COACHES CORNER: Leadership is influence

Adams Central huddles during a September 16 game against Heritage.

Leadership is such a crucial component for any team to be successful.

In many cases, it is very evident if a program lacks leadership, whether out of coaches or players.

In this week’s Coaches Corner, I am going to talk about how leadership is influential and how it plays a huge role in a team’s performance on Friday nights.

Having competitive players on the field, a strong brotherhood in the locker room and winning a state championship are things every coach strives to achieve. Where that starts is determined by how the foundation is laid for each program. That foundation is laid by everyone taking a role in the leadership from top to bottom; the backbone being the head coach and captains of the team.

I have been very fortunate to play for and work for programs that have established the ultimate model of leadership within. I believe great leadership starts with developing and building a great culture in a program. It is very important to understand your role as a team leader to help ensure success and accomplish the three objectives mentioned above.

Being an effective leader starts with having exceptional character and communication skills while also having the ability to be honest with yourself as well as your teammates. If you are a leader or captain of the team, you should know the players and personalities across the entire locker room inside and out. A true leader should make an effort to have a relationship with all players on the roster and talk to them on and off the field, offering words of encouragement and motivation.

In every aspect of life, a ‘team’ can always accomplish so much more than an ‘individual’ can. If you want to lead your team to a championship, you have to always keep the ultimate goal(s) in mind and constantly revisit those goals and make sure everyone on the team knows what it will take to achieve them. Everyone will have bad practice days and flaws on Friday nights, but what matters most is how the leaders reset the tone and mindset the next day.

To lead you must be a leader, and to be a leader you must have great leadership skills. To get results that a team is seeking, leaders must clearly state the expectations. I am a firm believer that someone who becomes a great leader on their team becomes a great leader in the workforce as well. There are so many great coaches and players in the Fort Wayne area that display outstanding servant leadership and I look forward to continuing to see them do so.

Wes Painter is a new contributor to Outside the Huddle. He played football at both Snider High School and Indiana State University. Following his playing career, Painter coached defensive line and special teams for the Sycamores before moving back to Fort Wayne. He served as an assistant coach at North Side from 2019-20.

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