Clark Power to participate in Vatican seminar on sports

Author: Arts and Letters


F. Clark Power, associate director of the Center for Ethical Education at the University of Notre Dame, has been invited to participate Friday and Saturday (Nov. 11 and 12) in a seminar at the Vatican titled “The Christian Mission Within the Field of Sport Today.”

Organized by the church and sport section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the seminar will include presentations by some 50 scholars, coaches, chaplains and sports professionals worldwide.

Power will discuss his development of the Play Like a Champion Educational Series, a research-based curriculum designed to assist Catholic parishes, schools and dioceses in nurturing character and spiritual development in young people through athletics.

The increasing trends toward poor sportsmanship and worse on the part of coaches, parents and athletes in youth sports has been well documented, and a recent survey by Notre Dame researchers found a greater incidence of such misbehavior in Catholic than in public school programs.

The Play Like a Champion series seeks to counteract the trends by providing detailed, hands-on and practical training to Catholic youth sports leaders. The series adopts a “sports as ministry” approach that centers on the notion that, in a Christian context, coaches are not only teachers but ministers.

Drawing on the latest research in the areas of character education, moral development, and educational and sports psychology, the Play Like a Championcurriculum is structured to help coaches, parents and administrators create a positive climate in youth sports through strategies that promote intrinsic motivation, team building and character development.

The training is administered through a half-day workshop followed by a series of exercises and examples in accompanying videos that explore topics such as:

  • Character and spiritual development in childhood
  • The love of the game, and the soul of a champion
  • Coaching strategies for developing a team of champions
  • Building parents as partners

The Play Like a Champion series has been selected for use by the National Center for Catholic Youth Sports. To date, eight U.S. dioceses have committed to adopting the program, beginning next summer.

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1982, Power is a professor in the Program of Liberal Studies and a concurrent professor of psychology. He specializes in the study of self-awareness, moral development and democratic education and is the author or editor of five books.

Contact: F. Clark Power at 574-631-7343 or

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on November 08, 2005.