AURORA — Before breaking into sport-specific groups, the entire turnout of coaches at this year's Multi-Sports Coaching Clinic gathered in the Grand Ballroom.
The tone of the clinic, held by the Colorado High School Coaches Association, was largely set during the general session on Friday morning as speakers Joe Ehrmann and Jody Redman brought forth some enlightening ideas.
Ehrmann, a former NFL player, was called "The Most Important Coach in America" by Parade Magazine after releasing InsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives. Redman, a nationally recognized speaker and former collegiate basketball player, is the Executive Director of the InsideOut Initiative.
Together they spoke of changing the "current win-at-all-costs sports culture, where the value is often defined by the win-loss record, to a culture that defines and promotes sports as a human growth experience," as mentioned on insideoutinitiative.org.
Ehrmann and Redman challenged the Colorado coaches from a wide range of sports—cross country, boys and girls basketball, football, golf, soccer, softball, spirit and volleyball—to reflect on their core values as a coach, why they coach, and how they measure success, among a number of other ideas centered on the foundation of education-based athletics that are character-driven and transformational beyond the scoreboard.
"It's been really, really well received," Robert Marken, the director of the clinic, said of a presentation that extended into a Saturday morning session, as well. "We wanted more coaches in the state to experience it. I think it'll have rippling effects, I really do."
For a multi-sport clinic with its highest turnout in history, estimated by Marken at nearly 750 coaches from around the state, opportunities to build connections and collaborate extended into Friday and Saturday’s sport-specific sessions.
"Maybe the most significant thing is just for coaches to get together, connect as a community, share ideas and realize there's a huge resource out there that we don't experience when we're isolated," Marken said.
The program has evolved from a football and basketball-only gathering in the early stages, over fifty years ago, to one that includes a variety of sports.
Jonathan Dalby, the head cross country coach of the four-time Class 5A boys defending state champion Mountain Vista Golden Eagles, says the clinic provides Colorado distance running coaches a glimpse into the minds of elite coaches from various levels.
"It's always great to hear someone like Coach (Ben) Rosario," Dalby said. "He's at the highest level possible, working with potential Olympians. The things they do that are successful at Hoka One, you can look at programs across Colorado, a lot of those same pieces are being put into it. In some cases it reinforces what we've already been doing. In other cases it helps with putting in new ideas as well."
The sense of community tends to carry on even after the clinic ends.
"I've found from going to clinics that most people are more than happy if you pick up the phone and call them with a question," Dalby added.
The next CHSCA clinic is for wrestling only and will be held in November at the National Western Complex in Denver.