VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Coaches need to show integrity, fairness, patience, joy and kindness, especially toward those who are struggling, Pope Francis said.
Like any good educator, a good coach or trainer is extremely important in helping kids develop into mature, well-balanced and well-rounded adults, he said.
Instilled with solid values and Christian faith, athletes can help prevent sports from becoming distorted by “pressure from many increasingly intrusive interests, especially economic,” he said in a written message released May 14.
The pope’s message was presented to participants — including a local woman from Neumann University — at an international seminar on the role of coaches and trainers as educators of human and Christian values. The seminar at the Vatican May 14-16 was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s church and sport office.
Good teachers and coaches are vital for children and young adults because they are at a “delicate stage in life” as their personalities are developing and they are looking for role models and approval from others, the pope wrote.
It’s a stage in life when “the danger of getting lost by following bad examples and seeking false happiness is more real,” he wrote.
Therefore, coaches, like teachers, have a great responsibility because they often “have the privilege of spending many hours each week with young people and have a great influence on them,” he wrote.
But their influence depends more on “who they are as people and how they live than on what they say,” the pope wrote. “How important it is then a coach be an example of integrity, consistency, correct judgment, impartiality, but also joy for life, patience, ability (to show) esteem and kindness toward everyone and especially those most disadvantaged.”
Being a person of faith is just as important, he said, because being able to raise people’s eyes up to God helps put victories and losses into better perspective.
“Faith gives us that gaze of kindness toward others and it makes us overcome the temptation of a rivalry that’s too heated and aggressive; it makes us understand the dignity of every person, even those less gifted and at a disadvantage,” he said.
Coaches can do much to help make sports an occasion for solidarity and inclusion by giving those usually left out a chance to play and socialize.
For this reason, Pope Francis said, resources and time must be invested in educating coaches and trainers so that they can be “authentic witnesses of life and lived faith.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103