Coehoorn's Corner: Leaders are made early

COURTESY: Medicine Hat News

When we think about leadership in sport, we usually think of athletes such as Sidney Crosby, Peyton Manning or Michael Jordan.

It is true that the aforementioned athletes are great leaders, but do you ever wonder if those athletes were always leaders or if they just became leaders in their professional careers.

Some of you may not know the name Gabriel Landeskog, but he is currently the captain of the Colorado Avalanche. What is extremely impressive is that he was named the captain of the Avalanche at the age of 19. Also, during his junior career playing for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, he was named the first ever European captain of a Canadian Hockey League team.

I believe that leaders are made very early. I think that future leaders show their leadership skills in the early stages of their athletic development.

One local example is Caleb Irvine who is the the captain of the bantam AAA South East Athletic Club Tigers. This young man shows an immense amount of leadership at a young age.

Our organization, the Alberta Sport Development Centre — Southeast, did the strength and conditioning, mental skills and sport nutrition for the entire SEAC organization this year, and what we noticed was Caleb’s ability to stand out as a leader amongst his teammates.

He is the type of athlete who seems to always have his game face on. He never seemed to take repetitions off or complain about something being too difficult. At the young age of 15, he is already showing strong leadership skills. Caleb is one example of many where you can see leaderships skills developed early.

This type of leadership at a young age is a product of the athlete’s surroundings and innate desire to succeed. Young leaders have had good examples of leaders in their lives, whether it be parents, siblings or coaches. These mentors help to shape the young athlete. These athletes also have an unexplainable urge to succeed; they have the ability to push and do whatever is necessary at a young age.

I saw this urge to succeed in my older brother Trevor, who at a young age had an immense desire to succeed. He was eating right and training hard at the age of 14. He later went on to be a captain of the Medicine Hat High Mohawks football team and was rookie of the year for the University of Calgary Dinos in 1999. His leadership abilities rubbed off on me and helped to shape my later athletic career.

Athletes are a product of their surroundings and mentors, therefore us individuals who are past our prime in terms of our athletic careers have the need to help shape the next generations of athletic leaders. We are doing our best at the ASDC-SE to help shape the next generation of athletes for the better.

Cory Coehoorn is the coordinator of the ASDC-SE and would love to chat with you about our programs and services. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 403-504-3547.