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Fall Captains Leadership Workshop

Fall+Captains+Leadership+Workshop
Chris Landry

At Waterford High School, fall sports are in full swing with games, practices, team bondings, and captain nominations. Tuesday September 12th, one captain from each fall sports team attended a leadership workshop to help them learn how to be an effective leader. Sports attending the workshop included football, volleyball, cross country, girls swim, cheerleading, soccer, and field hockey. The day included multiple conversations between same sport teammates, food, and connecting with other players. Throughout the workshop, every five minutes the groups would be asked a new question to be solved and answered between fellow captains and problems solved. 

The goal of this conference was to teach captains to embrace leadership skills and learn to deal with conflict. The stronger team bonds sports possess help connections throughout the game and eventually the outcome of the game. Many studies and surveys conducted by other schools have shown the importance of an overall team bond/understanding is greater than having a single individual who is strong and runs the team dynamics. If all of the team contributes the  inclusivity and understanding they possess helps greaten the strengths on the court/field and minimize weakness. 

While the workshop focused on leading teams in a positive direction, it also focused on the negative conflicts teams encounter. How to deal with drama? What do you do if a crowd impacts the game in a negative way? How would you handle a teammate slacking off and not giving their energy to the team? What would you do when a teammate gets in their head? How do you uplift them? While sports were in full conversation many players came out of the workshop with different solutions to deal with many difficult situations. All players were mentally and physically taking notes on positive tactics to bring back to their team. 

Maddie Laforte, captain of the girls cross country team loved the workshop and took many helpful skills and lessons from Tuesday. Maddie’s most important takeaway from the workshop was new connections she has gained with other cross country captains. She said, “Being able to become friends with other cross country girls and talk about races and then at our races being able to hype each other up and know someone on the other team was really great,”Maddie realized the importance of the bond their team already has and was grateful that they already understand each other and trust one another. 

Waterford High School’s athletic director, Mr. Landry spoke on how captains’ workshops happened years before his position at WHS. Soon the captains workshop turned into a Junior Leadership Conference. Due to the great impact athletic directors predicted the workshop would help assist captains and helped gain the captains workshop back into each season. The most important takeaway from the workshop was to allow an outlet on the field or court for players. Whether an issue arises or a situation needs to be diffused whether with players, parents, coaches, and referees. Knowing someone on the opposing team will help players have another person to help them diffuse the situation on both sides and support decisions made by each team. Looking for the best for the ECC, Landry said, “This workshop is made to build relationships with other teams and bring back common issues other schools overcome and a solution for your team”. While you may look at other schools and believe they don’t have common issues this workshop was to show many schools go through the same things our teams go through. This is a way to teach many leadership skills without being listed ideas and instead the opportunity to brainstorm and feel like less of an outsider with your issues.

While boys sports like soccer, football, and cross country attended the meeting, many discussed issues and laughed with one another. While drama and team issues may not be a big problem on boys sports teams as it is with girls, it is very helpful to know other captains from schools when problems should arise on the court or field. 

Emilia Podeszwa, senior soccer captain said, “Being able to hear multiple perspectives from girls with the common issues/events and then come to a conclusion was very helpful. Especially when the focus on positivity on the team is greater than the hard focus on negative impacts”. Hearing multiple perspectives from girls not only strengthens the confidence each girl has in being a captain but as well greaten the ideas and strengths members can bring back to their team. Many captains had their phone out during the leadership workshop taking notes on important information to bring back and apply to their team. 

This is a great resource for captains and leaders in the ECC to connect and develop more educational knowledge on all aspects of being a captain. Thanks to our athletic directors student-athletes have the opportunities to meet other captains from schools and strengthen their team to strive for greatness throughout the season. The captains workshop is a meeting many are looking forward to attending in the future winter and spring seasons.

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About the Contributor
Emerson Lane
Emerson Lane, Editor-in-Chief
Emerson Lane is a senior at Waterford High School enrolled in her second year of the journalism course this year. She is a varsity volleyball player for the WHS team. During the off-seasons, she plays volleyball at South County Club, Rhode Island. In her free time she enjoys working out, listening to music, reading a variety of books, and going to the beach. In her future she aspires to a career in sports management and collegiate level volleyball.
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