A Leadership Lesson from the Playoff-Bound Vicksburg High School Bulldogs

Amber Bairdblog, Leadership

Bulldog footballDalton Ketelaar remembers it like it was yesterday:

“Our whole team went through speed and agility training with Next Level,” said the Bulldogs’ senior quarterback.  “We were together all summer long in the leadership development sessions.  We talked about how we can lead and what our goals were.”

“And here we are.”

The “here” Ketelaar is referring to is the MHSAA playoffs, where the team captain and signal caller has led his team to an impressive 7-2 record this fall.  But champions are made through work in the off-season, and for Ketelaar and his teammates, this work was put in with the help of Next Level Performance.  Co-founded by former Western Michigan University and NFL quarterback Tim Hiller and his WMU teammate Scott Gajos, Next Level Performance provides student-athletes with sport-specific training that is focused on leadership and character development.

This summer, Vicksburg Athletic Director Mike Roy made a decision to partner with Next Level—to lead an athletic captains’ leadership conference and to run the Bulldogs’ entire middle school and high school summer speed and agility program.  Each on field training session with Next Level was accompanied by a leadership development module designed to help every athlete grow as a person and a leader, both on and off the field.

“Outstanding,” said Roy of Next Level’s impact on his student-athletes.  “What a great experience NLP provided.  We are looking forward to working together in the future.”

What is Next Level Performance? 

Next level Performance helps athletes discover their purpose through instilling a selfless pursuit of excellence beyond the game. Their leadership academies at high schools and colleges have set the standard for leadership development in athletics today.  Their experienced staff is dedicated to developing character and a community of servant leaders through sport specific training, leadership conferences and private lessons.  Ketelaar spent the summer in private training with Coach Hiller to prepare for the 2014 season.

“As we enter the playoffs, we are a family looking out for each other,” Ketelaar said.  “We’re all one.  I honestly feel like Next Level played a key role in that.”