Administrator’s Corner: Playing for a Great Cause

Administrator’s Corner by Afton Wacholz

Education-based athletics is an opportunity for students to grow and develop, not only as athletes but also as human beings. We value sports because we believe students who are involved acquire something meaningful through their participation.

Coaches and athletes at Albert Lea High School are joining in the crusade to be intentional with the impact they can make outside of the game. Playing for more than just the outcome of the game is one of the simplest strategies toward achieving the greater cause.

Leadership in all facets of life is about serving others around us to make their lives a little better.

The Minnesota State High School League has teamed up with the InSideOut Initiative to offer member schools the tools needed to achieve this greater cause. The purpose of the InSideOut Initiative is to transform the current “win-at-all-costs” sports culture, where the value is often defined by the scoreboard, into one that defines and promotes sports as a human growth experience. The initiative provides a blueprint for systemic change.

We must all become aware of the purpose of sport in our student’s lives.

ALHS has just begun to uncover the impact the initiative can have on our coaching staff. The InSideOut philosophy centers on the belief that to be a better coach, you have to be a better you. To be a better you, you must spend time reflecting on your own experiences, and then develop a personal game plan for you and for the human growth of your student-athletes.

We, as adults, need to be examples in this culture change, not through just our words but, most importantly, through our actions. The growth and development of each student’s human potential can only be fostered if the adults who are in charge are aware of and intentional about their transformative purpose.

Coaches who engage in the InSideOut Initiative learn the disciplines to develop their human potential and transformational coaching philosophy. For this to be sustained in a win-at- all-cost culture, there must be support. Training coaches alone is not enough.

Without the support of the school community, the current win-at-all-cost sports culture will continue to make winning the only value that comes from participation. School boards, superintendents, administrators, activities directors, coaches, parents and communities all have a vital role in reclaiming the transformative power of sports.

ALHS head coaches make up our school’s implementation team that will continue to drive efforts forward in this initiative. Their current focus centers around their individual purpose statements with these reflections in mind: Why do I coach? Why do I coach the way I do? How does it feel to be coached by me? How do I define success?

If our goals are not in align with our purpose, we have lost the value of education-based athletics.

As we work to bring our own transformational purpose statements to the forefront, consider your impact and keep the focus on the cause. Coaches and athletes will most definitely benefit from these impacts much longer than they will the outcome of any game.

We now look to our community to be our partners in this movement to regain our focus toward education-based athletics.

We are Tigers!

Afton Wacholz is the activities director for Albert Lea High School.

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