In 2014, Notre Dame Academy began partnering with the University of Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion Today Character Education Through Sports initiative.
The initiative supports schools and sport leagues in promoting: athletics as ministry to youth and families, character development, emotional growth, intrinsic motivation, building teams as moral communities, and responsible decision-making. Notre Dame Academy is the first Atlanta-area grade school to join the initiative. To improve youth sports, the Play Like a Champion Today program is designed to provide children and adolescents with the highest quality sports experience possible. Drawing on the expertise of members of the Notre Dame coaching staff, the research of developmental and sport psychologists, as well as leaders in Catholic theology, Play Like a Champion aims to renew youth sports by educating coaches and parents to nurture personal and spiritual development along with athletic excellence.
The Parent Like a Champion program is an interactive workshop for sport parents that seeks not only to respond to all too frequent incidents of “sideline rage” but also seeks to give parents sound advice on how to guide their children through their youth and high school sport careers. Parents receive education and materials that help them reinforce the goals of character development through sport stressed by the program. Parents also receive guidance on how they can help their children to form habits of reflection, perseverance, sound decision-making, teamwork, good nutrition, and regular exercise.