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The Seven Hills School Launches Athletic Leadership Team

This fall, for the first time in the history of The Seven Hills School’s athletic program, the school formalized Seven Hills Athletic Leadership Team (SHALT), an ongoing initiative set around a 10-week program structure, that brings together coaches and select student athletes for workshops and guided discussions. The program—based on nationally known sports leader Jeff Jansen’s The Team Captain’s Leadership Manual—has typically been used on the collegiate level, but is gaining the attention of upper school athletics educators.
“Historically, school coaches elect or appoint captains but don’t focus on teaching students to be captains or leaders,” said Brian Phelps, Seven Hills athletic director. “In the past, we expected these young people to know how to lead others just by giving them the title.”
The idea to launch the program sprang from Phelps’ desire to educate students on athletic leadership before asking them to be responsible for such a role. Phelps’ vision to equip Seven Hills student athletes with genuine and relevant leadership training starts with a student-teacher partnership with four Seven Hills coaches—Bryce Carlson, Tim Drew, Nick Francis, and Erin Wierzba—who, along with Phelps, will lead the program. In August, the athletic leadership team coaches nominated students representing every Seven Hills athletic team to participate in the program’s pilot year. Some of the group’s student members are team captains and some are student athletes who embrace their roles and regularly bring positive energy to their teams.
“Sports leadership at Seven Hills is built upon a foundation of trust and clear expectations,” said Phelps. “We are committed to promoting sportsmanship, ethical behavior, and integrity. We emphasize participation and the development of skills in grades one through six so the school can field its most competitive teams in grades seven through 12.”
Seven Hills’ athletic department fosters an atmosphere where competition is balanced with the development of positive self-esteem of each student athlete, throughout their years at Seven Hills, and beyond.
“We want our students to know what it means to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat, to know they are part of something special,” said Phelps. “And when they graduate and look back on their experience as an athlete at Seven Hills, we want them to realize the adversity they faced through their athletic experiences will translate into their abilities to successfully navigate the adversities and embrace the victories they will face in life.”