New club teaches leadership among athletes

Athletic Director, William Hemberger, has begun the journey of investing into Spring Valley athletes by teaching leadership skills in a new club. Hemberger is eager to instill a positive change in the work ethic of athletes, and hopes to turn the club into an actual class next year. 

Hemberger was inspired by Bob Rogers, an athletic director and basketball coach at Point Guard College, who created a program similar to the Sports Leadership Program named Captain’s Council. It made Hemberger start to question how to enhance sports at Spring Valley and gave him the inspiration to create a similar program.

“I want the kids to learn to discipline themselves so life doesn’t have to,” explained Hemberger.

Students in the class enter the room and are posed a question and expected to discuss it. They learn the steps to become an effective and respected leader, when it is appropriate to follow, and how to create long lasting relationships among their teammates.

“The program is beneficial in terms of making athletes stronger and keeping their head in the game,” said Jacob Teems-Robinson, Varsity cross country runner who attends the SLP meetings. “It motivates you and shows you different ways in which to approach situations that are in need of leadership.”

Each coach supports Hemberger in creating this curriculum, offering their faith to him as he builds their athlete’s mindset up. The program was created mainly for the athletes but coaches also benefit.

“It is hard to be a coach as well as being the somewhat therapist to the kids, very difficult to balance all of that.” Hemberger continued and explained, “My goal is to not make anymore work on the coaches than they already have because they put a tremendous amount of time in what they do.”

Coaches including Mr.  Nathan Pangelinan, Varsity track coach, and Mrs. Caroline Saenz-Fernandez, Women’s softball coach, expect positive changes from their athletes. Fernandez said she included students in the program from B-Team to Varsity. Fernandez believes in the program greatly and offered to help Coach Hemberger with lesson plans.

“Whether they are an upperclassman or coming back from their freshman year as a sophomore, I expect the girls to come back with confidence and the ability to help new coming players on the team,” Fernandez said

“This is the best thing that has happened to the school in the past 12 years,” Robert Bloom, Varsity tennis coach, said. “I want my athletes to come out with knowledge of taking control and an understanding of management skills.”