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Athletic Leadership Development Program Essay

There is great need to develop effective athletic management programs in high schools. Apart from the fact that students derive direct benefit from such programs, it is also a good training resource since today’s high school athletes will eventually take shape as tomorrow’s sports leaders as coaches, trainers, athletic administrators, sports physicians, sports psychologists and other capacities (Lanasa, Ciletti & Lackman, 2005). High school is a very important stage in which students prepare for the future by getting a good education, making friends and participate in other activities such as athletics.

It is unfortunate, that many schools have adopted budget cuts that under provide for sports, taking the opinion that money would be better spent on academics. Though it is right that academics come first, sacrificing high school sports is dangerous to the students’ high school experience as it affects their ability to perform at optimum academic levels (Amorose & Horn, 2000). Sports are also an important component that helps students develop into well-rounded adults who give full benefits to the country at large. INTRODUCTION

This paper will carry out a literature review to illustrate how a School Athletic Leadership Plan works to give students full benefits. In extension, the school as an institution also derives high levels of achievement and satisfaction from the same. It will show how students with an interest in the field of training and treatment of athletes can effectively be prepared by the school athletic training programs. They are a perfect opportunity of gaining college and career preparation. These programs give an appropriate opportunity to the attainment of information, certification, scholarships and networking for students (MacGregor, 2005).

HOW TO DEVELOP A LEADERSHIP PROGRAM This section will evaluate the leadership program adopted by Wheeler High School in Indiana. It presents a situation that is appropriate to most high schools where there are potentially good players but their hopes and targets fail to materialize due to lack of a well organized sports framework and leadership in the school. On evaluation of the progress and areas that need change, Snodgrass notes that the foremost problem was the lack of player leadership in the students’ teams coupled with the lack of senior talent (2005).

Borrowing from the plan adopted by this school, this paper will give guidelines on how a school athletic leadership plan can be developed. Structure of the program An effective leadership program should start by identifying players that can participate in the plan. For starters, the first class could be made up of six senior and two junior students who would meet weekly for two to three hours over a ten week period (Snodgrass, 2005). In this period, they would they would participate in the curriculum by carrying out the following; Interaction They are expected to visit and spend one or two hours in the curriculum each night (Snodgrass, 2005).

From this interaction, the head of the plan identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the selected team by observing how they interact and how committed they are. This is the stage at which the leaders and those with skills valuable to the plan are identified. As they share ideas, hopes and aspirations, this pilot group can come up with an excellent blueprint of the plan since they are better positioned to know what would work with their fellow student athletes and what would not. Activities strengthening core values The activities that strengthen core values are important as they set the plan in motion with the rest of the student athletes.

The pilot group of eight should each be assigned a group of student with which they carry out these activities. This could occur in class for discussions and after knowing each other, the group members should engage in out of class activities. Group leaders are expected to call incoming players and engage with them with an aim of getting to know them intimately (University of Wisconsin, 2007). This is a very important step as the group leaders get in a position to identify strengths and weaknesses that might be hidden from the coaches and teachers.

This enables the teams to avoid failures that commonly arise from the lack of proper understanding within the team. Leadership in youth camps The eight members of the pilot team should serve as counselor at the summer youth camp. They are expected to take up roles such as teaching a position, coaching the team in flag football, running the punt-pass-kick contest etc (Young & Edmonson, 2010). It should involve activities such as story narrations to emphasize the importance of team playing. The plan should be sure to implement a youth summer camp.

The Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology underscores the importance of such camps in the development of leadership plans. It is from such camps that the members emerge as a team understanding each other, with strong leadership and ready to work together (Fiedler, 2002). The above activities lay the foundation on which the plan can be built upon. After getting the required individuals to spearhead the program and the necessary team sprit, the plan can proceed into the next step in which it formally assembles the best ideas and strategies for the leadership program in form of a blueprint discussed in the following section.

PLANNING THE BLUEPRINT Snodgrass defines a blueprint as the process of designing a leadership program in any field from start to finish (2005). It guides the implementation of the whole process and it gives guidelines on how to check progress and success levels. This paper will provide a blueprint that is divided into steps as follows; Step 1: Assembling the planning team According to the program adopted by the Leigh University for the summer of 2007, the planning team should comprise all the key stakeholders to build a program that is acceptable campus wide (Fiedler, 2002).

It is imperative to ensure that all individual stakeholders understand the importance of athletics in the life of the students. Teachers and other members of staff should be ready to sacrifice some academic hours in order to bring the plan into track. In this university, the team consisted of coaches from the Athletic Department, administrators and student-athletes as well as staff from the Dean of Student’s Office to attain a healthy balance (Young & Edmonson, 2010). They should meet weekly to discuss the rest of the steps in the blueprint. Step 2: Conducting a leadership audit

“The leadership audit is a systematic assessment of leadership development opportunities at the institution and beyond. A complete audit includes both internal and external reviews and inventories all leadership opportunities” (Lanasa, Ciletti & Lackman, 2005). Internal audit: The information from this audit should find out whether there are other leadership initiatives on campus in which student-athletes can participate (). Fiddler finds that often these programs are not designed to directly increase the value of the student’s leadership and do not fundamentally impact Athletics as a whole(Amorose & Horn, 2000).

There should be goal setting and skill building workshops that are conducive to the unique schedules of student-athletes and athletics department staff. External audit: This involves researching specific leadership opportunities at other institutions. This should particularly look for leadership development programs and delivery options within other institutions (Robinson & Skinner, 2008). It can be done in neighboring schools that have highly successful leadership development programs to identify crucial aspects that can be adopted.

