Girls Lacrosse Coach and Alumna, Claire Hansen shares her thoughts on the role and importance of connection and difference at SportsChallenge.
Each one of us has about 100 million nerve cells—long, spindly things called neurons that stretch throughout our entire body. Neurons communicate by passing chemicals from the end of one cell to the beginning of another. Neurons bridge a gap; they are a platform for connection. These connections are what make it possible for us to move, to react, to feel.
Westtown School's Coach Carrie Timmins describes the critical role of concious culture creation within her program.
Why build a culture on your team? And if you do, how?
I had no clue what those two questions meant when I attended the National Coaches Leadership Institute back in June of 2013. I understood what ‘culture’ meant and I had certainly been a part of basketball teams with effective cultures. My college team played in two post-season WNIT tournaments and one NCAA over my four years. But did the team build the culture? Did my coach provide it? What was intentional and what just happened due to the luck of being at the University of Delaware where all of my teammates were hard working, passionate, committed and highly talented young women?...
This month we bring you a list of 5 leaders as determined by the incoming Summer Leadership Class of 2016.
As a part of their application process, every student-athlete is asked: tell us about a leader that you admire and why. In a world where one has reason to question the qualities that we uphold in our leaders, these students remind us of some of the things we should value.
Coach Sam Permutt's reflection on the importance of taking risks, as inspired by a Summer Leadership Academy alumnus.
Jasmar Tirtasengadja is a SportsChallenge alumnus from the summers of 2013 and 2014. On the court, Jas combined blinding speed with an aggressive and unselfish approach. As a point guard, he regularly got into the lane to make plays for himself or for others while applying ferocious pressure defensively. He continued to become a more patient decision-maker and a more positive and vocal leader during his time at SportsChallenge; by the end of his second year, he was one of the unquestioned steadying forces of the program.
A coach's perspective on the importance of the Summer Leadership Academy by Alexa Caldwell, Girls Lacrosse Program Director.
After the last drill, on our last day, the team gathered in the center of the field for our final huddle. "No double parking!" a girl reminded her teammates as they hurried into a circle, shoulder to shoulder, making sure they could see each other's faces. Returners and coaches gained composure, knowing what was coming, but the first-year attendees happily settled into their seats on the grass, looking around and waiting for a hint as to what was coming next.
by SportsChallenge Directors, Pam Herath and Sara duPont
On a recent trip to New York City, I was running through Central Park and my heart was warmed by the lights, decorations and families enjoying the day. All around me there were signs that the holiday spirit was in bloom. Simultaneously I found myself thinking about the risks that I was taking given the tensions in the world today. Was I safe in the park? In public spaces? Using public transport? Was I safe in the biggest city in the US?
Thoughts on the importance of mindfulness by Pam Herath, Director of Curriculum and Programming
Is "mindfulness" another buzz word? Is it new-aged and weird? Is it fluff – soft and extra? Or is it a level of self-awareness that can help you grow to be a better version of yourself -a better teammate, a better friend, a better partner, a better parent, a better leader?
by Sara duPont, Director of Operations and Director of Admissions, Summer Leadership Academy
Travis Bradberry is an author and speaker whom we follow closely, and one with whom we usually feel well aligned. His writing covers emotional intelligence and leadership performance. He is the co-author of the best selling book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, President of TalentSmart and a Doctor of Clinical and Industrial Psychology. He regularly takes speaking engagements with companies like Intel, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Wells Fargo. To say the very least, he is a highly accomplished and well respected figure in the field of corporate leadership.
by Coach JaiVon Wesley, a Leadership Programming Associate for SportsChallenge Leadership Academy.
Halloween is a day that can be associated with fear. Monsters, vampires, the walking dead, and thinly-veiled threats (give us candy or we will create mayhem) create a backdrop of fright, albeit one which has been commercialized and softened over the years. Fear is powerful, but we are more afraid of failure in our daily lives than of any ghoul or goblin.
As I settled into the Faculty Lounge at St. Albans School in Washington, DC for SportsChallenge's second day of their weekend long National Coaches Leadership Institute the grounds outside were silent and frigid. Inside the Lounge, however, vibrant discussion on their team's culture creation and motivation were spiritedly being argued between NCLI participants, warming up the cold seats arranged in a large semi-circle.
Darren Oliver wrapped up his twenty-year journey in the major leagues last year, but he isn’t done making an impact off the field.
