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Developing young leaders through sport

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Aspiring student leaders who have yet to get a chance to take up leadership roles or are new to their leadership appointments got to learn about being a leader through ActiveSG’s Leaders Through Sport programme.

More than a hundred secondary school students participated in the programme which was designed by CoachSG. The programme consists of three modules - Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading in Action.

The first week of the June school holidays marked the end of the first module where students learned to lead themselves through self-management, self-awareness, communication, and social awareness.

“Research has shown that under the right contextual conditions, sport can be a powerful platform for leadership development. However, leadership development does not happen overnight, it is a process that takes time. Therefore, we have designed a 3 part programme with each module providing a built up of key leadership attributes and competencies,” said Eliza Tan, who is part of the Character and Leadership Development Team at CoachSG.

“Activities within each module are also designed such that there is room for practice, mentoring, feedback and reflections of their experiences and leadership behaviours. We hope that they will be able to use the leadership lessons they learnt from sport and transfer it to other areas of their lives.”

Students found the programme enlightening as it taught them skills not usually taught in the confines of a classroom. “This programme has been a successful one for me because I have learnt many things such as being a more dependable team player and how to communicate well with my team members,” said 15-year-old Ahmad Nabil.

Ahmad, who is a captain of the badminton team at his school, said he could put these skills to good use when he goes back to school. “As a CCA captain at Pasir Ris Secondary, I can use those skills with my team members.

In discussions, I can communicate better with them by asking them to be more open during discussion, so I can get more opinions and work better together during training.” The design of the programme also gives students the opportunity to be active agents in their own leadership development.

Active Leader Students learned to lead themselves through self-management, self-awareness, communication, and social awareness. Photo: SportSG

Northlight School student Shazrin Bin Ramli personified the exemplar aspect of LEAD when he stepped out of his comfort zone to take the lead when no one else stepped up to the plate.

“It happened because nobody tried to go for the first step, then I was like… who’s going to go? Then I decided, nevermind, I will just do it. Because I am showing a role model to people, what we are going to do, what we are going to teach,” the 14-year-old said.

The programme will end with a practical experience module of organizing a sporting activity for GetActive! Singapore or ActiveSG clubs and academies. “We hope to get them to lead and execute real time sporting events, given resources and budget.

They have to plan the event from scratch; from conceptualizing to planning the budget and resources, to fine-tuning it along the way to engage the people on ground,” said Amy Tay, Senior Manager of Programming and Projects at ActiveSG.

“It also creates an opportunity to be mentored by very experienced Sport Singapore officers, and also network with various stakeholders in collaborating to co-create the programme.” “We hope they can go back to school and apply what they have learnt from the practical experience and lead in terms of school initiated programmes.”

Schools who are interested to find out more about the programme can contact Amy Tay, at or Chia Fu Yong, at