Natalie Weber | May 10, 2017
After his own experience as a youth sports coach, Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) professor Clark Power said he founded charity organization “Play Like a Champion Today” to provide coaches with the proper training to effectively serve children and teach character development.
“What I found was that I was never given any real direction or discussion or a lot of help in working with the kids I was working with,” he said. “I had a little responsibility for other coaches — I was head of an athletic association — [and] I noticed that I want to provide coaches with that [training], but there really wasn’t an organization I could plug into.”
The organization works with both religious and secular athletic organizations to provide training for youth sports coaches across the country. Power said a lack of training would be unacceptable in other lines of work in which adults serve children. Because this training is a necessity, all of the athletic organizations that partner with “Play Like a Champion Today” must require their coaches to undergo training, Power said.
“We would not allow that in education, in schools,” he said. “Nor would we allow that in pediatric medicine. Nor do we allow that in social work. We do allow that in sports — and we shouldn’t. If we work with you, we want to convince you that it’s mandatory so all your coaches will sign up and do this.”
If athletic organizations partner with “Play Like a Champion Today,” Power said, their coaches must also allow children equal playing time.
“The other thing we wanted to say is that the children who participate in this program — through the 6th grade — have to get equal playing time,” he said. “And we say that if we’re going to teach children to develop their character through sports, then we as coaches had to be fair to children.”