The North West University (NWU) Vaal Triangle Campus will be a centre of sport leadership development in October this year.
This comes as the university will host the inaugural African Sport Leadership Programme (ASLP).
The programme is spearheaded by Dr Chrisna Botha-Ravyse and Bianca Els, both from the university’s www.nwu. ac.za/FacultyofEconomicSciencesandIT” \\nFaculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology.
According to experts, the ASLP represents a tailor-made, needs-based leadership growth series, focused on developing the aptitudes of individuals to lead the implementation of sport and physical activity-related interventions, as partners of multi-sectoral groups and teams operating on various levels.
Giving her opinion on the development, Els said that it was important to explain the importance and intricacies of leadership within the world of sport. Using the words of South Africa’s first democratic president, the late Nelson Mandela, Els said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire.
It has the power to unite people in a way that little else can. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” Mandela said these powerful words at the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony in 2000 and Els said that their meaning will ring true for generations to come.
“It not only bears testament to the unifying and transformative nature of sport, but also hints at sport as a leadership instrument. From primary school to professional arenas, sports nowadays are played in a very competitive environment. “Coaches and players feel the pressure to succeed and the degree of success is always measured in terms of winning or losing. That’s why the value of leadership should be accentuated as a critical element in any sport,” she.
The success of teams is as good as that of their managers or coaches and the ASLP initiative seeks to develop winning leaders. “Successful teams have strong leaders and the performance of a leader is very clear during training and matches. The leader’s contribution to the success of an athlete’s performance is significant, even though it less obvious in coactive situations. “It is often the responsibility of coaches and managers to motivate their athletes to reach their full potential but also to ensure the longevity of the athlete’s career.
How often does a coach get fired because his team lost? It therefore becomes apparent that the strategic direction of any sport should continuously be evaluated and strengthened via interventions such as the ASLP, to remain ahead of the curve and the latest trends within the very competitive world of sport,” Els said.
In his famous dictum, the great head coach of the Green Bay Packers American football team, Vince Lombardi, once said: “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
However, there has not been an easy formula to follow for those who want to be successful leaders and Els gives her opinions. “It is not easy to be an effective leader, it takes hard work to gain the confidence of your athletes and understand the motivational dynamics of each athlete.
Having the mere capacity to lead is simply not enough. The leader must be willing to use and hone his/her skills at all times. “The challenge remains in Africa that often our coaches, albeit brilliant at what they do on the field, lack essential leadership qualities.
Only once the importance of leadership in sport is embraced by all, from the athlete all the way up to the top administrator, will our coaches remain and our management be free from any allegations.
The latter refers to the countless accusations of corruption and misconduct within the sports sphere,” Els said. The question on many people’s minds is how ASLP will help bring about a new purpose and direction in leadership development.
However, Botha-Ravyse sums up the ASLP initiative saying: “We aim to vest collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches and initiatives to empower Africa’s sports scientists, sports physicians, athletes, coaches, technical persons, administrators and governing bodies with a view to produce far better results while building up a vital knowledge base.” The ASLP will take place in October and more information on the scheme will be made public in the course of the next few months.