12 Leaders Share Their Top Lessons of 2022

We invited leaders to share, “what was the most important lesson learned or action taken for your program this year?”
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12 Takeaway's from Leaders in 2022

With the year coming to an end and things winding down, we all have a bit more time to stop and reflect on everything that has happened, and what we can learn from them. We reached out to leaders just like you and asked, “What was the most important lesson learned or action taken for your program this year?” We got so many great answers from coaches, athletic directors, and teachers that we decided to dedicate a whole article to them.

Below are 12 lessons that leaders learned this year that transformed them and their programs for the better:

“Our biggest thing we did this year was write up a sports-wide culture plan. We had a coaches meeting at the beginning of the year and all got on board.”


Richard Laninga, Athletic Director + Cross Country and Track Coach

Holland Calvary High School

“We incorporate a student media team to better our athletes’ experience.”

Thomas Fredrickson, Host of the Middle School AD Podcast, Athletic Director 

Northwest Middle School

“Our emphasis this year was connecting our 8th graders to what we are doing at the high school. We’ve included them in open gyms, worked with their coaches, and held some workouts for them to attend. Building for the future!”

Matt Dennis, Boys’ Basketball Head Coach

Otsego High School

“After 45 years in coaching, I’d say one simple lesson has stood the test of time: There is such a thing as right and wrong. And sports is one of the few arenas left where this can still be taught to kids.
Selflessness, persistence, sacrifice, humility, the value of hard work, and respect for coaches, officials, and teammates… all are non-negotiables.

If you want to really impact kids, decide what you stand for and don’t compromise, even if it costs you a few wins.
In the long run your players will be better for having played for a coach who cared first and foremost about the kind of person they are becoming.”

Doug Porter, Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Bethel University

“Really focusing on our culture, less on scheme stuff, which is what I like to focus on. Really focusing on relationships between myself and the players.

Andrew Howard, Special Ed Teacher + Assistant Girls’ Basketball Coach

Cheboygan High School 

“The most important actions taken that’s helped our programs succeed is the preparation they’ve taken and their attention to details.”


Jason Faasee, Director of Club Sports and Facilities

Calvin College

“If management and coaches are not on the same page, It is a disaster. Check your egos at the door and communicate together.”


Chris Daleo, Former Thailand National Basketball Team, Head Coach

RANS PIK Basketball Club (Pantai Indah Kapuk, Indonesia)

“The most important action taken this year for me is doing more with my team outside of the gym as far as team building goes. With COVID-19 the past couple of years, we’ve been forced to go away from it.

From my experience, the more fun, laughing, and good times spent outside of basketball pays huge dividends on the court.

I’m really looking forward to doing more with my players this season, spending time with them as kids, not necessarily as athletes.”

Jake Jewett, Boys’ Varsity
Basketball Coach

Hopkins High School

“I would say one of the more important actions I live by in coaching is establishing trust with my players, both on the court and in their personal life.”

Kevin Trignali, Girls’ Varsity Basketball Coach

Saugatuck High School (Saugatuck, MI)

“Best lesson I learned is that more players are different than they are alike, so you have to be patient and meet the players where they are to get the best results. You have to tap into the way they learn to reach the best results.”

Justin Bowen, Former NBA Player, Basketball Trainer

GOAT Sports Academy

“Communication is a big key! Communication lines with players, coaches and administration — must be there in order to be successful.”


Fred Schweitzer, Boys’ Varsity Basketball Coach

Wellspring Preparatory High School

“The most important lesson is to always serve the needs of the stakeholders.”

Jon Palicki, Basketball Head Coach
Resurrection College Prep + Co-host of After the Timeout Podcast

At Leading Edge, we talk to a wide range of experts who’ve all navigated program building – from high school teachers, to NBA coaches to gold medal winners. One thing we’ve noticed from all these conversations is that the most successful programs share a few common themes — ones that appear in the above lessons as well.
For even more thorough and insightful stories and lessons on leadership, program building, and getting the best out of your students, explore LeadingEdge.online to read stories like how to drive program success through relationship building and why you should embrace mistakes in your coaching philosophy.