Queensland Firebirds: Coaching Leaders

Bo Hanson
4x Olympian, Director, and Lead Consultant

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Developing your Athletes into the Leaders of Tomorrow

In 2011, the Mission Queensland Firebirds won the ANZ Championship, going undefeated and breaking numerous records during the season. In 2013, Senior Coach Roselee Jencke, and Performance Coach Tracey Robinson are making history again with three of their players (from a squad of 12) being named as Captains of their National teams: Laura Geitz as Captain of the Australian Diamonds; Romelda Aiken as Co-Captain of Jamaica and Demelza McCloud as Australia’s Fast Five Co-Captain. The Firebirds Coaches have a well proven ability to develop leaders. Coach Jencke shares her insights here.

Leaders are developed, not born, and there is no one formula

This I know is true. You couldn’t get more diverse leadership styles than with Laura, Romelda and Demelza. We focus on their individual leadership development, by playing to their strengths, drawing on their own experience, and valuing their input in decision making. We take our leadership development seriously and persistently.

“My goal is to passionately build pride in what we do, and have the team buy into our purpose as a team and as individuals. My focus is to develop our players as whole people. When they eventually leave our program, they should be better people who can genuinely contribute to the world in a meaningful way. Our players know we care about them, beyond their sport.”

– Roselee Jencke


Clear Communication is Key

This is a skill we are constantly working on, with ourselves, our leaders and the team. Particularly with our leaders, we work with them on their communication style, how they communicate with the other players and what the other players need from them. From listening skills to how to influence to media presentation, we continue to improve.

“Leadership is a skill and therefore something we as coaches are able to teach.”

– Roselee Jencke


Consistent Message

We ensure that our messages and expectations are consistent and dedicate time with our leaders, on a very regular basis, to ensure we’re all on the same page, aligned and have a united focus that cascades throughout the team.


You’re only a Leader, if others Follow

Our leadership development has a strong focus on how to be someone the players respect, look up to, and most importantly, follow. This relies on them providing strength, resiliency and role modeling the values of the team, always.

This article was featured in People+Sport Magazine: Education and Professional Development Edition which is available to read online here.

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