Coaching as Ministry

"This program is so needed in society and something all Catholic coaches and educators should implement. It is the presence of God and living as Christians on the field/court that defines good sportsmanship!" -  A CYO Director

The Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series sees coaching as a youth ministry.  Coaches’ primary role is to serve children to fully develop their human potential as God’s daughters and sons. The ministry of coaching involves protecting the joyful dimension of sports as competitive play and the educational dimension of sports as fostering children;s physical, social, moral, and spiritual development. 

Play Like a Champion staff  prepare leaders in youth sports organizations through the country  to train coaches in their local organization(s). The “Train the Trainer” model allows the expertise of the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series staff to fit with the unique character, size, and identity of particular leagues. Coaching as Ministry clinics train coaches to:​​

  • Make sports fun for all of the players

  • Create a welcoming and inclusive team environment

  • Develop the mind, body, and soul of their players

  • Set mental, physical, and moral goals with young athletes

  • Build a team in which all children feel accepted and cared for 

  • Give children a sense of  ownership and control of their sports experience.

  • Re-define winning as the achievement of team-set goals

  • Build lasting, strong relationships with parents

All Play Like a Champion coach clinics utilize the GROW approach.

Goals + Relationships + Ownership = Winning

 

Using the GROW approach, coaches leave Coaching As Ministry clinics with the preparation required to build a team that succeeds on the field, and to guide young athletes to mature into people with strong moral fiber and healthy lifestyles. Results show that the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series approach to coaching leads to an improved sport experience for all: 

  • Children are happier in sports and stay active for more years in sports.

  • Coaches gain an increased sense of pride in the work they are doing as ministers of the church.

  • Parents report greater satisfaction with their child's youth sports experience.

  • Officials feel respected and appreciated,

  • League administrators enjoy the benefits of having professionally prepared coaches committed to the distinct Catholic mission of their league.

To learn more about your organization working with the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series, contact us today.

Advanced Clinics

Advanced education is available for coaches who have received the original Coaching as Ministry workshop. Our Advanced Clinics expand upon the Play Like a Champion philosophy and provide experienced coaches with ongoing development opportunities. Current Advanced Workshop offerings include:

  • Online Youth Coach Refresher Course - Offering coaches a reminder of the original Coaching as Ministry clinic (2 hours Online).

  • Parents as Partners - Going in depth to offer strategies for maximizing the potential for coaches to develop strong relationships with the parents of their players (1 hour)

  • Effective Coaching Techniques - Exploring the best practices for getting athletes to achieve their athletic potential while ensuring they are having fun and playing fair (1 hour)

  • Sports, Spirituality and Moral Development - Discussing the role that sports play in developing the spirituality and moral sensibility of young athletes (1 hour)

  • Developing Character Through Sports - Providing a framework for coaches to use sports as a teaching tool for imparting important life lessons (1 hour)

USCCE Accredited Program

Play Like a Champion is the only faith based coach education program nationally accredited by the NCACE

 
 
 

Coaching for Character

"The material is top-notch, the message is solid and grounded on facts. Thank you to your entire team to ensure our experience

is 100% first-class." — Clinic Participant

Designed specifically for youth coaches, the Coaching for Character (C4C) clinic emphasizes the character building elements of sports: teamwork, fairness, friendship, perseverance, courage, and leadership. Based on the latest research in the sport science as well as child & sports psychology, the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series offers a one-of-a-kind, interactive clinic to educate coaches on how to foster the full  development of their athletes through building cohesive teams. 

Play Like a Champion staff prepare leaders in youth sports organizations through the country to train coaches in their local organization(s). The “Train the Trainer” model allows the expertise of the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series staff to fit with the unique character, size, and identity of particular leagues. Coaching for Character clinics train coaches to:

  • Make sports fun for all of the players.

  • Create a welcoming and inclusive team environment.

  • Develop the mind, body, and moral character of their players.

  • Set mental, physical, and moral goals with young athletes.

  • Build a team in which all children feel accepted and cared for .

  • Give children a sense of ownership and control of their sports experience.

  • Re-define winning as the achievement of team-set goals.

  • Build lasting, strong relationships with parents.

All Play Like a Champion coach clinics utilize the GROW approach.

