The Archdiocese of Baltimore High Schools are joining in partnership with the Play Like a Champion Today character education through sports program over this weekend and next weekend. James Sellinger, Chancellor of Education for the Archdiocese, welcomes the opportunity to work with Play Like a Champion, saying: “Play Like a Champion sees coaching as a form of ministry, and challenges coaches to develop the whole athlete: physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. Our Archdiocese looks forward to gaining tools to enhance our Catholic high school athletic experience.”
Winning-at-all-costs coaching, sports specialization, and parent “sports rage” are just a few of the problems eroding the culture of sports today. The Play Like a Champion Today program is designed to provide children and adolescents with the highest quality sports experience possible. The program’s resources are developed in collaboration with faculty at the University of Notre Dame’s Shaw Center for Children and Families and with social scientists, philosophers, theologians, sport scientists, and physicians in universities nationally. Play Like a Champion helps sports organizations by educating coaches to make sports more character-focused and an opportunity for faith formation.
By partnering with Play Like a Champion, the Archdiocese brings their “Coaching as Ministry” clinic to five high schools this August. Play Like a Champion Program Director, Kristin Sheehan will conduct these trainings. St. Mary’s Parish High School in Annapolis began partnership with Play Like a Champion in August of 2018 and will continue to participate in their programming moving forward so that all Archdiocesan High Schools will consistently participate in this sport as ministry program.
The Pontifical Council for the Laity, convened a May 2015 conference for coaches. In his address to the gathering, Pope Francis 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.” Through this partnership with Play Like a Champion Today, the Archdiocese joins with more than 150 sports organizations committed to answering Pope Francis’ call to educate their coaches.
Play Like a Champion Today workshops are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE). Play Like a Champion has partners in forty-two states and sixty-five dioceses across the United States and Canada and has educated over 120,000 coaches and parents who in turn have impacted the lives of over two million athletes.
Workshop evaluation data confirm the effectiveness of the Play Like a Champion Today program. For example, 97 percent of coaches attending the clinics were satisfied with the experience, and agreed to fully implement the Champion approach to coaching for character development. When asked about the impact of the parent workshop, most parent respondents (96 percent) agreed that they will commit to helping their child grow spiritually through their sport experience.
Pope Francis spoke in his Vatican Radio address about “the importance of sport in moral education, since the sporting spirit is one that teaches the need for discipline, effort, and sacrifice to succeed and achieve excellence – becoming a constant reminder of the sacrifices necessary to grow in the virtues that build the character of a person.” Play Like a Champion works to instill these virtues in young athletes, their parents, and coaches across the country. “If Catholic-sponsored sports programs are going to achieve their full-potential as envisioned by Pope Francis, Catholic schools and dioceses must invest in preparing coaches and sports parents to understand sports as a vehicle to teach gospel values. When sport programs partner with Play Like a Champion, they run a program in sync with our Christian community and effectively develop young people to become disciples of our Church. We are thrilled to partner with the Archdiocese of Baltimore in making this a reality,” says Sheehan, Play Like a Champion Program Director.
For more information on the Play Like a Champion Today character education through sports initiative, visit the website at www.playlikeachampion.org or you may contact 574-250-6424.