Press conference seminar 'Coaches: educating people' -

Vatican Holds Seminar on Sports Coaching

Pontifical Council for the Laity Gathers Experts, Scholars And Athletes For Two Day Conference

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On Wednesday, the Church and Sport Office of the Pontifical Council for the Laity presented the 4th International Seminar on “Coaches: Educating People.” The Seminar, which is being held from May 14-16, will reflect on the positive consequences that sport can generate, such as formation. “It is really necessary to educate in sport to be able to educate in daily life. And this can only be done through the principal promoter of these values who is the trainer,” explained the Vatican dicastery.

During the presentation, Bishop Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council, explained how the Seminar will unfold and spoke about men and women who will give their contribution, their testimony, and reflection on various topics. A key point of the Congress will be the role of coaches in the formation of youth. The coach has the task to make sport be “only sport” and that it not become “an end in itself” or a means to achieve egoistic, economic or ideological interests.”

One of the reporters of the Seminar, Spanish Para-Olympic sportswoman Irene Villa, said: “Sport changes people’s lives. She pointed out that, before suffering the attack by the Basque terrorist group, ETA, in which she lost both legs when she was 12, she played basketball, performed ice skating and was passionate about sport because of those values that her family and school had inculcated in her. “It is these values that later save you and free you from anything that can happen in life,” she added.

Christopher Tiu, a basketball player from the Philippines, spoke of sport as one of the focal points of his life. He has been playing since he was 10 and explained that “sport is very important in the classrooms.” “Therefore, I make an effort to promote sport with young people,” he said, adding that he is taking part in this initiative because “it is very much in line with my life, my message.” He also dedicated some words to the Holy Father, whom he described as “a very inspiring person for me through his example.” The young Filipino recalled Pope Francis’ visit to his country, and described the moment he shook his hand during this Wednesday’s General Audience as “a unique thrill.”

Responding to a question from ZENIT about the way this Study Seminar can be turned into action, Bishop Clemens explained: “in all our work we count on the multiplicative effect.” We address several groups of people but our hope is that these people will multiply the experience, the knowledge of this Seminar in their environment and also beyond, he added. He also pointed out that a book will be published after the Seminars and “we hope that this will also help.” Finally, he said that from the Dicastery’s Church and Sport Office they attempt to give a contribution to all the present reflection on sports and hope that this reflection will have an effect on all. 

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Rocío Lancho García

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