The Joy of Play
Cross Country Runners Hit the Course in Seattle
College rowing coach Susan Saint Sing has a quote that often appears in our Play Like a Champion coach clinics. Sing says, "A child at play is in touch with the purest essence of the energy of God." Meant to refer to both the athlete's connection to God and the importance of play among children, these words capture an essential element of the ideal youth and high school sports experience. They speak to the importance of joy.
The presence of joy may be the difference between a positive experience and one the athlete would rather forget. In environments that prioritize joy, children participate with broad smiles. The sound of laughter is heard echoing from the fields of competition. Athletes compete with a freedom and confidence that comes from being fearless. They work hard, but it's evident they are enjoying the opportunity to give their best effort.
The Weekly Game Plan
Add two things to your practice plan this week that remind your team that sports are meant to be played with joy.
These could be...
A Team-Building Activity
A surprise designed to break-up the hard work they've been doing as they prepare for the season.
No matter what you choose, intentionally working to assure that practices and games are played with joy will help your team in many different ways this season!
Each week we'll provide a short reflection or challenge related to the note's topic. These are designed to help coaches, parents and athletes consider how you can bring the Play Like a Champion approach to life in practical ways at your parish, school or league.
A Prayer for Coaches
Lord, thank you for the gift of the young athletes you have entrusted to my care this season. Grant that I may have the graces necessary to help them develop physically, mentally and spiritually. May they experience the joy of play and competition in the practice and games ahead. Help me to teach them so that individual and team will maximize the gifts God has given them. May our team always exhibit sportsmanship consistent with our Christian values and may we strive to glorify You in all that we do. Help me to set a positive example as a coach. May I always seek to serve Christ and His children through this role of Coach Minister. Amen.
You may request Play Like a Champion's "God Be In My Sport Prayerbook" through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series
PO Box 72 / Notre Dame IN 46556 / email@example.com
Play Like A Champion Today Educational Series, PO Box 72, Notre Dame, IN 46556