Up-Close Learning

November 18, 2014

Nearly 100 coaches gathered at the MHSAA office on Saturday, Nov. 1, for more than six hours of learning in Level 1 of the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program. What occurred that day demonstrates the MHSAA’s commitment to a particular teaching and learning model we have chosen for its effectiveness, not its ease.

It would have been much simpler to put the 100 coaches in a single room and rotate three lecturers in front of them, and still simpler if everyone participated online in the isolation of their homes. But CAP is not delivered in either of those ways.

Rather, on Nov. 1, the nearly 100 coaches were placed in three separate rooms, so the presenters could see everyone’s eyes and read everyone’s faces and address everyone’s questions and concerns.

And, within those smaller rooms, the coaches sat in pods with four or five other coaches for more practical and often deeper discussion than the larger group setting allows.

Meanwhile, in an even more intimate fourth room, another 20 coaches completed the sixth and final level of the Coaches Advancement Program.

In an online world there is still a place for face-to-face teaching and learning. This is especially true in coaching where interpersonal relationships have more to do with determining success and failure than Xs and Os.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.