facilitator Role: Tasks and Boundaries

Observer Role: Tasks and Boundaries


PCT Meeting and Assigned Seating Zones

Seating is very important as it provides important signals and messaging about Role and associated commitment to team. The PCT Process defines specific Seating Zones:

The PCT Meeting: Seating Zones Explained


Generating and using PCT Feedback Loops Across the Entire Organization

The PCT can be used to actively solicit and collect feedback from all teams in the entire organization. If the recurring PCT meeting for all teams is held during weeks 2 and/or 4 in each month, the organization can run a meeting on weeks 1 and/or 3 of the month with all the Head Coaches. During this meeting the Organization can get an immediate sense of what is working and what is not across the entire system. At a minimum the Organization leader can review the written Followup from each Head Coach to get a sense of the dynamics at play on each team.

Glossary of PCT Terms- The list of terms used to describe and discuss the PCT process.

Frequently Asked Questions- The list of questions commonly asked by Coach and parents.

Are you using the PCT Process in your Youth Sports organization? Please contact me and tell me more-- I am keenly interested in receiving a report of your experience with the PCT Process.