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Jake Hall

Professor Jizi
Writing 1102
4/10/16
Leadership in Sports
Ever since I was a kid, I loved sports. Sports was always an outlet when I was bored and
needed something. My competitive nature as a kid, made me enjoy sports even more, and as I
grew up, playing sports was my main priority. As Im sure, many kids have their idols or role
models in their desired sport. For me, I had many athletes I looked up to that made me continue
playing throughout my life. In high school, I played basketball and football, just to name a few
and every year I seemed to always be seen as a leader. Every time I watch basketball or football
on TV I would see athletes who portray leadership and success and it always made me curious to
how they became leaders. I noticed a trend that some of the most athletes are also seen as leaders
of their teams. This trend makes me wonder how these athletes are leaders and what it really
takes to be a leader.
With this research, it can help me understand what qualities you need to be a leader and
also what it takes to be successful in sports. Also, I can show how an athlete continuously shows
consistent success in their sports by showing leadership qualities. There are many definitions of
what a leader is, and I found in my research a trend in these definitions that can help people
understand a clear definition as to what it takes to become a leader and how this relates to
success. This research can benefit many people who are interested in sports or who play sports.
Someone who plays for a sports team and wants to be a leader can use this information to better
themselves for the future.
John Fetzer, author of many articles regarding success and also owner of his own
consulting company, really goes into depth regarding the definition of a leader in his article

Leadership. There are many different types of leaders which can skew the definition one way or
the other. Not all leaders are considered to have the same qualities but most leaders also share
some qualities. Leaders are considered to be the ones of make the decisions. This can be a
difficult for the leader because not all people from a certain team or group will agree on these
decisions. Sometimes these decisions will come at a cost, but leaders will take a risk for the
benefit of the whole team. Not only do leaders have to make tough decisions, they also have to
strive the hardest for what should be accomplished. (Fetzer)
I also found another source that explains leadership in a similar perspective. The source I
found was a speech by Mark Ernsberger, President of Farr Associates, a leadership consulting
firm. Ernsberger explains that being a leader does not necessarily make you the focal point of the
attention. He says that to be a leader, you cannot let the benefits of yourself interfere with the
ones who you are leading. In other words, a leader must do what will benefit the group the best
in the end. This sounds similar doesnt it? Ernsberger and Fetzer both have a similar view on
what it takes to be a leader.
One interesting thing I found in my research that has come up time and time again is you
do not have to be the hero or the star to be a leader. Ernsberger states that a hero is not
necessarily a leader. Ernsberger believes that a leader must put all values and wants behind him
and have a true desire to help his/her group reach a certain goal. Joel Kurtsman, nationwide
leadership speaker and also author of Common Purpose: How Great Leaders Get Organizations
to Achieve the Extraordinary, speaks heavily on leadership in his article Fitting in: The
Foundation for Successful Leaders. One of the core values of leading is being able to fit in with
the group. Even though you might be extremely successful, but if you are not apart of the group,
you are not a leader.

But what does all this have to do with sports? Most sports including basketball and
football involve a dedication to the team in order to succeed. The saying there is no I in team
to me is a perfect way to explain success in sports. In order to be successful in sports you must
have a well working team and leaders to guide the path to success. There are many examples of
leaders in the sports world that catch our eye including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and
Michael Jordan, just to name a few. But, are these big names athletes the only leaders in sports? I
learned form my research there could be multiple leaders on a team, but these leaders must work
well together for the group and also have the desire to make the group better no matter the cost. I
learned that sometimes, on a team, a successful leader does not have to be the best player, and
can just have a minor role.
If you are not a guru in professional football, you probably have never heard the name
Eric Boles. Eric Boles used to play wide receiver for the New York Jets back in 1992. Today,
Boles speaks around the world about leadership development skill and is also president of Game
Changers Inc. (A training consulting company). Boles, his first year in the league, was not the
top prospect or star player by any means. He did, however, start for the jets kickoff team. In one
of his leadership speeches for AEI Speakers Bureau, Boles explains his time in New York. His
job was to run down the field and try and tackle the kick returner. This required Boles to put his
body on the line almost ever play. Even though he did not want to get hit and have the risk of
injury, Boles still put his body at risk and did his job. In terms of being a leader, sacrificing your
heath and safety and getting through a tough situation for the betterment and success of the team
shows true leadership values.
Throughout my research I learned a lot on what it takes to be a leader. I noticed that
during my research, I did not want to use sources that did not have experts on my topic of

leadership. I found that people who have been through actual life experiences in sports like Eric
Boles was the most convincing because he has experienced first hand what he views a leader as.
I also found that speakers of the topic leadership were very convincing sources as well because
of their experience in the field of leadership. Something that caught my attention when I was
researching was how important it is to have strong leaders on a team in order to be successful. In
society, everyone always values the players performance as a basis for their success. Granted for
example if players on a basketball team all shoot poorly and the team looses, a major reason for
the loss is because of their poor performance. There is one question that raises my attention
though, is shooting poorly the only reason why this team lost? I feel like when you click through
sports channels, these sports analysts do not give leadership enough justice for success because
leadership is one of the most important keys to success on any sports team.
With this research and the information, I can use this to become a successful leader
outside the sports teams I have been on. I understand more about leadership and can apply this to
future job opportunities. If I were to continue this research more, I would dig deeper into specific
teams that have shown true leadership and success. For example, I would research every NFL
team and see which teams have shown the most success throughout the years. Overall I am
content with the inquiry I have done because I feel reading this will make a difference in
someones life in the future.

Works Cited
Fetzer, John. "Leadership." Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 381.7 (2005): 1311-1312.
Print.
Kurtzman, Joel. "Fitting In: the Foundation for Successful Leaders." Leader to Leader. 2010.58
(2010): 17-21. Print.
AeiSpeakers. "[Sports/Leadership] Eric Boles." YouTube. YouTube, 06 May 2015. Web. 03 Apr.
2016.
ERNSBERGER, MARK. "Leadership." Vital Speeches of the Day. 66.16 (2000). Print.

Items
1) Flow of the essay and transitions of paragraphs
2) Using sources and the citing of those sources
3) How well I connect leadership to sports

Peer Review:
1) I think some of the paragraphs at the beginning of the paper could use some better use of
transitions, but other than that the flow of the paragraphs is good.
2) I think the sources you used and the way you cited them in your paper is good. You dont
always have to quote things directly so that makes the paper better that you didnt.
3) I think that you did a good job connecting leadership to sports. When reading your paper
I can understand the purpose of the paper and why you chose the topic that you did.