Play Like a Champion conference to be held at Notre Dame June 20 to 22

Author: Arts and Letters


The Play Like a Champion (PLC) program will hold its third annual conference at the University of Notre Dame June 20 to 22 (Friday to Sunday).

Leaders of Catholic and other youth sports programs from 24 cities in the United States and Canada will gather on the Notre Dame campus to learn how to run coach and parent workshops in their home dioceses, parishes, schools and local sports organizations. Educators, coaches, ethicists, professional athletes and theologians will lead discussions exploring the ways in which youth and high school sports can enhance the moral and spiritual growth of children and adolescents.

“The conference hopes to challenge toxic elements in the youth and high school sports culture that place winning and ego-centered success over the development of whole person as a member of a team,” said PLC founder F. Clark Power, professor of psychology and education at Notre Dame.

Among conference speakers will be 1976 Notre Dame alumnus Rudy Ruettiger, whose story inspired the movie “Rudy.”

The PLC program is a partner with sports organizations requiring that all coaches complete a three-hour interactive workshop. More than 4,000 coaches have completed the workshop during the past two years and 90 percent of them have recommended it to their colleagues.

In order to become PLC partners, youth sport organizations must commit to guaranteeing substantial playing time to all children.

“We decided to dig our heels in, insisting that all children get meaningful playing time at least through the 8th grade,” Power said. “If we truly believe that sports are fun, build character and help children to develop psychologically as well as physically, how can we justify the inequities in playing time that we see at all levels and in all kinds of youth sports programs across the country?”

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

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at on June 16, 2008.