Athletes - Leadership/Character - Research

2020 Promising Practices in Character Development Announced

June 1, Washington, DC has certified 246 Promising Practices in schools and organizations across the country that foster character development in our children and teens. The Good Athlete Project’s Character by Design workshop was one of them.

Jim Davis, Director of the Good Athlete Project, acknowledged that “although we do not do our work for sake of recognition, we’re glad to have some of our methods validated,” and added that “if this provides us the opportunity to work with more student-athletes, then it’s a true gift.”

Character by Design is a workshop that is based on core principles of human development and psychology. Its methods were built during Davis’ time as a graduate student at Harvard University and enhanced both by many years coaching and input from leaders in the coaching field. When asked about what makes their workshops different, Davis said that “they are effective; not that other initiatives aren’t, we are grateful to be in a space [character development through sport] with so many good people… but we take great pride in being able to balance research and practice in a way that has proven to be incredibly effective.”

“We created the workshop that we needed when we were young athletes. We’re trying to pay it forward,” said Davis.

Davis tells stories of family members who have approached him and his team of coaches – occasionally with tears in their eyes – to thank them for changing their child’s life for the better. There are coaches who claim that the methods of the Good Athlete Project have improved the way they and their staff approach culture.

“Coach Davis’ passion and expertise has had a direct positive impact on our kids. I know because I have taken one of his sayings, ‘Does your behavior match your goal,’ and implemented it into our core philosophy,” said Matt Yan, head coach of the Lane Tech (Chicago) wrestling team.

“The truth is, the coaches at the schools we work with each deserve their own version of this recognition; it’s theirs,” added Davis.

“We are extremely proud to recognize the schools and organizations that have developed and implemented a Promising Practice” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, President of “Each of these programs and initiatives have demonstrated significant impact and strongly align with the principles that help schools and organizations cultivate a culture of character.” This year’s character development practices and initiatives included peer mentoring, service-learning, and conflict resolution approaches. Many of the Promising Practices also involve parents and the local community. See the full list of our 2020 Promising Practices. will honor each 2020 Promising Practice recipient (schools and organizations) at its National Forum in Washington, D.C., to be held March 3-5, 2021.

To book a Character by Design workshop with the Good Athlete Project, reach out via their website:

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