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Barwon Sports Academy began its 11th year of providing support for talented young athletes on 22 February with a Trademark session led by performance improvement facilitators, Leading Teams.

One hundred of our region’s most talented athletes from over 15 different sports participated on the night, all with the common goal of reaching their full potential. Young athletes ranging from 12-18 years old took part; some first year BSA members whilst others were returning for up to their sixth year.

Key questions they were asked to consider included:

  • Who do I represent when I turn up to train, play or attend an event?
  • What can I contribute to the culture of the organisation?
  • What behaviors will positively impact?
  • Which will have a negative impact?
  • Then, an often more difficult one for young people: how do I react if I see behavior that is not within our expected trademark? How do I reward and encourage great behavior?

Many parents will not recall doing much culture building activity in our junior sport days. Sure, we got a stern word from the coach if we were ‘playing up’ and maybe a quiet reprimand from our parents on the way home.

But our team mates almost certainly didn’t provide much of the feedback as juniors. In senior sport less tolerance was probably shown from our adult peers but kids, not wanting to come across as a ‘big head’, probably let poor behavior slide for the coach to deal with.

What is culture?

What is culture and why is it beneficial to have our young teams decide upon the behaviors they will and will not tolerate from each other?

Listening to Jake Bridges lead the BSA athletes through this process reminded me of how powerful it is to have a ‘leaderful’ team. To have player-driven expectations where there is ‘buy in’ from each player in order to make a positive contribution to the teams function.

In 40+ years of being involved in sport, kids always seem to want to be on the winning team. The question is, how does this winning team form? What are the qualities required and how does empowering the players on the field create a better chance for success?

Setting goals

The BSA athletes may come from various sports but the common understanding is that they all must set goals, both personal and within their sport.

Part of this is training goals and health goals. If each athlete is to get the most out of the strength and conditioning sessions we run then their colleagues must be of the right mindset, have similar standards and respect the behaviors required for each session to be maximum value. This is a powerful environment.

Talented basketballer Jack Terrill shared with the group that it was through seeing 2017 BSA athlete, and now AIS member Agnes Emma Nnopu, shake hands and thank her trainer sincerely after every session that he decided he too would show such respect. The power of leading by example!

Leading by example

As the 2018 group start out we do so with a reminder of the environment that a 14-year-old Jakara Anthony entered only five years ago.

Void of a local training environment, this young Mogul skier arrived at her first session with the trepidation and nervousness of a school girl at a new school. It wasn’t long before the likes of Jacinta Carroll, Pat Crisp (water-skiing) and Eliza Kol (swimming) provided the example of a ‘focused and driven athlete’. Jakara soon found comfort in the fact that she was surrounded by other athletes, all on their own personal journey of self-improvement and all possibly playing a small roll in this future Winter Olympian’s path.

From Jake’s facilitation we now have trademark behaviors that our athletes will try to live by. They will encourage each other, try to learn how to correct training partners if they lose focus, and certainly reward positive behavior as often as possible.

This week we will take the U16 Geelong Falcons through a similar process and with some commitment and follow-through our ‘ME’ focus that many enter with will hopefully become a ‘WE’ focus that can increase our chances of success.

A version of this blog was also published by the Geelong Advertiser.

 

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