Goals + Relationships + Ownership = Winning

 

Using the GROW approach, coaches leave Coaching for Character clinics with the preparation required to build a team that succeeds on the field, and to guide young athletes to mature into people with strong moral fiber and healthy lifestyles. Results show that the Play Like a Champion approach to coaching leads to an improved sport experience for all: 

  • Children are happier in sports and stay active for more years in sports.

  • Coaches gain an increased sense of pride in the work they are doing.

  • Parents report greater satisfaction with their child's youth sports experience.

  • Officials feel respected and appreciated.

  • League administrators enjoy the benefits of having professionally prepared coaches committed to the distinct mission of their league.

To learn more about your organization working with the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series, contact us today.

Advanced Clinics

Advanced education is available for coaches who have received the original Coaching for Character workshop. Our Advanced Clinics expand upon the Play Like a Champion philosophy and provide experienced coaches with ongoing development opportunities. Current Advanced Workshop offerings include:

  • Parents as Partners - Going in depth to offer strategies for maximizing the potential for coaches to develop strong relationships with the parents of their players (1 hour)

  • Effective Coaching Techniques - Exploring the best practices for getting athletes to achieve their athletic potential while ensuring they are having fun and playing fair (1 hour)

  • Developing Character Through Sports - Providing a framework for coaches to use sports as a teaching tool for imparting important life lessons (1 hour)

USCCE Accredited Program

Play Like a Champion is proud to be nationally accredited by the NCACE

Parent Like a Champion

This one-hour to ninety-minute educational workshop for sports parent is designed is based on the Play Like a Champion approach taught in the coaching clinic and is an essential complement to the Coaching for Character or Coaching as Ministry clinics.


The Parent Like a Champion workshop helps parents to navigate through the high pressured and often confusing youth sport environment.  Parents who attend this workshop learn how to help their children enjoy their athletic experience and to develop as athletes and as people.  Parent Like a Champion also teaches parents what to expect from a quality sports program and how coaches should treat all of the children on their teams. Finally Parent Like a Champion raises the level of sideline behavior by giving parents clear directions for ensuring supportive fan behavior during their children's games.

Parent Like a Champion workshops are presented by “trained-trainers” in local organizations. 

 

View the 10 Commandments for Sports Parents here!

Thanks to a grant from the LA84 Foundation, Parent Like a Champion materials are also available in Spanish.

Pope Francis and Sports

Sports Prayers, Pope Francis and Sport

On June 1, 2018 the Vatican released it's first ever official document on sports. Titled Giving the Best of Yourself : A Document About the Christian Perspective on Sport and the Human Person, the release from the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life goes in-depth on the history and potential of sport in human development. It promotes the formative nature of sport and advocates for all in the Church to understand sport as a means for mission and sanctification. 

The document is the latest in a recent emphasis by the Vatican and Pope Francis himself in understanding sports as a place of formation that deserves our attention. With Play Like a Champion at the forefront of efforts to provide formation for coaches and parents of youth and high school athletes, we're proud to be involved in conversations at a number of levels that seek to increase and improve these formative efforts. 

On May 14-15, 2015 about 80 scholars, coaches, athletes, and Church leaders participated in the International Study Seminar, “Coaches: Educating People,” sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. In his opening charge, Pope Francis challenged those present, ecclesiastical authorities, and sports leaders throughout the world to acknowledge, respect, and support the critical role that coaches play as educators of and ministers to youth.

One of the liveliest informal conversations that went on throughout the Seminar was the religious character of youth sports themselves.  Some presenters and participants saw youth sports primarily as an opportunity for coaches to pray with young athletes, give religious testimony, and catechize.  Others, like Patrick Kelly, S.J., maintained that the sports experience itself should be valued as an inherently

“graced” expression of human freedom, a “signals of transcendence” in the words of Sociologist Peter Berger. 

Pope Francis described religious faith as providing a balanced perspective on sport protecting it from influences that would “absolutize” it on the one hand and “pervert” it on the other.  He spoke eloquently about the need for coaches to “preserve the value and nature of sports as games.”  Like Professors Norbert Muller (member of the IOC Commission for Olympic Education and Culture, Germany) and Gerhard Treutlein (Head of the Center for Doping Prevention, Germany), and many conference participants, he expressed grave reservations about “invasive economic interests” and the exploitation of athletes. 

