On July 12, 2021, our 4th Down Leadership team hosted our first official ATHLEAD event at South Garner High School with the tremendous help from our friends with the United States Marine Corps. ATHLEAD was designed as a physical and mental toughness competition tailored to facilitate the growth and development of team leadership. We are excited to expand on this cutting edge approach teaching high school student athletes about leadership.

The idea for this event derived from our understanding that young athletes demonstrate a deficiency in accountability, commitment, communication, discipline, humility, and stress management. So we lead the athletes to confront these shortcomings head on.

The athletes had to overcome each challenge in front of their teammates and peers and while Marines were yelling commands and instructing their next maneuvers.  Each sports team competed against each other to complete each task, but ultimately the team that performed the best was the one able to communicate clearly and effectively under stress and exhaustion.  Pushed to their physical limits, leaders from each team had to move beyond the pain and strain, and motivate their teammates to outperform.  It was clear that the leaders with a smile on their face knowing the pain was coming, were able to accomplish this task.

What did the athletes learn:

    • Problem solving in complex environments
    • Executing efficiently with team
    • Gathering, processing, and communicating information under stress in a time pressured environment
    • Managing through ambiguity
    • The self-capability of achieving more than what was previously conceivable

Our intent is for this event to occur on an annual basis where teams from around the region compete against each other, head to head, to see who is able to LEAD most effectively.  We are proud of our progress but there is still always room for improvement.  We are already planning for the next event in 2022 and looking for high school teams that want to participate.  #LEADTHEMALL