Taking the Reins in Sports Leadership

Taking the Reins in Sports Leadership
Taking the Reins in Sports Leadership

by Mark Ralph, Physical Education Team Leader

At Yokohama International School our Physical Education (PE) program is intended to help students:

LIVE with an understanding and an appreciation of wellness.

LEARN to enjoy, engage with, and be confident in physical activity.

LEAD themselves and others through sport and physical challenge.

Leadership is a key component of the YIS experience, and students are regularly given opportunities to find out what leadership looks like for them. The role and scope of PE has evolved since the painful days of rolling out the balls, and picking teams based on ability at the start of the lesson. In Grade 9 PE, our students are given the opportunity to become 'sports leaders' and create their own 'season of sport'. The sports leadership unit is longer than all other units and gives the students ownership over its content, structure and organization. Students will be split into working groups, and will be given a YIS Live/Learn/Lead T-shirt in their team color, a first for the course. The T-shirts symbolize the importance of a strong team ethic and the sense of belonging. Students have to work together, compete together and solve complex problems together for the duration of the unit.

Within each team, students choose a role to play throughout the season. They learn the responsibilities of their role, study how the role's system of work affects other systems of work, and evaluate how efficiency can be achieved through communication and collaboration. The roles available to them are Sports Board, Duty Team, Referee, Coach, Captain, Communications/Media and Events. Once students define their role within their team, their job will start.

In previous years, we have been impressed by the level of organization, leadership and cooperation that emerges throughout this long unit. Students have been incredibly independent, creating websites to demonstrate progress and showcasing the many remarkable achievements each week. We have had end-of-season awards ceremonies, guest speakers and even cakes baked for the last game of the season. All of this is student initiated and led, and the students will have no restrictions on how they can develop this unit. It is a very exciting opportunity that we are confident every Grade 9 student will find challenging and rewarding. Defining leadership within each individual context and carrying out their role throughout the season will provide our students with authentic experiences and skills that they can apply to situations beyond YIS.