In this AFCA Virtual Clinic, we are collaborating with Coach Ed Jones II, the Player Development Director for the University of Kansas football program. Coach Jones has laid the essential groundwork necessary to aid student-athletes in their program by showing them other aspects of life outside of sports and to keep them constantly thinking about their future and where their journey may lead.
The first step is to begin with the mission of the program, something simple, yet concrete that can be achieved and measured for progress. For Coach Jones his program mission is as follows:
- Oftentimes, student-athletes struggle with their identity during and after the game of football. We’ve created a program that helps them engage their purpose in life through personal wellness, community impact, and career development to achieve GENERATIONAL IMPACT.
What is Generational Impact? This term is the key goal of player development for Coach Jones and the Kansas Jayhawks, as it pertains to allowing their student-athletes to better themselves and learn how to make an impact in one community then take those lessons and go impact another community, thus paying it forward.
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Investing In Your Players Off The Field
The Program Overview is separated into three vital areas: Personal Wellness, Community Impact, and Career Development. Personal Wellness entails the five essentials of wellness that is needed for all student-athletes. These are financial, mental, physical, spiritual, and social wellness that all come together in order to give the student-athletes the resources that they need to succeed and eliminate as much stress as possible. Community Impact focuses on four zones in any community that could always use a helping hand, such as child education, the hunger needs of the community, and the homeless population.
Last, but not least is the Career Development aspect of the program. This is a difference-maker in a program because it allows student-athletes to think outside of the box and venture out into finding their own personal interest outside of sports.
Career shadowing, internships, and career placement are a few ways you could open a student-athlete’s eyes into something they may not have thought was an option for their career. There are some great stories told by Coach Jones II in this clinic that are a testament to just that.
A main emphasis that Coach Jones II refers to in this clinic is that all of these skills are ones that you have to show your student-athletes, while also encouraging the importance of learning and instilled them into their lives. Furthermore, it is important to educate student-athletes on the importance of their everyday routine (working out, practicing, watching film, etc.) since they are learning transferable skills that can be used in multiple facets of the professional world, not just in sports.
There is a need for this department of development in every program in some way or fashion because the demand is there. Everyone is mostly aware of the statistics regarding athletes moving to the next level, so how you prepare these student-athletes to face those odds is a problem that will never seem to quite go away.
How Do YOU Implement
There are plenty of resources available and there are many ways to find them. Start with your campus and branch out from there. Try engaging local school districts, or community philanthropists who would love getting involved. Above all else, always find a way to reach out to alumni, and keep them in the circle of what your program is doing. Those people are always enthused to help your student-athletes.
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Watch this clinic to learn more information on what generational impact could look like for you and your program, as well as other key hints on how to implement this system at other levels, such as the high school level. Could we see this be integrated into the NJCAA with junior colleges? With the strictness of the NCAA on their rules and policies, how do you get to accomplish these goals with player development and navigate around those restrictions?
Don’t forget to check out other content in the AFCA educational library. This content includes anything from drills and coaching tactics to convention sessions and podcasts that can better help you and your football program.