Westport Police Athletic League-WPAL is a non-profit organization in Westport, CT. The Police Athletic League (PAL) has been serving the Westport community since 1948. Over 2000 boys and girls participate in Westport PAL youth athletic programs each ye

My my My my

Coaches Qualifications Framework


The Westport PAL Football Coaches’ Committee will utilize the following framework for identifying qualified coaches.  These guidelines are a framework and have been selected to compliment a candidate’s specific football and coaching experience.

The Coaches’ Committee has identified five broad categories that it will use to assess Head Coaching candidates including Communication & Composure, Organization & Process, Leadership & Respect, Commitment, Empathy & Decision Making, Football Playing & Coaching Experience.

All current returning Coaches and prospective candidates will be assessed against these 5 categories in addition to displaying the broad behaviors consistent with the program’s stated mission, goals and philosophy.


Communication & Composure

  • The Coaches will ALWAYS speak to his team and coaches with respect and with the goal of providing instruction and positive examples of:
    • Sportsmanship
    • Teamwork
    • Respect
    • Responsibility & Accountability
    • Hard Work & Commitment
    • Kindness & Brotherhood
    • Community
  • In game behavior exemplifies the BEST sportsmanship first and always, and complies with league and program rules and codes of conduct:
    • Kids are watching - set the right example.
    • Parents are watching, you represent the program and the town.
    • Being “right” is irrelevant - referees do not change their minds and arguing never helps.
    • Body language and tone of voice on the sidelines is closely watched.
  • Coaches must be mature, level headed and articulate enough to speak with parents as a group or individually, especially in the face of adversity. 
    • Communication should occur proactively throughout the entire season.
  • Coaches MUST build a strong and positive relationship with the Board assigned grade rep and team parent to help cultivate efficient lines of communication and community (team/family) participation.
  • Create an “open door” atmosphere with respect to communication with parents, including a proactive and collaborative effort regarding their child’s performance, development or other interpersonal issues, which may need to be addressed.


Organization & Process

  • Coaches must have good organizational skills:
    • Utilize “approved” practice plans. 
    • Teaching agreed upon and accepted program basic skills and prescribed techniques.
  • The Coaches must know and commit to teaching, disseminating and using the designated terminology and playbook (NO EXCEPTIONS)
    • Practice to include progressive learning and repetitions
  • Player evaluations are done fairly and at multiple times during the season
    • Practice reps should include constant personnel rotations to minimize “dead time”.
  • The Coaches must have the time required to:
    • Use HUDL and other technologies in order to better evaluate players and develop appropriate game plans.
    • Hold weekly coaching staff meetings in order to discuss player development, practice goals and plans, personnel and game planning.
  • The Coaches must know and adhere to the FCFL rules for his particular grade.


Leadership & Respect

  • Coaches must be a strong enough leader to earn and maintain the respect of the assistant coaches, players and parents.
    • The ability to delegate and share responsibilities is a must.
    • Empowerment and accountability work well, coaching is a team sport, and involve coaching staff in decisions
  • Coaches must be a culture builder:
    • Encourage and cultivate team building, unity, brotherhood and camaraderie. 
      • On-field and off-field activities and events are encouraged.
    • Build a culture of mutual respect, sportsmanship, brotherhood, hard work and support. 
    • Build a culture that is NOT focused on winning first or at all costs
  • Coachs is ultimately responsible for all the practice field and equipment use and must be a strong delegator to ensure our equipment is taken care of.


Commitment, Empathy & Decision Making

  • Coaches must be the leader and be completely committed to the education and safety of the players and to the success of the program
  • Coaches must be the leader in terms of enforcing safety protocols:
    • Minimize live hitting in practice
    • Match players of equal size and skill during contact drills
  • Coachs must display empathy and understanding around the psyche and behavior of youth football players.
    • Motivate with positive messages and intonation
    • Know how and when to recognize when kids are “down” or vulnerable and be quick to restore balance and a positive environment.
    • Communicate, connect, motivate and reward positive behaviors.  Positive reinforcement of positive behaviors yields positive results!!!
    • NEVER use punishment to teach lessons, and we must work hard to communicate, provide explanations and raise awareness.
  • Seek help and advice from PAL Football President and Coaching chair when dealing with difficult situations.
  • If a parent, the Coach must be able to avoid ALL related conflicts with respect to coaching own child
    • Favoritism and reverse favoritism
    • Direct one on one coaching à have other coaches communicate


Football Playing & Coaching Experience

  • Coaches must have football experience as a player and/or a coach
    • Establish motivation for coaching is 100% based on wanting to help kids learn and enjoy the game, consistent with the framework as described.
  • Coaches must be able to maintain the optimal balance of football knowledge, positive competitive spirit and healthy, positive leadership influence.
  • Coaches must be able to teach in a manner that is consistent with our mission statement and values