Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

• Have your team write a mission statement that communicates how they will develop team togetherness and display a win-win attitude. Have them write about the importance of performance goals and integrity. Post the team mission statement and have them keep a copy in their team notebooks.

• Structure interactive and cooperative drills for practices and pre-game warm-ups. Give them challenges to work on together. Periodically, work in small groups to design a play, create a drill, and problem solve about a team weakness. Get them talking with each other and have them take on the thinker’s role. Coaches don’t always have to provide the answers and the athletes can come up with great ideas that can help the team.

• Give something back. The concept of giving something back is a great life lesson. Giving something back through community service is a great introduction to “service to others” for young athletes. Sponsoring a toy drive, and organizing a sports clinic are all great ways for athletes to think beyond their personal needs and feel what it is like to help someone else.

• Teach persistence. “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” Make sure that athletes realize that missing on the first try is not a fatal. Michael Jordan missed the cut for his high school JV basketball team. Dan Jansen didn’t win a gold medal until his fourth Olympics and it was in his very last Olympic event.

A popular notion is that sport does not build character… it reveals it. But instinctively, good coaches know that there are lessons that can be taught in sport that can make a difference in how athletes make choices and take responsibility, both on and off the field.

Having a game plan that recognizes, teaches, and reinforces the behaviors of good leadership can be the most important investment that a youth sport coach can make… and the payoff can be more than a cohesive team that makes the most of its talent. These leadership behaviors can produce solid citizens who will contribute to the greater good.

Dr. Susan Langlois has more than 20 years of experience as a college professor, athletic administrator, camp director and sport facilities consultant. She is currently the Dean of Sports Science at Endicott College. Her undergraduate education was at the University of New Hampshire in physical education. She earned her Master’s and doctoral degrees from Springfield College. She is active in several professional organizations including NASSM, AAHPERD, ISCHPER, AAUP and NACWAA.

Sharman Hayward has directed sports camps at every developmental level, and has coached intercollegiate field hockey and lacrosse for 11 years. Sharman earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Colby-Sawyer College and has a Master of Science Degree in Athletic Administration from Springfield College. Sharman currently serves as Associate Director of Athletics at Endicott College.

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Related posts:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Sport Psyching
  3. Developing The Dream Team
  4. Classroom Connection
  5. Effective Evaluation

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