Phil Jackson on the Magic Ratio

A Hall of Fame Coach explains the proper ratio of praise to criticism that coaches should give to players.

In this video clip, Jackson talks about the best ratio of specific, truthful positive praise to specific, constructive criticism that coaches should use with their players. Jackson has learned through PCA that the ideal ratio is 5:1 (five positives to each correction), though he admits that his ratio with his players was closer to 3:1.

He laments that even with this ratio, players often hear only the corrections and can become frustrated or angry at themselves and their coaches. It is a constant battle for coaches to stay positive and find new ways to get their players to hear and accept the positives so that they stay open to the occasional need for correction.


Positive Coaching Alliance develops BETTER ATHLETES, BETTER PEOPLE through resources for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. In addition to 1,000+ free audio-video and printable tips and tools, PCA has partnered with roughly 3,000 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver live group workshops, online courses and books that help those involved in youth and high school sports create a positive, character-building youth sports culture.

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