Play Like a Champion Today

Play Like a Champion Today is an independent 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing leadership in a worldwide effort to change the culture of youth sports through education and consultancy. Since 2006, Play Like a Champion has served over 130,000 coaches and parents through a network of 230+ partners across the United States and Canada. Play Like a Champion moves beyond the X’s and O’s of coaching to address the core elements of effective coaching: 1) motivation, 2) team-building, 3) leadership. Scientifically-based and ethically-directed, Play Like a Champion designs its educational programs to promote children’s physical, social, emotional and moral development to last a lifetime.

Play Like a Champion Today’s Educational Series believes that the quality of preparation for our children’s educators reflects our respect for and care of our children. We have put our children’s physical, emotional and mental well-being in the hands of far too many well-meaning, but ill-informed coaches; and our children are paying the consequences. Overuse injuries, burnout, and abuse are far too common in youth and high school sports. Investing in quality coach education is not only prudent, but morally responsible.

Play Like a Champion advocates youth sports as a safety net for children from distressed families, schools, and neighborhoods. All children deserve an opportunity to play, to be physically active, to have caring adult mentors, and to be a part of team.

Through our A Team for Every Child initiative, Play Like a Champion Today has made service to the least advantaged its priority. Play Like a Champion serves a wide array of sports organizations with programs especially designed to meet their specific needs and aspirations.

In 2006, Clark Power, Notre Dame Professor of psychology and education, founded Play Like a Champion Today. A sports fan, child advocate, and expert in moral development, Power was concerned about what he felt was a crisis in youth sports. Increasing numbers of families could not afford the rising costs of youth sports fees and equipment, too many children deemed to be below average or just average were sitting on the bench, overzealous coaches and parents were putting too much pressure on young athletes, and sideline behavior was deteriorating.

Drawing on the sports sciences and the expertise of Notre Dame faculty, coaches, and administrators, Power and colleagues, Nicole LaVoi, Brooke Crawford, and Kristin Sheehan developed the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series curriculum and formed partnerships with sports organizations around the country. In 2016, following more than 10 years at the University of Notre Dame, Play Like a Champion leadership in consultation with our Advisory Board and officials at Notre Dame made the decision to establish the organization as an independent non-profit outside the university. Thanks to the accelerated growth of Play Like a Champion programs and partnerships, this new model has allowed us to continue building a unique structure that serves our partners while expanding our services to children in need.

Over the past fifteen years Play Like a Champion has partnered with more than 230 schools and sports organizations, ranging from the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America to the schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the programs of the North Lawndale Athletic and Recreation Association in North Lawndale, a neighborhood on the west side of Chicago. As our community continues to grow, we look forward to serving partners in our quest to provide every child with a safe, fun and supportive environment in which they can play and grow as persons and athletes.

Play Like a Champion Today is an independent 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing leadership in a worldwide effort to change the culture of youth sports through education and consultancy. Since 2006, Play Like a Champion has served over 130,000 coaches and parents through a network of 230+ partners across the United States and Canada. Play Like a Champion moves beyond the X’s and O’s of coaching to address the core elements of effective coaching: 1) motivation, 2) team-building, 3) leadership. Scientifically-based and ethically-directed, Play Like a Champion designs its educational programs to promote children’s physical, social, emotional and moral development to last a lifetime.

Play Like a Champion Today’s Educational Series believes that the quality of preparation for our children’s educators reflects our respect for and care of our children. We have put our children’s physical, emotional and mental well-being in the hands of far too many well-meaning, but ill-informed coaches; and our children are paying the consequences. Overuse injuries, burnout, and abuse are far too common in youth and high school sports. Investing in quality coach education is not only prudent, but morally responsible.

Play Like a Champion advocates youth sports as a safety net for children from distressed families, schools, and neighborhoods. All children deserve an opportunity to play, to be physically active, to have caring adult mentors, and to be a part of team.

Through our A Team for Every Child initiative, Play Like a Champion Today has made service to the least advantaged its priority. Play Like a Champion serves a wide array of sports organizations with programs especially designed to meet their specific needs and aspirations.

In 2006, Clark Power, Notre Dame Professor of psychology and education, founded Play Like a Champion Today. A sports fan, child advocate, and expert in moral development, Power was concerned about what he felt was a crisis in youth sports. Increasing numbers of families could not afford the rising costs of youth sports fees and equipment, too many children deemed to be below average or just average were sitting on the bench, overzealous coaches and parents were putting too much pressure on young athletes, and sideline behavior was deteriorating.

Drawing on the sports sciences and the expertise of Notre Dame faculty, coaches, and administrators, Power and colleagues, Nicole LaVoi, Brooke Crawford, and Kristin Sheehan developed the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series curriculum and formed partnerships with sports organizations around the country. In 2016, following more than 10 years at the University of Notre Dame, Play Like a Champion leadership in consultation with our Advisory Board and officials at Notre Dame made the decision to establish the organization as an independent non-profit outside the university. Thanks to the accelerated growth of Play Like a Champion programs and partnerships, this new model has allowed us to continue building a unique structure that serves our partners while expanding our services to children in need.

Over the past fifteen years Play Like a Champion has partnered with more than 230 schools and sports organizations, ranging from the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America to the schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the programs of the North Lawndale Athletic and Recreation Association in North Lawndale, a neighborhood on the west side of Chicago. As our community continues to grow, we look forward to serving partners in our quest to provide every child with a safe, fun and supportive environment in which they can play and grow as persons and athletes.

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