A Program for Team sports led by coaches

Coaches Make A Difference

Sportsleader™ by Virtue=Stength began in 2004 as a sports-centered virtue training program. 

Following Pope St. John Paul II’s inspiration, this program saw sports as a prime arena for virtue training.

“When sports are played and understood in the right way, they are an extraordinary expression of a person’s best inner energies and of his ability to overcome difficulties, to set himself goals to be reached through sacrifice, generosity and determination in facing the difficulties of competition."

The program focused on leveraging a coach’s influence to develop virtue in young athletes. It empowered them with practical tools for both modeling and teaching virtue, on and off the field.

The program grew and was soon being used in CYO athletics across the country.

SportsLeader soon caught the attention of bishops, priests, and school leaders nationwide.

In 2018, with the encouragement of these Catholic leaders, we decided to revamp SportsLeader. Our revamped program would focus on virtue training for entire schools and parishes.

This revamped program was rebranded simply as Virtue=Strength™

Sportsleader remains a vital part of our program and gives coaches resources and tools to help them be more intentional about inspiring students to practice virtue.


What coaches are Saying

I wanted to share my teams journey with the Virtue = Strength program over the past few years and the profound impact that it has had on my coaching staff, wrestlers and parents. I want to start off by saying that winning is not only very important to me but also to my team and coaches; however, I firmly believe that if you do not do things the right way and that you run your program with the win at all cost attitude, you fail as a coach….

At the end of the 2015 season, I felt I needed to step back and reevaluate my coaching style. I struggled when I attempted to answer this question: “Was I doing everything in my power to help my student athletes learn the skills to be better men once they leave the Union County wrestling program?” The answer was no and I turned to prayer for help. I prayed for God’s guidance, direction and wisdom to make the right decisions for our program. After some prayer, I came across the Virtue = Strength program and I knew instantly that this was something I wanted to include in my program.

With your help I began to organize our team’s first Father/Son singlet ceremony. During the process, which was sometimes painful, it forced me to help several of our wrestling families work through issues that had been very difficult for them to talk about openly. Although it was very time consuming it gave me the opportunity to not only grow closer to my athletes but also to their families. The night of our Father/Son ceremony was probably the most memorable experience of my coaching career. The fathers (or father figures) did a spectacular job speaking to their sons. The theme was for each father to let their sons know how much they loved, respected and believed in them. I must say that there were many tears and emotions flying around the room that evening due to the positive affirmation that each father shared with their son.

Later in the season, we held our Letters to Mom ceremony. Once again, the event was spectacular! I know that everyone in that room left with a new sense of commitment to each other. I believe those two events changed the entire attitude of our team. We became a family, a community. When our guys went out on the mat they were not only competing for themselves they were competing for each other.

I’ve been coaching for 19 years and have had the good fortune of being part of many State Championship teams. I must say that our most recent State Titles working with your program have been much more fulfilling for me as a coach because I felt that our program really made a positive impact on the lives of our wrestlers and their families.

Thanks so much for your guidance and support throughout this process.


Coach Robert Ervin
Union County Wrestling

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