Athlete Leadership Team Begins Its First Year


The Athlete Leadership Team meeting the Friday before Thanksgiving.

Emrie Good, Editor

New to La Salle this year is the Athlete Leadership Team, which is a program designed to bring together selected members of each sports team at La Salle who showed characteristics of being strong leaders, as identified by their coaches.

This selected group of leaders will have nutritionists, guest speakers, and motivators, like Keith Hawkins and Elliot Waksman, throughout the year to help them grow their leadership skills and support them to reach out and work with not only their fellow teammates, but also the whole La Salle community.

P.E. teacher Mrs. Schuster explains the purpose of this program: “We’re trying to put together a cohesive group of [students with] leadership skills and asking for a call [for] action.” This team of leaders is to help support not only each individual of their own teams, but also to bring the team and school together as a whole.

Baseball player Dave Bryan, a junior, shares his ambitions for this new team: “I hope to develop the life goal of working together with others,” he says. “Like putting the desires of the team before my own desires.”

The selected athletes meet once every month to meet with various specialists to better understand their roles and responsibilities of being a leader. In the most recent meeting, taking place right before Thanksgiving break, the leaders met with Elliot Waksman, a sports psychologist from Portland Sport Psychology.

During this meeting, Waksman had various interactive games with prizes and also provided quiet time for self reflection.

Waksman also used personal experiences to show the impact of psychology. He talked about a wrestler who lost his ambition for competitions and practices. Waksman taught him that his own mindset affects the outcome, and Waksman said that is the key to success for the future and what sports psychology is all about, and he explained that the only thing that changed in the wrestler was his mindset. “I taught him mental skills but he went out and did it,” Waksman said.

Varsity volleyball player Emmerson Smith, a junior, plans to use insight from the Athlete Leadership Team for next years’ season: “I’m looking forward to next volleyball season, using what I have learned in this group to make our team and program better.”

Dave Bryan shares his takeaway from this specific month’s meeting: “I learned that in order for the team to succeed, everyone needs to work hard and put in full effort every day. Our team will only go as far as our leaders are willing to take us.”

Rachel Primack, a junior on the girls varsity soccer team, said that in the most recent meeting “I’ve learned about the importance of leadership and how to apply it to the sports I play.”

Waksman then gave the leaders time for self reflection on past and future seasons and how they could have and could be improved. A challenge that one of the student athletes identified as sometimes happening was not treating the underclassman equally. The same leader then explained that they should be shown that they have a place not only on the field or court, but always.

Looking forward to the rest of the year, Kyrne Li, a senior and member of the boys varsity soccer team, said his personal goal for these meeting is that “I hope to find out what a true leader would do in tough decisions.”