Athletes Talk Leadership and Relationships
THE SANTA CLARA
January 28, 2016
Several sports legends came to campus Tuesday to talk about the opportunities for character growth and development in competitive sports.
The speakers at the event included , an NFL referee who graduated from Santa Clara in 1972, George Seifert, a former 49ers coach, Tina Syer from the Positive Coaching Alliance, Ronnie Lott, a retired player from the San Francisco 49ers, Brandi Chastain, a university alumna and former U.S. Olympic team soccer player and Jack Clark, coach of the University of California, Berkeley’s rugby team.
All of the speakers present at the event drew from their different roles and experiences in the sports world to talk about ethics and leadership.
Seifert and Pereira tackled the negative press that football has received of late. They acknowledged the danger of concussions, but said that the game still has upsides.
They emphasized the role of leadership that coaches play in helping develop their players.
“As you develop a relationship with the player, you develop an understanding of a player,” Seifert said. “What is it that you can do to bring out the best in a player? You adjust to your players. You adapt and sometimes it takes coaches longer than it should to figure it out.”
Clark talked in the panel about his relationship with his players and how he was able to connect with them despite the difference between generations of collegiate athletes.
“Things change and I wanna change with them,” he said. “It’s either you change, evolve or look for another job.”
Pereira also talked about the unique dynamic between officiators, coaches and players.
“Our job (as officiators) is to protect our players and our officials and … consider what’s going on in their head,” he said.
As a female athlete, Chastain talked about her struggle having hardly any professional athlete role models to look up to.
“As a parent, I feel like your responsibility is to be a role model for your kids,” Chastain said. “My mother was a very strong, very passionate, very all-inclusive person. And then my father was so supportive. They were full-in. Having that from the get-go was just a springboard that set me off into the air.”
Lott talked about how sports can positively influence people and about the impact they can have on lower income families in the Bay Area.
“Sports allows you a platform to speak. I think we can influence a lot of people and continue to influence a lot of people,” he said. “And we believe that. This is not, in my mind, a paid event. This is an opportunity to influence people.”
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