CYO Sports is:
One component of a parish’s comprehensive youth ministry program which enables the partnership of parents, coaches, priests, religious, teachers and adult leaders to manage and support a sports program that allows youth to grow in their relationship with God and come to better understand themselves and the Catholic faith.
Such a program:
Employs healthy and enjoyable competition to promote the sharing of gospel values among athletes, parents, and coaches, assists parish leadership in nourishing the emotional, spiritual, social, and physical needs of young people, encourages young people to appreciate the gifts that they possess and challenges them to share these gifts with their community. Allows youth to witness the life of Christian discipleship in their coaches and adult leaders, encourages youth to become responsible members of their faith community.
CYO Points of Emphasis…
- MINISTRY -
CYO sports provide a unique opportunity for youth ministry with the potential for great Christian influence. All CYO sports volunteers should strive to ignite spiritual development out of the relationship between the youth and athletics. God has blessed the youth with many gifts and talents, and volunteers are called to realize the importance of animating an appreciation for those blessings. We encourage our volunteers to act as ministers by facilitating prayer before and after practices and games, attending Mass as a team, and creating a team service project, among other things. Most importantly, we ask that the volunteers teach values of faith and character development and reflect those values in their own actions. Participation in athletics provides many “teachable moments” and all involved need to be prepared to constructively address those opportunities.
- SPORTSMANSHIP -
All CYO programs must reflect Christian attitudes and values through coaches emphasizing good sportsmanship. Coaches are expected to set sportsmanship standards with their teams and discuss proper conduct. Part of showing good sportsmanship involves both coaches and their teams shaking hands with the other team before and after each contest. Sportsmanship also includes treating game officials with respect. Officials will make mistakes, and therefore coaches and athletes must be tolerant. The CYO is not tolerant of shouting and criticism nor any negative or derogatory comments toward officials, coaches, spectators and/or athletes. In short, let players play, coaches teach, officials officiate and parents support.
- ENJOYMENT -
Youth play sports because it’s fun; youth leave organized sports because it’s not fun—it’s that simple. The CYO is not a spectator sport for the benefit of coaches and parents. All competitions are supposed to be enjoyable for the athletes! Good CYO coaches “succeed” by enabling youth to develop their talents, not simply by winning. Coaches succeed by helping each youth become the best they can be through skill development, building a team as part of the parish community, helping youth see beyond themselves to the needs of others, appreciating the social aspects of sport, seeing God as the source of our gifts and praising Him for it, and having fun along the way. Good CYO coaches constructively instruct their athletes. It is critical that our youth understand that they get their worth from God as a free gift, NOT from “success” in athletics. We pray that parents will support their children without placing undue pressure on them to win or be the best athlete on their team or in their Region, none of which their child can control. We also ask that spectators cheer in a positive manner. Remember that the participants are not small adults, they are children playing a game.