Montclair Student-Athletes Prepare for Sports Season with Leadership Workshops

Credits: Courtesy of Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center
Credits: Courtesy of Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center

LITTLE FALLS, NJ – About 70 students and coaches from Montclair High School (MHS) and Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA) attended a pre-season leadership workshop at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center (YBMLC) Tuesday. The goal was to focus on competing with character and building a culture of respect and unity.

There were roughly 45 MHS students and 25 MKA student-athletes in attendance. Both athletic directors from the two schools, Jeffrey Gannon (MHS) and Todd Smith (MKA), acompanied their student-athletes.

Over the last eight years, the museum has hosted team captain and leadership workshops for thousands of high school students, the majority of them in the Super Essex Conference. The programs are conducted by current Montclair State University professors John McCarthy, a former high school teacher and coach, and Dr. Rob Gilbert, a nationally known sports psychologist.

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The MHS and MKA student leaders participated in several interactive sessions and were riveted by a presentation from Gian Paul Gonzalez, a former Montclair State basketball All-American and inspirational speaker. Gonzalez talked passionately of the importance of being "All In," a mantra that was adopted by the New York Giants during their improbable 2011 run to the Super Bowl after Gonzalez addressed the team late in the season.

Some of the key issues covered in the workshop included: What are the responsibilities of a team captain in high school? How does one use this badge of leadership to make a difference? How does a captain create team solidarity?

The museum workshops were made possible through the support of Investors Bank.

The Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center offers a year-round Coaching Institute that provides coaches, parents and students unique workshops related to today’s hot-button issues in youth and scholastic sports. Among the programs available: Developing a Code of Conduct for Athletes and Parents; Team-building Techniques; Captains Workshop; Learning Sportsmanship; and Helping Athletes Reach Peak Performance.

The YBMLC also offers afterschool enrichment programs and provides elementary school educators pre-visit materials for character-based programs available to download here. To schedule a tour or program at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, call (973) 655-2378  or email

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