Development Zone®


PCA Resource Center

High School Sports Parents Filling Their Athletes' Emotional Tanks

Share This Resource

Athletes perform best when they receive their parents' unconditional support and genuine praise. Positive Coaching Alliance calls that Filling Emotional Tanks. Like the gas tank of a car, an emotional tank that's full can take people a long way, but on an empty tank we go nowhere.

Parents, can fill their children's emotional tanks with truthful, specific praise, encouragement and positivity. In the PDF below you’ll find examples of tank drainers and tank fillers. Research has shown that the optimal ratio of tank-fillers to criticisms is 5 to 1. The printout can help you see your current baseline for that ratio when commenting on performance or even displaying non-verbal cues as a spectator (as well as how you react in non-sport situations).

Of course, criticism and correction is necessary, and here are some proven ways of helping your athlete hear and accept your feedback:

  • Avoid non-teachable moments
  • Criticize in private
  • Ask permission
  • If-then statements
  • Criticism sandwich.

Further explanation of these strategies are included in the excerpt found below.

**This PDF was excerpted from PCA Founder Jim Thompson’s (@JimThompson18) book The High School Sports Parent. To purchase the entire book, and to learn more about other PCA books, click here.

These books are used in PCA’s live workshops. To learn more about our interactive parent workshops, click here.**

Download the Excerpt

  • Type: PDF Document
  • Size: 722 KB
Download the PDF