This spring as the coach of the Savannah Arts Academy Girls Soccer team, developing leadership skills was an important aspect of our seasonal plan. At the top of the list, I ranked communication as the most important aspect of leadership. One way we worked towards developing our communication skills was through Captain presentations. The five captains were charged with initially teaching the group and then incorporating other members of the team into their presentations.
The presentations were assigned by me and could be delivered using any style or method to the rest of the group. The presentations began early in the season and continued throughout the year. For our first attempt at personal growth and leadership development, the captains teamed up and presented 10 Ways to Be A Most Valuable Teammate (MVT) as a group. Each captain selected two ways to be a MVT and presented those ideas to their peers. The interaction from the group, positive opportunities for communication, and the appealing delivery methods from the captains made this initial event an extremely positive experience.
I decided to continue this process, that would often take 15 minutes of our soccer practice, to allow the captains to teach about the John Wooden Pyramid of Success. I found articles about each block of the pyramid and for the first round, the Captains would present the article featuring their unique ideas. Some presentations occurred as skits, others were lectures, and still others were question and answer sessions. The creativity of the girls increased throughout their presentation opportunities and it seemed their ability to communicate to a group of peers also developed in a positive fashion.
As we went through our second round of presentations, the Captains were asked to bring in another member of the team (non-captain) to assist with the leadership exercise. Now we incorporated the idea of the presenters having a meeting prior to the presentation to plan out what, why, and how things were going to happen. This addition to our style of presentation incorporated another leadership skill: delegating. Multiple players were now receiving opportunities to advance their leadership skills and the audience was hearing a message that they can incorporate towards their lifetime success.
I believe these group interactions of learning for a lifetime far outweighed in importance any type of technical, tactical or physical training I could have provided on the soccer field. With our high school season now complete, I believe these leadership opportunities made a positive change in the lives of the presenters and audience members and will be fondly looked back on in future years as one of the most fun and defining experiences of the season.
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