Sports Leadership to become elective class next year

In the upcoming school year, Spring Valley High School will add a new elective course, Sports Leadership, which teaches athletes how to cooperate with teammates and manage tough situations both during and after game time. The class  started out as a club this year, but is now being turned into a year-long elective where student athletes will be able to learn leadership skills.

“The Sports Leadership Program teaches how to deal with adversity, ways to approach situations, a lot of the intangibles that people don’t teach our young athletes, and basically just gives them all the situations on how to be successful mentally,” said Athletic Director William Hemberger, who along with Bowling Coach Kyle Martin, wrote the general objectives of the course and presented it to the curriculum board.

This year, coaches were asked to recommend their best athletes and team leaders to participate in the weekly workshops. With repeated meetings and discussions, Hemberger aimed to strengthen athletes mentally and not just physically for the game.

“ We better the methods of how to lead our teammates and better ourselves,” said Jacob Teems-Robinson who plays varsity basketball. “ I joined the program to better my aspect of taking criticism.”

This is also an opportunity to discover who the potential leaders are for coaches. The factors that make up a leader, according to Hemberger, are work ethic, trustworthiness, and caring towards teammates. Hemberger also said that three questions can be asked to identify leaders: Can you guys trust me? How can I help you? Do you care about me?

“If you show that trust, you show that help, and you show that care, you can be a phenomenal leader,” said Hemberger. 

Mr. Nathan Pangelinan, who coaches women’s flag football, men’s football, and the track and field team, agreed that the Sports Leadership club has made a positive impact on his athletes and looks forward to recommending them for the class next year.

“It helps them find their voice and allows them to be able to say the things they thought before, but they just never knew how to do it,” said Coach Pangelinan.

Even with Sports Leadership now being offered as an elective, Hemberger hopes the club will continue for students who do not have room in their schedules. The program was designed for students to take action and run the club with the members perspectives. Hemberger doesn’t want to necessarily teach, or tell the students, but to basically view and discuss the different perspective of topics. He intends to continue developing the curriculum by having each group create a lesson that will be taught in the class next year.

“The club was to see their (members) interests, how the kids react to it, what do they think about it, and I’ve gotten a very positive response,” said Hemberger.

Hemberger invites students who are afraid or timid about being a leader to still join because it’s all about getting out the comfort zone.

One of the lessons to help students overcome this fear is to teach them how to deal with their weaknesses. Hemberger states that most students don’t excel because they’re either too shy or too cool to do it. This class will remove those two factors to help students be themselves, and to be a great leader.

The Sports Leadership class focuses on acknowledging weaknesses, in order to turn them into strengths.

“Think about how you would write with your weak hand,” said Hemberger. “If we are able to write with our weak hand as good as we can with our strong hand, and get out the comfort zone, that is what the class is all about.”

Hemberger said he looks forward to teaching the class next year, not only because he loves sports, but he loves to help students become stronger leaders both during and after gameplay.

“I live, breathe, eat, and sleep sports,” said Hemberger.

For more information about the class, students can go to room 202 and speak with Coach Hemberger.