Youth Character Development and Leadership – Submit Your Life Lesson


We are releasing the new Student Athlete Program (see below for details and the attached brochure), designed to develop the character, leadership and sportsmanship of high school student-athletes.  As a part of the program, athletes will receive daily exercises to inspire, challenge and reinforce these important traits. One of these daily lessons is actually entitled, “Monday Life Lesson.” The essence of this lesson is a 2 minute video that will be delivered every Monday morning to the student via an online app.  It will be followed up with a brief reflective question that the students will fill out and/or discuss with their respective coach. We are hoping that each life lesson is unique and interesting.

We need 144 of these Monday Life Lessons (3 seasons a year x 4 years x 12 weeks in a season).  We have two plans to fill these 144 slots. The first plan is to contact the “role models” that we have written about in the program.  I believe it would provide symmetry to watch a 2 minute life lesson from Michael Phelps, for instance, on Monday and then read a short chapter on him on Wednesday.  We have been able to make requests to most of those role models, but we understand that will take time and we will frequently strike out.  The second plan is to include other athletes, coaches and athletic directors at the high school/collegiate level and ask them to provide their life lesson. I reason that a high school coach can be as inspiring as Michael Phelps, an in most cases, more so.

I am contacting you because I immediately thought of you when I thought of people who could deliver a 2-minute life lesson to  the next generation.  I believe you have something substantial to offer and I am asking for 5-20 minutes of your time. Would you please provide your life lesson by answering the following question. “If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what 1 life lesson would you pass on to the next generation today?”   Please use the following parameters:

Video Quality:

  • Whether you use a high quality video camera, ipad or phone, please make sure you are recording on the highest quality.
  • If using your phone or ipad, please turn the phone so it is horizontal, not vertical.
  • It is better to shoot close-up (2-5 feet)than far away.
  • Audio is extremely important. Please stay out of the wind or noisy situations without background noise. If possible, test the audio.

Intro & Life Lesson:

  • Truly, the life lesson you choose is up to you.  Something you believe in. It can have everything to do with sports or nothing to do with sports.
  • The most important part is that you can “own” it or “sell” it.  This is the most important lesson I can give you and I believe this will change your life.  Be inspiring, relatable or motivational.
  • The intro should be no more than 15 seconds: “My name is Jim Brandt, I have coached track and cross country for Grand Ledge High School in Michigan for 33 years.  The one life lesson I have for your today is…
  • Remember the power of editing. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. We can edit out bad takes, pauses, quiet time…  We will cut it down to 2 minutes.

Get the video to us via one of the following ways:

o   Email it to [email protected]

o   Upload it to our vimeo page (we can provide our credentials upon request)

o   Share it via Drop Box

o   Save it to a USB and mail it to us

To help you see what this will look like, I am providing a link to one of the three Life Lessons I did myself – It’s not earth-shattering, but I hope it gets across a simple point – it’s a big world out there and you should spend some time exploring it.  Please note that it took me 3 takes with lots of pauses to remember my script, but I understand the power of editing.  I suspect each of the life lessons will be unique to the individual who provides them so I am intentionally refraining from giving directions or suggestions.  I believe that if you be yourself, you can’t go wrong.  Please let us know if you would be interested in providing this small piece of yourself to the next generation.

To better understand the program, here is an explanation for the Student Athlete Program: After 3 years of development with high school coaches and athletic directors, we are releasing a new program to develop the character, leadership and sportsmanship of high school student-athletes in an athletic environment  This is a program that high school athletic directors  purchase for use by all students partaking in athletics. We will have enough material to cover 3 athletic seasons a year for 4 years without redundancy.  Athletes will receive an online lesson via an interactive app on their devices (ipad, phone, computer) 7 days a week for 12 weeks during each season.  This allows coaches to purposefully teach character, leadership and sportsmanship to athletes as they see fit with relevant content. Below you will find the daily lessons that are paired with a different trait each week of the season.

  • Monday Life Lesson – Powerful pre-recorded life lessons delivered by nationally recognized coaches and athletes.
  • Tuesday Sports Blog –Dr. Hoedel will author a sports-based blog about current events related to character and leadership.
  • Wednesday Role Model –Students will read about a group of diversified sports-oriented role models that exemplify the traits covered in the program.
  • Thursday Dilemma – Students will respond to sports-oriented ethical dilemmas to teach decision-making skills and ethics.
  • Friday Pep Talk – Passionate speeches from coaches via YouTube will be viewable to get athletes ready for the big game.
  • Saturday Movie Clip – Segments from character-based popular sports movies will be viewed and discussed.
  • Sunday Goals – Student-athletes will complete short tasks to improve their individual and team performance.

Student Athlete Program Character Traits

Fall Season Winter Season Spring Season
Commitment Positive Attitude Coachability
Desire Enthusiasm Passion
Determination Initiative Preparation
Perseverance Effort Grit
Appreciation Teamwork Sportsmanship
Discipline Unselfishness Competitiveness
Accountability Trust Caring
Humility Good Judgment Composure
Honesty Integrity Courage
Faith Tolerance Service
Leadership Leadership Leadership
Character Character Character
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