It is within the framework of sports as play that Pope Francis described youth sports as an inherently educational activity, which, under the direction of competent and committed coach-mentors, can develop children socially, morally, and spiritually, as well as athletically.  Pope Francis’s understanding of good coaching includes but goes beyond teaching skills and strategies of a particular sport and being a good role model.  In his view, good coaches should be child-centered teachers, who understand what children need to grow as people and how to nurture that growth in the context a welcoming team climate.  

Because of the emphasis that Pope Francis gave to cultivating children’s personal, social, and emotional competencies, he insisted that coaches receive a solid formal education: “Educators must be educated.”  It is up to sports organizations “to pay due attention to and invest the necessary resources in the professional preparation, both human and spiritual, of coaches.”   Pope Francis has effectively challenged all of those responsible for youth sports programs to show respect for children and for their educators by providing coaches with the very best preparation we can give them.  

Pope Francis also challenged the leaders of youth sport organizations to include all children, particularly the poor and the less athletically gifted. He went much further than countering inequality and defending every child’s right to play. With growing support from social science research, he argued that youth sports can and should be a vehicle for social mobility by developing children’s social competencies and connecting them with supportive social networks. A week earlier Pope Francis had commented that sports participation along with education and employment opportunities can lift children out of poverty: “There are three paths - three fundamental pillars - for children and young people:  Education – in the school and in the family, sport and work. When we have all three … then there exists the conditions to develop a full and authentic life.”

- F. Clark Power, Pope Francis's Bold Vision for Youth Sports

 
 

Official's Workshops

Officials play an essential role in sports. They provide structure at all levels of competition, ensuring that games are played fairly and according to rules while preventing uncivil and unsportsmanlike conduct from coaches, athletes and fans.

 

Officials are more than just regulators of competition. They are keepers of the integrity of sports.

 

The Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series offers a one-hour workshop for youth sport officials to ensure that the caretakers of sport are also well-versed in sound officiating principles and prepared to guide a sport environment that is fair and safe. This interactive clinic provides best practices for officials to implement the Play Like a Champion philosophy in their key role as guardian, judge, and peacekeeper. 

Educating officials in the Play Like a Champion philosophy is an essential component of building a premier youth sports organization. No adult has a closer influence on the actual competition that takes place in sports; officials deserve the highest quality training that reinforces the understanding that the goal of youth sports is to produce safe, happy, good people.

 

Resources for Athletes

The Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series offers ways to connect directly to young athletes. Whether it is during the school year or in the summer, it is always a good time to engage with the young athletes in your school, league, or family. We offer these engaging resources for purchase as an introduction or supplement to your Play Like a Champion Today experience.

Player Handbook 

The Handbook is a 48-page resource used by young athletes as they progress through a season of sports. The handbook:

  • Serves as a journal for kids to keep track of memories from games and practices

  • Provides a tangible resource for children to set goals

  • Guides athletes in reflecting upon the valuable lessons of sports.

For teams using the Player Handbook, an accompanying Leader’s Guide is also available, serving as a teaching aide for coaches or parents who work with young people in sports.

eBook of Sports Prayers

Play Like a Champion has a free eBook of Sports Prayers that can be downloaded and used as a resource for teams and athletes. Please click here to download the eBook!

Summer-Time Champion Challenge

The 16-page Champion Challenge manual serves as a Summer-time companion for grade-school students to track their play time, set goals, and have fun. The Champion Challenge:

  • Works similarly to a Summer-reading reading program, but records play instead

  • Challenges students with setting weekly and summer-long goals for play

  • Allows parents and teachers to monitor students’ progress, tracking the time spent at play

An excellent resource for getting kids off the couch and Playing Like a Champion!

Coach Notes

Each Tuesday, the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series provides weekly Champion Notes to our partners. These notes are a part of our ongoing education and cover aspects of the Play Like a Champion philosophy. The notes are provided for each part of the sports community: coaches, parents, and student-athletes. The notes are typically written by experts, but also highlight the insights and best practices of those who are a part of the Play Like a Champion community.

 

Below, we've selected examples of Coach Notes by 2015 Leadership Conference speaker and 4-time Olympian Bo Hanson, Play Like a Champion research specialist Dr. Carrie Hastings, and Johnson and Wyandotte CYO Director Pete Piscitello. These highlight just a few of the many issues that are covered throughout the year. 

To learn more about the notes, or Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series programs,

please click here to Contact Us!

 
 
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Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series

Contact Us

Tel: 574-250-6424

PO Box 72, Notre Dame, IN 46556

Email: information@playlikeachampion.org

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