The Role of Sports in Christian Character Formation

This week Margret and Coach Kelly Herrmann discuss the role sports can play in character formation!Join me as Coach Herrmann and I discuss the role sports can play in character formation!


Coach Kelly Herrmann – now a wife, mom, grandma, health coach, author, and speaker was a fixture in sports at Franciscan University of Steubenville for decades.  Having given up a full ride to play division one basketball, she attended FUS and was athletic director, head coach of women’s basketball and volleyball and intramural coordinator.  She has refereed, umpired, announced games, coached little league soccer, run sports summer camps, and mentored other coaches.  She’s a wealth of experience and knowledge and comes from a faithfully Catholic perspective.


I asked Coach:


  1. Are there specific character/faith lessons you look to teach through the season?


Some of the many character and faith lessons we can easily glean from faithfully coached and approached athletics are hard work, personal investment, dedicated commitment, right/honest/and charitable communication, servanthood, humility, unity, and modesty.  Sports are a microcosm of life and so much can be taught through them because they really test the mettle of which a person is made.


  1. Can sports be used for character formation even with children?


Because of developmental differences associated with age, the lessons that can be taught are different, but sports are quite useful in character formation – even with children.  Some of the many lessons first learned through sports by children are self-control, how to handle disappointment, delaying gratification and celebrating the giftedness and skills of others.


  1. If so, are the lessons different depending on the ages of the athletes – little league, middle school, college, etc.?


The many lessons learned through sports are the same in type but differ in degree and can really be of great benefit to athletes of any age, especially when coached from an authentic and consistent faith perspective.  It’s essential that a coach know their own priorities as they coach and use the process of practice and play to reinforce the main priority of our lives – growth into the fullness of who we are called to be in Christ.


To connect with Coach Kelly Herrmann for speaking engagements, she can be reached at


Spiritual Reflection 10 Oil Lamps By Fr. Pat Crowley 11.12.2022

Fr. Pat Crowley, SS.CC. Shares a deeper faith experience in the healing love of Jesus Christ.Fr. Pat Crowley, SS.CC., MAS, is a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the Western United States Province. Father Crowley is the Spiritual Advisor for the Magnificat North County San Diego Chapter. He is a retreat director and conference speaker who brings a holistic approach to the healing ministry. Since 1972 his healing services have moved Christians into a deeper faith experience in the healing love of Jesus Christ. Father is He resides at the Sacred Hearts House of Prayer, Hemet, CA., 92544


Faith Formation in Athletics

Margret Vasquez shares how focusing on doing rather than being is a trap we can all fall into but keeping the Lord the priority is essential to developing a faithfully Catholic athletic environment. #podcast #christianpodcastMeet Coach Kelly Herrmann – Faith Formation in Athletics


Today, I’m joined by Kelly who I’ve known for about 30 years.  She’s coached, refereed, umpired for decades in sports of all types and is now a wife, mother, grandmother, and health coach, author and speaker. Kelly has a passion for forming athletes in faith and spirituality and really integrating the two. She grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan and played basketball in the upstairs of their hay barn through the winter. She was living the student athlete life, doing the scorebook, coaching junior high leagues, announcing games even in high school and was truly involved in every aspect of sports year-round.


Kelly gave up a full ride to play division one sports to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville back in the 1980s for the sake of being in a place of faith formation.  She had three older siblings who attended FUS and having visited many times.  She had visited a lot and felt a certain fulfillment at the university in the people, the atmosphere, and the faith culture.  Even though early on she had protested coming to Franciscan, she realized it was the place where she could become more of who the Lord created her to be.  While it was difficult to give up the dream of being a college basketball player, Kelly got deeply involved in intramurals and never regretted making that choice.


Focusing on doing rather than being is a trap we can all fall into but keeping the Lord the priority is essential to developing a faithfully Catholic athletic environment.  What is the most important thing? Is winning everything?  No.  What we want to be saying to our kids is “how was your game?”  How did you do?  How did you play?”.  We play to win because the virtue of magnanimity calls us to do our very best! God wants us to strive and do our best, but that doesn’t always result in winning.  The process of day-to-day dedication and growth is the real core.


We discuss forming faith through athletics – the topic addressed in a chapter Kelly authored in the book Coach Them Well with St. Mary’s Press.

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness is highly important to mental health and spiritual growth. When we see sin as coming from pain, we are able to look at it, acknowledge it, repent of it, and receive the great gift of forgiveness. #podcast #christianpodcastSelf-forgiveness is highly important to mental health and spiritual growth.  If we don’t have it, we can stay stymied and even spiral downwards in our relationships to ourselves, God, and others.  Sometimes, we are hard on ourselves out of fear of failing even worse if we ‘let ourselves off the hook’.  However, it has the opposite effect and leads us away from a healthy and holy future.

Sometimes, people are stuck because of a lack of self-worth.  First, we need to receive the gift of forgiveness from God, our Father.  By receiving that from the Lord, then we need to internalize that stance and the mind of Christ toward ourselves.  Without this, we can stay blocked and stuck in our lives.

Many times, we can be shocked by how we fell. It can seem like we’re trying to hold ourselves to a higher standard, but it’s fundamentally a mindset of pride.  We might be surprised by our behavior, but the Lord who is all-knowing is not surprised.  It can be helpful to recall times of experiencing the Lord’s closeness prior to falling and recognizing that He foreknew that we were going to fail.

At its root unforgiveness toward ourselves changes our mode of operation to one of not being lovable and then we relate to others out of that mode – be it to the Lord, to ourselves, or to others.  We tend to project our own estimation of ourselves onto the Lord and others.  That can really skew our perception of others and put us in an impenetrable fortress of self-hatred.  Rather than achieving the goal of holding ourselves to a higher standard, we can so thoroughly discourage ourselves that we don’t even want to engage with the Lord in a relationship.  It can set us up for failure.  When we open to the grace of the Lord and receive His forgiveness, we can gain spiritual freedom.

In Matthew 7:1 and again Luke 6, the Lord tells us not to judge.  He doesn’t say not to judge others, but not to judge.  Judging is beyond our wisdom and insight.  We don’t understand what makes us tick the way the Lord does and He alone has the ability to do so rightly.  Blessed Julian of Norwich said, “God sees sin as pain in us.”  When we see sin as coming from pain, we are able to look at it, acknowledge it, repent of it, and receive the great gift of forgiveness.