UW Athletics Provides Access to Renowned Jeff Janssen Sports Leadership Center

Sept. 30, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. - For the second consecutive year and as part of the Excellence at 7220 programming for 2015-16, the University of Wyoming coaches and student-athletes participated in the Jeff Janssen Leadership Retreat on the UW Campus today. Widely considered the world's top expert on Sports Leadership, Jeff Janssen is the founder and president of the Janssen Sports Leadership Center.

This intensive Leadership Retreat provided UW leaders with the leadership skills, strategies, and insights they need to assist UW student-athletes succeed on the playing fields, in the classroom, on campus, and in the community. UW student-athlete leaders from all sports bonded and created strong leadership relationships as they learned how to tackle the tough issues of being a responsible and respected team leader.

Janssen has authored several books and the Cowboys & Cowgirls are using “Team Captain’s Leadership Manual” as a resource to help themselves become better leaders throughout the academic year.

Julie Ammary, a Leadership Academy Director at Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and leading member of the JJLC, led the Retreat with expertise. The Leadership Retreat included three workshops throughout the day. One for coaches, one for emerging student-athlete leaders, and one for veteran student-athlete leaders. Each two-hour workshop was interactive, reflective, and engaging.

In the coaches’ workshop, staff members learned how to enhance their connection with their respective student-athletes, how to build student leaders, and how to motivate and inspire the individuals on their team. Coaches interacted with coaches from other sport teams and learned from each other in a roundtable format. Considering coaches are already high-level leaders, the workshop helped coaches review, evaluate and revise their techniques and strategies for building a strong leaders on their team.

For the two retreats held that evening and designed for the student-athletes, head coaches selected individuals they believed to be emerging and veteran student leaders on their team.

THE INTENSIVE LEADERSHIP RETREAT IS STRUCTURED TO HELP UW COACHES CREATE STRONG STUDENT-ATHLETE LEADERS WHO:

- understand their impact on your athletic department's success on and off the playing fields
- minimize and prevent such problematic issues as underage and binge drinking, hazing, gambling, sexual violence, etc.
- hold themselves and their teammates accountable to represent UW with pride and class
- keep UW teams focused despite the inevitable distractions, disappointments, and challenges of a typical school year
- effectively partner with their coaches to create a strong leadership team
- create a positive climate of success that permeates the entire UW athletic department

In the emerging leaders retreat, student-athletes reflected on the type of leadership they project. For example, analyzing whether they are leaders by example or vocal leaders. Emerging student leaders also learned how they can support their veteran student leaders on the team and how they improve their own leadership skills.

In the veteran student leader retreat, student athletes determined what kind of leader they were. The student-athletes evaluated their strengths and weaknesses in leadership and areas where they felt they could improve. The student-athletes also discussed how to continue to be strong leaders even when facing adversity. The veteran student leaders participated in a fun, interactive exercise where each student-athlete had a blindfolded partner and had to lead the partner through a maze of cones (indicative of the ups and downs of a season and the adversity teams are likely to experience) solely by verbal communication. This led to a discussion about effective and ineffective means of communication.

Head women’s soccer coach, Pete Cuadrado, has been subscribing to Janssen’s philosophy and leadership approach for eight years. Already bought into Janssen’s program, Cuadrado was quite pleased to have his team leaders not only read Janssen’s book, but to have first-hand experience with staff from the JJLC and to participate in the Leadership Retreat with student-athletes from other UW sport teams on the UW campus. Cuadrado believes the retreat for his student leaders is especially beneficial because it gives them a chance to really evaluate themselves and focus on how to improve. He also appreciates that it allows the student leaders to have an open discussion with a facilitator like Julie Ammary on leadership and thereby gives the student leaders more confidence to lead their team. Cuadrado enjoyed the coaches’ workshop because it reinforced the things he feels he is doing right, reminded him of things he needs to improve upon, and also provided him with new ideas.

UW Athletics will have the Jeff Janssen Leadership Center back on campus in early spring for a follow-up retreat with UW coaches and student-athletes.