Oliver spent two decades in the MLB, pitching for the Rangers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Mets, among other clubs. In that time, he pitched nearly 2,000 innings, striking out 1,259 batters. Darren’s two decades of success in the MLB are a testament to his work ethic and passion for the game. Although he played for a total of nine teams, he found his home with the Texas Rangers. He had three separate stints with the club, and he recently accepted a front office job as a special assistant to the General Manager.
by Coach Stephanie Roach, Office Manager and Director of Admissions
I arrived in our nation’s capitol on Christmas Day and immediately regretted my decision. I had left San Antonio at a wonderful 70/80 something and arrived to frigid temperatures and icy sidewalks, I’m pretty sure it started snowing after my plane landed. Despite the weather I was full of excitement: to celebrate Christmas for the second time that day, to start my new internship with SportsChallenge Leadership Academy and to get to live rent free with my Dad and Stepmom who I hadn’t seen in over a year. This is where my first two appreciations come in: I want to appreciate Coach Arenberg for interviewing me and taking a chance on me even though I don’t think anything in my resume, outside of a love of sports, qualified me for any position at SportsChallenge.
by Coach Pam Herath, the Director of Programming for SportsChallenge
"I need a Blog topic to write on--quick-go," I put out to the three women of wisdom currently occupying the SportsChallenge office early this a.m. "Um. Iron-man training----Duh?!" says one of them quickly and with more exclamation points than I just demonstrated. What followed was her listing off a myriad of examples ofthe lessons I was learning in the midst of my current training; self-leadership, grit, self-awareness, me vs we and it went on and on.
My Bantam-aged youth hockey team's season took a turn for the worse after treading water in the middle of the pack throughout the start the season in September and October. We have been adversely affected both on and off the ice this year - our starting goaltender broke his collarbone in December at school and one of our top-four defensemen suffered a season-ending concussion during a game in the same month. We currently stand in last place throughout the Capital-Beltway region, having snagged two wins and one tie from 17 contests (5 Standings Points).
Elsa began her SportsChallenge story as a Summer Leadership Academy camper in the summer of 2008, enjoying it so much that she returned for the next four sessions. Her family hails from El Salvador, but Elsa attended Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, DC as a soccer player with dreams of being the first from her family to attend a four year university in the United States. Pushed by a suggestion from her soccer coach to attend SportsChallenge Elsa applied for a scholarship, and was granted one, to make the Summer Leadership Academy a reality for her.
Miguel shares the story of his involvement with SportsChallenge Leadership Academy from his days as a student at our Summer Leadership Academy ('05-'06) all the way up to his current employment at The Fields School as a Mathematics and Spanish Language teacher. Listen as he takes us on a journey from his birthplace in Mexico City to his current life in Washington, DC as a leader and educator of eager young minds.
SportsChallenge would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to our 2013 Annual Giving Campaign - your thoughtfulness and enthusiasm helping us halfway to our $80k goal - thanks!
What we each can learn from Nelson Mandela's life seems almost limitless. I believe that Nelson Mandela possessed six leadership traits and personal attributes that combined to make him as influential and inspiring a leader as our world has ever seen.
by Pam Herath, the Lead Workshop Facilitator and Associate Director of the National Coaches Leadership Institute
As leaders we all have all created a unique coaching style that accentuates our strengths. SportsChallenge labels the three primary styles as: The Encourager, The Assertive Leader, and The Leader by Example. Effective leaders know how to reinforce their strengths while simultaneously acknowledging and working on their weaknesses. As an athlete (or coach) you might find yourself constantly cheering and motivating your team or maybe you are the one holding the team accountable to common objectives and goals. You may not rely on verbal communication very much at all but rather demonstrate expected behaviors and trust that others will follow. Each example of leading represents a different style - all of which can be effective. Your job is to know, understand, and reinforce your primarily leadership style while spending time working on the secondary and tertiary ones.
Longstanding SportsChallenge partner Martin Luther King Jr. High School celebrated their third consecutive New York City Championship in November. We would like to take a second to congratulate MLK on their athletic triumph(s) and make note of the five varsity players from MLK that attended SportsChallenge's Summer Leadership Academy.
"We coach the way we coach because there is no other way to coach."
SportsChallenge has been developing youth leaders through sports since the organization's inception in 1996, using sports as their leadership vehicle because "nothing compares to the teachable leadership moments that exist every practice and game". The unpredictable nature of sports, and an individual participant's reaction and response to those changing variables, is an optimal time to take note of, and direct, the actions of youth players in a way that grows them as Leaders. A sport's stage often puts its athletes in a situation where all eyes are on them and these young men and women are aware of the results of their decision making skills; praise, bewilderment, or questioning just to name a few. The sum total of these experiences shape our young athletes and, unfortunately, encourage a select few (often the most practiced) to shine as Leaders while others silently fall to the wayside. SportsChallenge's ability to identify leaders outside of inherent athletic ability separates them from the collective mass.
My first year of coaching youth hockey in suburban Rockville, MD has been highlighted by getting to connect with the (similarly sport-wired) youth players on my team; learning how to interact and present myself with them and their eager parents. While I was tentative early, the similar interests (both inside and outside of the rink) I discovered in my players and coaching staff calmed my uneasiness and have allowed me to settle in throughout the season's first month.
I arrived at SportsChallenge's National Coaches Leadership Institute just before 8AM Saturday morning as I was wiping the morning's fatigue out of my eyes. The sun was just warming up St. Albans School in Washington, DC when Executive Director Jeremy Edwards addressed the assembled coaches to kick off their final NCLI of the calendar year. It didn't take long to realize that the provided coffee and breakfast weren't going to be needed to sustain my energy levels.