MHSAA, NFHS Learning Center Team Up to Provide Online Student Leadership Series

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

August 10, 2023

Leadership always has been one of the most valuable and applicable life skills developed by student-athletes participating in educational athletics. To assist in that development, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) have partnered to produce an online Student Leadership series designed to provide the latest research-based instruction to high schoolers throughout the United States.

The Student Leadership series is provided as part of the web-based NFHS Learning Center and includes two free courses focused on students – “Becoming a Leader” and “Leading Others” – with a third installment for coaches currently in production. All three are inspired by the latest research on how youth-aged athletes learn to lead.

This latest work builds on the MHSAA-produced “Captains Course” developed in 2015 with Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports (ISYS). The “Captains Course” has been taken more than 100,000 times and is based on in-person “Captains Clinics” that MHSAA staff and ISYS conduct with thousands of students across Michigan each year.

Each student-focused segment of the new Student Leadership series takes 30-45 minutes to complete and includes frequent and quick activities designed to help students understand how they would apply leadership skills in real-life scenarios. Course instruction was created primarily in coordination with the MHSAA by a pair of nationally-recognized authorities on the subject: Jed Blanton, an assistant professor in kinesiology, recreation and sport studies at the University of Tennessee; and Scott Pierce, an associate professor in kinesiology and recreation at Illinois State University.

Both Blanton and Pierce have vast experience with youth athletics; both also formerly worked for the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and served as graduate assistants at the MHSAA during their time at MSU, playing large roles in more than a decade of research conducted through coordination with the MHSAA’s 16-member Student Advisory Council. High school administrators, student leaders, and other researchers and mental performance consultants also contributed to the lessons taught in these courses. The NFHS produced the content, including all of the visuals and digital features, and the student-focused courses went live on the NFHS Learn website in mid-summer.

“We’ve taken a good program, and made it even better,” said MHSAA Assistant Director Andy Frushour, who coordinates the Association’s student services programs. “This is a program we do in person in Michigan, but our reach now is across the country – and these courses are free, hopefully allowing us to contribute to the development of even more student leaders.”

The “Becoming a Leader” course defines leadership styles and builds skills to help students consider themselves as leaders. “Leading Others” details how leaders put those skills into practice including during challenging situations. Blanton and Pierce worked closely with student advisory groups from various states to make the research content relatable to school sports participants. All voices heard in the courses belong to high school students – including athletes from Michigan, Illinois and Washington who provided 30 testimonials that describe leadership in action.

The “Coaches Course” will provide the same information as presented to high school students, but in a way that explains how coaches can use these tools to personalize leadership training among their athletes as they seek to recognize which types of leaders they have on a team, and which types are missing and need to be developed.

“The NFHS is grateful for the opportunity to work with the MHSAA as well as Dr. Blanton and Dr. Pierce,” said Dan Schuster, the NFHS’ director of educational services. “We believe these student leadership courses will provide valuable information across the country and will contribute to the improvement of the interscholastic experience for young people.”

Video previews provide additional information on both Student Leadership courses.Click for direct links to “Becoming a Leader" and “Leading Others.”

Rockford, P-CCS Student Broadcasters Honored Among 'Stations of the Year'

By Jon Ross
MHSAA Director of Broadcast Properties

April 15, 2024

Rockford High School’s “Beyond The Rock” and Plymouth-Canton Community Schools’ “88.1 The Park” were among those named the 2024 Student Stations of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB).

Johnny Kane (Bally Spots Detroit), Mark Champion (Pistons Radio), Greg Kelser (Bally Sports Detroit), and Sam Klemet (MAB) participate in the panel discussion.Students from those schools and collegiate winners Hillsdale College (“Radio Free Hillsdale”) and Michigan State University (“School of Journalism”) were rewarded with a trip to a Detroit Pistons game Thursday, and participated in a panel discussion with Pistons’ broadcasters Mark Champion, Greg Kelser, and Johnny Kane. The event was moderated by the President/CEO of the MAB, Sam Klemet.

Student journalists from Davison, Cedar Springs, Troy Athens, Montrose, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, East Kentwood, Bloomfield Hills, Warren Cousino and Dearborn Heights Star International also received awards in high school visual and audio categories.

For a complete list of Michigan Student Broadcast Awards, click here.

PHOTOS (Top) Rockford students enjoy the Pistons game at Little Caesars Arena. (Middle) Johnny Kane (Bally Spots Detroit), Mark Champion (Pistons Radio), Greg Kelser (Bally Sports Detroit), and Sam Klemet (MAB) participate in the panel discussion.