InSideOut Best Practices: Woodridge Local School District in Ohio

We love hearing directly from leaders implementing InSideOut strategies in their programs and learning about how becoming an InSideOut School has positively impacted their school communities.

To celebrate the work being done by InSideOut partners, we’re highlighting their values-based leadership and culture-changing efforts here on the blog. Today, we’re featuring one of our Ohio partners in the Woodridge Local School District: Athletics and Activities Director Nick Mayer. 

Nick Mayer on Phase 1 of InSideOut Implementation

Mayer’s InSideOut journey began after he saw Joe speak at a state athletic directors conference. From there, his team began talking with district coaches before presenting their implementation plan to the Board of Education.

We got our booster club members and coaches in the same room discussing relevant and great topics geared toward making our experience as beneficial as possible for our kids,” Mayer told us. “And that is a positive thing for us going forward.” 

His team is currently completing their book study, which Mayer says has been going great. To date, they have already implemented a variety of activities and processes to move toward a more transformational and purpose-based environment, including:

  • Updating coaches’ evaluations to reflect aspects of transformational coaching. 
  • Holding a pre-season head coaches meeting to discuss the four big questions (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?) as well as their goals and purpose for the upcoming season.
  • Setting up a new coaches meeting to provide professional development, with a focus on building culture.
    • Created and distributed a coaches expectations document
    • Created a purpose statement, which was posted on social media and is used in coaches meetings and student athlete-parent meetings
    • Provided a recommended book list and list of other resources for coaches
  • Finalizing an athletic department mantra/slogan (in progress). 
  • Implementing a Woodridge Athletics Book Club for the 2019-20 school year, in which community members, coaches, etc. will work on two books, holding conference calls over the course of the semester to discuss various topics.

Though his staff are still early on in the process, Mayer says he’s already seeing change since starting on the InSideOut Implementation Pathway. 

“Our coaches definitely understand what our emphasis is and what to spend their time cultivating,” he said. “We have seen them slowly understand that the idea of winning isn’t at the forefront of our mind in terms of evaluating the success of a program. That has helped to create longevity amongst our staff, because they don’t feel the pressure to constantly look for the edge to win as the ultimate goal, although winning is still important.”

Mayer hopes Woodridge students benefit subconsciously from the effect that the attitude of their coaches toward the InSideOut Initiative has on them. “If the coaches care about the person over the player, we feel that will impact the student experience and will lead to higher participation numbers and more kids affected in a positive way.”

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We’re fortunate to work with more than 2,700 schools and nearly 1,500 ADs across 12 states—and we often hear inspirational stories about life-sustaining athletics experiences, and communities putting student-athletes’ health and well-being at the center of their programs.

If you are doing transformational work in education-based athletics, we want to hear from you!

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