Minnesota high school coaches will have a rare chance to come together, learn and share information about what really matters in their profession, and I’m not talking about what the scoreboard says when the final horn blows.
A series of conferences called “Why We Play” will be held this week at two sites, sponsored by the MSHSL, the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association and the Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. Nearly 700 coaches have registered. The conference will be presented twice this Thursday, Aug. 1, at Bethel University in St. Paul. The first session will begin at 8:15 a.m. and the second session will start at 3:15 p.m. A third session will be held Aug. 7 at Grand Rapids High School, beginning at 9 a.m.
“Coaches have limitless opportunities to provide students with meaningful, life-changing experiences,” said MSHSL associate director Jody Redman, who is the Why We Play coordinator. “This can only happen if coaches establish a clear coaching purpose and are intentional about providing students with more than physical skill development. They need to be aware that positive responses to student-athletes mistakes have a decided impact, they need to define their success by more than the outcome on the scoreboard, and they must become fully aware of the reasons why they coach the way they do.”
The format of the conferences includes guest speakers and small break-out sessions to explore ways to become purposeful coaches. Speakers include:
--Dr. Jeff Duke, an expert on the cultural influence of the coaching profession in our society. He has developed and authored the “3Dimensional Pyramid of Coaching Success” concept that has revolutionized the coaching landscape. He is a professor in the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He will speak at the two Bethel University conferences about “Success as Coached Through the Lens of Joy.”
--Mark Hull, the Wisconsin state director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and presenter for the FCA Coaches Academy and Three Dimensional Coaching, will speak at the Grand Rapids conference. He will open that conference with “Success: From Great to Good.”
--The co-founders of St. Paul-based Top 20 Training, Tom Cody and Willow Sweeney, will conduct multiple sessions at all three conferences. Since 2000, Top 20 Training has been empowering youth and adults to make a positive difference in the quality of their lives, relationships and experiences. They have trained more than 200,000 teachers and coaches nationwide. Cody and Sweeney will address “The Line: How Our Inner Life Determines Our Experience” and “Learning from Mistakes: Moving Outside Our Comfort Zone.”
Faculty members of the MSHSL’s Head Coaches Course -- who are athletics and activities directors of member schools -- will facilitate small-group breakout sessions.
Redman said, “These conferences are a tremendous opportunity for the League and our co-sponsors to reach a very important audience — coaches — with some exciting and innovative information that has the potential to change lives — their own and that of their student-athletes.”