Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Leadership Lessons from Track Camp

I have spent the last two evenings with my kids at track camp - it lasts all week long. I have watched how this camp has been run and I have learned some pretty good leadership lessons along the way. The camp is being run by the local college, Seton Hill University, track coach. He has brought about a dozen members of his team with him to help, both men and women.

The first thing I noticed was that the track coach wasn't actually coaching any of the kids. The members of his team are doing all of the instruction. The kids are broken down by age and each age group spends about 15-20 minutes at each track or field event.

The second thing I noticed was that each of the track team members that are assigned to the specific event corresponds to their own personal event. They are competing at the college level and therefore are specialists in discus, high jump, hurdles, long and triple jump, sprinting, and shot put. The sprinters are not teaching the shot put, but instead what they are very strong in.

The third thing I noticed was that the head coach just goes from event to event to encourage and to help the member of his team that is running the event. He is pouring into the leader of the event.

The four thing I noticed was that they gather all of the kids, maybe 100 kids, together at the beginning to tell them what they will be doing that night and any changes they are making from the previous night. No one wonders what they will be doing.

The fifth thing I noticed was they are building to the last night. There will be a competition night and the kids get to pick their three favorite events and then get to compete for ribbons. This is great because kids can begin to self-evaluate what they are good at or what they enjoy and then really work hard on those events because they know that a competition is coming up on Friday.

What I would have liked to have seen is the head coach bringing all the kids together at the end for a quick pep talk, see you tomorrow, and think about what events you will compete in on Friday. Just a little vision casting to finish off the night. I also would have liked to have seen the head coach notice the team members on their phone or texting and remind them to fully engage with the kids. Just a little reminder of why they are there in the first place.

All in all, I am very pleased with what is happening in the camp and my kids are loving it. Good stuff all the way around.