BRISTOL, Tenn. – King University wrestling coaches Travis Mercado and Julia Salata were both nominated to attend the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Leadership Academy, held in conjunction with the NWCA Coaches Convention. The duo attended 10 different sessions in the two-day academy, taking in a lot of information they will be taking back to King this year.
"The recruiting and promoting your program workshops were definitely my favorite sessions," Mercado said. "I learned some great things from Jack Spates (Oklahoma University coach 1993 - 2011)."
The attendees were each given different mentors for the two day academy, participating in 10 different sessions including how to grow women's wrestling, building relationships, promoting our program, recruiting, fundraising, and ethics and morals. There were also numerous panels of coaches speaking about their life journey of coaching.
Alongside the leadership academy was the 2017 NWCA Coaches Convention sponsored by Asics, Cliff Keen, and Resilite. This year's clinic had an outstanding list of presenters and clinicians in 23 workshops offered in 11 workshop sessions. These valuable skills learned at the workshops are designed to enhance our professional development as a coach.
"This is the second time I have been able to attend the Academy, and it was as valuable of an experience as ever," Said Salata. "World-class technique sessions, seminars and workshops led by our sport's best, and the small-group breakout sessions were incredible."
Coaches participating in the academy had the opportunity to sharpen their CEO skills by completing aspects of the Academy. The attendees created 10 online modules and participated in a program assessment survey that identifies the aspects of a team that may result in a program being vulnerable to being discontinued.
Following a 360 evaluation, which helps coaches understand how administrators, wrestlers, alumni, and parents view the coach's proficiency in various areas, the attendees participated in a two day academy workshop. At the workshop, a facilitator conducted small group discussions with participating coaches and mentors to help academy participants customize the general concepts learned in the online modules to meet their needs on their respective campuses.
"Being able to pick the brains of the best coaches and leaders in the country is amazing," Salata continued. "There was a bigger emphasis placed on the women's portion this year, as well, and it's awesome being a part of a collective effort to grow women's wrestling."
The program also has the attendees participate in a mentoring program, where a coach can receive ongoing guidance throughout the season from a veteran coach or an athletic administrator. The duo then created a portfolio and turned in their completed workbook to their assigned mentor before attending the coaches' convention.
"After attending the leadership academy in 2014, I have been eager to get back to the academy and hear from some of the top coaches in the country at all collegiate levels," said Mercado. "This year's academy was fantastic. I felt that participating in this year's academy I have gained more professional knowledge not only to help the team technical but also from a professional role as well."