We arrived to Ida B Wells summer practice during a hot spell in Portland. Ida B Wells is located in southwest Portland and under the leadership of Thor Esbensen, the Guardians are always in the hunt at the Oregon Cross Country State Meet. Both teams qualified last fall. Coach Esbensen also hosts a popular coaches social Zoom call. Originally coaches met at a restaurant once a month in the Portland area and discussed topics related to the sport and coaching. During the pandemic, the coaches social moved to Zoom and now coaches from all over the country "Zoom" in every Thursday. Last Thursday's Zoom meeting was social #182. Topics range from coaching philosophies to current events in the sport.
The practice started with athletes circling up, sharing their name and their favorite cheese. After exercises the athletes warmed up to Fulton Park and completed a series of 1000 meter repeats at the park. Afterwards athletes slid down the slip and slide at school.
Coach Esbensen shared information about his team:
How often did the team practice during the summer? We met as a full team on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer for workouts. We had captains practices Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
What are some fun activities the team did during the summer? We had our team camp in Tillamook at the Hydrangea Farm with Pat Zweifel. We shared the space with Lincoln, Sunset and Clackamas. We had some great learning sessions, workouts, a journey to the top of the world and tons of bonding and goal setting.
How does Ida B Wells build their team culture? We believe in a "pass the torch" philosophy and everyone is a leader. We have instrumental leaders who inspire great portions of our team whose role it is to prepare the next generation to take the lead. We have our inspirational leaders who upon graduation "pass the torch" to the next years leaders and express the importance of thinking about the next group to receive the torch. They are considered the wolfpack on our team. Our top performers serve similar but different leadership roles in terms of including and coaching up the next generation of top performers. We don't necessarily believe in traditional captains. Rather, we expect and encourage all athletes to find their "moments of leadership." We all have a place to serve. We are a family and although we all have different paths we all serve each other. And we may not always get along, we are all seeking a place to belong.
What are some things traditions or events that Ida B Well looks forward to this fall?
We are excited to see our new leaders take their positions and our entering young leaders assert themselves. We are excited for our key invites, our "Wolfpack" and just having a blast together.
To look at the summer practice day of Ida B Wells, click HERE