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Fall Sports Captains’ Club Gets Team Building Advice from West Point Leader

Major Bob Ryan of the West Point Military Academy Major Bob Ryan of the West Point Military Academy visited the Somers High School fall sports captains for a leadership and team building session this week.

Ryan, who teaches a Student Success Program at the Center for Enhanced Performance at West Point, led the SHS student-athletes in group discussions focused on team chemistry, team culture, and preemptive problem solving. He guided the students to think about and discuss what effects the pandemic may have had on athletes and whether the culture and chemistry of their teams may have changed. 

Ryan led the groups in brainstorm sessions on potential issues that could affect their teams, such as morale, team behavior and performance on the field, communication, and performance feedback and ways to combat them. 

“To put it in military terms, we want to think about how we up armor ourselves from potential chinks in the armor in our teams’ culture,” Ryan said. “All of us are smarter than one of us.”

Major Bob Ryan of the West Point Military Academy talking o students at tablesLauren McCartin, Varsity Field Hockey captain, said the leadership session was a great experience. “From his session I took away that team success starts with the culture that captains create,” McCartin said.  “I really liked how we discussed different ways to improve and maintain team culture. I feel that this leadership session was very beneficial and will allow me to become a better leader both on and off the field.”

Athletic Director Marc Hattem said connecting with Ryan was a great opportunity for his student-athletes. “Major Ryan did some work with our boys’ lacrosse program and found great success,” Hattem said. “He came very highly recommended by the coaching staff and from student-athlete feedback. 

When the planning came together for a Captains’ Club, “Major Ryan was a logical choice because of his experience and a shared vision for our work,” Hattem said. “We look forward to a great year of learning, collaboration and growth.”

Ryan will next meet with members of the boys’ soccer and girls’ volleyball teams over the next three months. He will also return for two more leadership sessions with the winter and spring athletic captains at the start of their seasons.