Give ME a Staff Inservice that Actually WORKS

Teacher #1: "We have a teacher inservice today, after school." 
Teacher #2: "DANG! O well, at least I have some papers that need grading." 
Teacher #1: "Shame on you! I'm sure we'll be doing something good, something that we can use in our classrooms." 
Teacher #2: "I've heard that before! I tell you, if I could attend just one inservice that actually did something to help me, It would be a MIRACLE."

As a high school social studies teacher who taught for 22 years, I can vouch for the above conversation; I've heard it many, many times. It's not that we as teachers, coaches, employees don't want to improve or be improved, it just seems that whatever advice/help that gets set up for us, doesn't actually address OUR BIGGEST NEEDS.

SportsLeader is working to change that! And it started last weekend with Xenia high school's football staff led by veteran head coach, Bob DeLong.


Head Coach, Bob DeLong leading the way, doing personal strengths and weaknesses.

Bob DeLong has been coaching football for a long time. Compiling a 104-80 record over 18 years, his record is a testimony to his commitment, problem-solving ability and perseverance. And despite his success, Bob confided to me a few months ago that he was struggling in a number of aspects as leader of his team. After some discussion, we agreed that including a staff inservice on TEAM BUILDING, provided by SportsLeader, accompany his yearly coaches retreat. It could really help foster communication and clarify expectations for next years season.


Indian Hallow Blue Jacket Cabin in Indian Lake, OH where the Xenia football coaches retreat was held…minus the snow!

What happened, according to Coach DeLong, was one of those rare occurrences of such power and emotion; it could barely be put into words. Thankfully, Bob, tried. What follows is that attempt to put his staff inservice's experience to words:


Our coaching staff is like most high school staffs that I have ever been on. We work hard, having our coaching job, our teaching job and even having other coaching jobs! On top of that, we are constantly struggling with family lives, work responsibilities and the demands to perform as coaches and men. We are all at various stages of our families and careers. The older guys have some freedom of time really never enjoyed before, the young guys struggle to have a social life with the demands of coaching and the guys in the middle are constantly juggling the balancing act of football, family and work.


Xenia assistant football coaches, some of Xenia's best MEN!

As a head coach for almost 20 years, I have struggled from time to time with the feeling that there were very few people in the fox hole with me. I know I have coaches that give it all, DAILY! But sometimes it feels like we are more broken into our separate parts instead of being united together. So I decided that although we have used SportsLeader for our 1 on 1 mentoring and our parent ceremonies, what we really NEEDED from SportsLeader was to help out with our coaching staff and our staff unity.


Xenia football coaches busily completing their individual leadership profiles.

Once we arrived and settled down, Coach Willertz put us to work! Before leaving I had had our staff complete a peer assessment tool on their fellow coaches to prepare their hearts for what would ensue. Once there, we completed our own individual leadership profile surveys, this showed us what our communication style is like and how it works for us, BUT ALSO how it can hinder our fellow coaches/players and the potential negative influence we might have on others. What a revelation! There were so many AHA moments, I couldn't keep track!


Xenia football coaches revealing some of their greatest triumphs and some of their greatest struggles.

Soon, walls that we had unsuspectedly erected, were being broken down as we discovered we were more similar than we were different. All of us had overcome challenges, been instructed by coaches we would never forget, and been a part of great brotherhoods, we called teams. We realized, almost at the same time, that the love we experienced on those teams, the love that we thought was lost forever with our ailing bodies was being resurrected, IN THE HERE AND NOW, with men we thought we knew.


Coach Cory Burnette, Xenia offensive coordinator being strengthened by his fellow coaches.

Probably the highlight of the evening was our strengths and weaknesses session. Each coach went up and told the staff what value they thought they brought to the staff and what they thought they needed to correct or improve. Then, the other coaches were allowed to affirm the coach's strength but also to speak honestly from the heart what they thought the coach needed, HAD TO improve for the sake of the team. The loving, brutal honesty, meant to help each and every coach there, was so moving! The weekend could not have turned out any better.


I have had more than half of my coaching staff tell me that this was the best inservice they had ever attended and definitely our best weekend football coaches retreat. SportsLeader continues to impact our coaches, our families and our athletes for the better. In this day and age when everyone agrees how hard it is, SportsLeader is there to stand in the gap with us, to be there for all of us and the families we serve. Thanks SportsLeader!


Make no mistake about it, we ALL are an integral part of some type of team, no matter whether we realize it or not. Tragically, too many people DON'T REALIZE this, leaving their teammates to think they are alone. Be a leader on your team and start doing something for those teammates, TODAY! And if you're not sure what to do, give us a call, we're in the business of helping teams out!

Chris Willertz 
More Than A Coach: SportsLeader!