It can also be done online or from other literature on the issue to set good standards for a comprehensive plan. Step 3: Identification of an anchor The anchor is another crucial aspect of the plan that should be in place. Young and Edmonson define it as the “existing institutional purpose, outreach or reason that makes the program’s efforts essential and justifies the investment of time, energy and resources to support the effort (2010). It helps in the acceptance of the plan since it does not appear as something totally alien. For instance the mission statement of Lehigh University is;

“To advance learning through the integration of teaching, research, and service to others” (Young and Edmonson, 2010). To be in tandem with the school’s mission statement, the Lehigh Athletics Mission Statement could be made to capture that of the institute, e. g. “Our mission in the Lehigh Athletics Department is to advance learning to develop leadership, and to foster personal growth through comprehensive athletics programming. ” (Young and Edmonson, 2010). This way, the plan manages to entrench itself within existing institutional goals and hence all stakeholders can comfortably identify with it and work towards its implementation.

As such, teachers for instance would drop their hard line stance towards the plan as they feel it helps in academics. Step 4: Determining the scope The scope is the extent of the leadership experience which encompasses aspects such as how deep the program will be embedded in institutional culture and the programmatic mission and learning objectives (Robinson & Skinner, 2008). The scope should be connected to the vision, mission, and learning outcomes of the school’s sports department.

Vision: the plan should be aimed at cultivating a culture of leadership which encourages self-awareness, commitment to team playing, and emphasis on values and actions that enhance a good athletic experience. (Amorose & Horn, 2000) Mission: the sports department should use the plan to complement and support the larger missions of the institution as a whole. This can be achieved with the use of the transformational leadership theory that enhances student’s leadership skills and understanding (Fiedler, 2002). It should accomplish a sense of community among al stakeholders focusing on the value of positive leadership.

Learning outcomes: these are the benefits that the students should derive from participating in the Athletic Leadership Program. Firstly, they enhance their knowledge of basic leadership skills and principles. Others are interpersonal skills, integrity, peer motivation, self awareness and the value of diversity in every situation (University of Wisconsin, 2007). This will enhance their wellbeing in every field of life in school and beyond. Step 5: Shaping the philosophy A philosophy is important in shaping an appropriate vision, mission and goals for a comprehensive Athletic Leadership Program.

Robison and Skinner put forward two examples of philosophy that can be used to achieve this end. They do so by addressing the unique needs of student-athletes, teams and coaches (2008). The Transformational Leadership Theory is the primary philosophy in which the program is embedded. “It describes a course of action where both leaders and participants engage in a mutual, ongoing process of raising one another to higher levels of motivation, moral reasoning, and self-consciousness” (Robinson & Skinner, 2008). This encourages collaboration and interdependence within participants by appealing to social and community focused values.

Principle-Centered Leadership Theory: this theory is based on principle based leadership. Leaders are required to center their practices in natural based practices. Their values can only be effective if they remain true to these guiding principles, which are identified as; “continually learning, service-oriented, radiate positive energy, believe in other people, lead balanced lives, see life as an adventure, are synergistic, and exercise for self-renewal” (Robinson & Skinner, 2008). Step 6: Selecting delivery framework These are the strategies and individuals to be used for teaching participants about leadership.

This includes positional leaders and emerging ones. Positional leaders include coaches and captains who are directly responsible of development of athleticism in individual-student athletes which will ultimately lead them to winning championships (Fiedler, 2002). Emerging leaders include students joining the program and those who have been it for a while and want to further their leadership skills. This way, the plan ensures that it has a never ending supply of talent and new leadership, i. e. it is sustainable. Step 7: Select Assessment and Evaluation Strategies

This step ensures that intentional assessment and evaluation tools will are available. It is recommended that the implementation of the blueprint is assessed after the first full year of implementation. The tools to be used for this assessment may include “focus groups, student-athlete exit interviews, pre- and post-surveys, student-athlete post-season evaluations, etc” (University of Wisconsin, 2007). This process is meant to explore needs, outcomes and satisfaction derived from the plan. CONCLUSION A School Athletic Leadership Plan like the one outlined above will go a long way in accomplishing a varied range of needs in the school.

It clearly shows the need to implement an effective plan from which students can derive numerous benefits. The step by step process is imperative in creating a leadership program which is self sustaining and which is deeply rooted in the institutional goals and vision. This ensures that it is embraced by all. REFERENCES Amorose, A. J, and Horn T. S (2000). Intrinsic Motivation: relationship with collegiate athletes’ gender, scholarship status, and perceptions of their coaches’ behavior. Journal of sport and exercise psychology. 22(1), 63 – 84. Fiedler, F. E (2002). Proactive ways to improve leadership performance.

Handbook of organizational consulting psychology, 76 – 105, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Lanasa, J. , Ciletti, D. and Lackman, R. (2005). Designing a Model for Improved Outcomes Among Students- Athletes in Sports Education. Left Coast Press. Retrieved, 6th August, 2010<http://lcoastpress. metapress. com/index/6jp60m3240x253mm. pdf> MacGregor, G. M. (2005). Designing Student Leadership Programs: Transforming the Leadership Potential of Youth. Youthleadership. com Robison, T. I and Skinner, T. (2008). The Athlete and the Grade Change. Cases in Educational Leadership. Retrieved, 6th August, 2010<http://jel.

sagepub. com/cgi/content/abstract/11/1/106> Snodgrass, S. (2005). Building a high school leadership program. Gale, Cengage Learning. University of Wisconsin. (2007). A Grounded Theory Of High Quality Leadership Programs: Perspectives From Student Leadership Development Programs In Higher Education. Madison: University of Wisconsin. Young, J. and Edmonson, S. (2010). High School Athletic Directors and Educational Leadership Traits: A Conceptual Analysis of the Literature. Retrieved, 6th August, 2010<http://www. ncpeapublications. org/attachments/article/33/m34613. pdf>


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