Workshop taught players, parents and coaches about leadership and self-esteem in sports.
Victoria Juarez and Nanki Bhullar
THE SANTA CLARA
October 16, 2014
Notable athletes spoke about leadership in sports during the first installment of the Jerry Smith Coaching for Life Academy.
The academy, which was held at Santa Clara on Oct. 9, is intended to teach students, parents and coaches about how sports can increase self-esteem, as well as reinforce leadership skills, healthy habits, communication and teamwork. It was created through a partnership between the School of Education and Counseling Psychology and the Athletics and Recreation Department.
Jerry Smith, head coach of the Santa Clara women’s soccer team and founder of the Jerry Smith Coaching for Life Academy, began coaching at Santa Clara in the spring of 1987. He was named the National Coach of the Year in 2001 when his team won Santa Clara’s first NCAA championship. Seventeen of his players have gone on to play for the U.S. National Team.
At the event, Smith addressed the importance of not only being a coach, but also being a teacher, parent and mentor. He spoke about how it is important for athletes to be well-rounded individuals, not just talented players.
Santa Clara President Michael Engh, S.J., said he shared Smith’s desire to help produce leaders both on and off the field.
“It’s not about winning or losing, its about how you play, how hard you play…the decisions that you make,” Engh said.
The program had a panel featuring Dan O’Brien, Santa Clara baseball head coach; Brandi Chastain ‘91, FIFA world cup champion and Olympic gold medalist; and Randy Winn ‘95, former MLB player and analyst for CSN Bay Area. They answered questions about the importance of having the opportunity to play multiple sports, improving self-esteem and being a role model in sports.
“You didn’t get involved (in sports) to be a pro, you got involved because you were passionate about it and you loved it,” Chastain said. “You have to put your best foot forward at all times.”
O’Brien said that coaches should treat their players as people, not just athletes, in order to positively impact their self-esteem.
“If you truly care (about your players), be honest and it will be a valuable and meaningful conversation,” said O’Brien. “People think it needs to be all ‘rah-rah’ and a lot of patting on the back, but people are forgetting about personal relationships.”
The Coaching for Life Academy will offer seminars and professional development workshops throughout the academic year. In addition to these programs, the Coaching for Life Academy is also working toward establishing a new master’s program in sports leadership.