Leadership/Character Program Created By MoCo Native Thrives at Quince Orchard High School; Has Been Implemented in a Dozen MCPS Schools

“What I witnessed yesterday at Quince Orchard high school is a glimpse into how I envision athletic programs in the high school and collegiate space operating in the future.” said Adam Bradley, founder of Lead ‘Em Up. He completed a leadership session with the Quince Orchard High School girl’s soccer team prior to a big game and headed towards the boy’s basketball coach to finalize the team’s leadership plans for the upcoming season. On his way to that meeting, he walked by Poms in the dance studio, who were finishing a Lead ‘Em Up exercise before they jumped into practice.

Lead ‘Em Up, a leadership and character program created by Watkins Mill alumnus Adam Bradley, provides coaches with drills and exercises they can use to develop their players into the leaders needed to win…on and off the field. Bradley started the program in 2015 at Watkins Mill and has been used by over 1,000 teams 10,000 + athletes throughout the country. Lead ‘Em Up has been featured at some of the top camps and clinics nationally, including, Nike, Spalding, Glazier, PGC Basketball and the Committed Combine.

Quince Orchard High School has become what Bradley envisions for schools across the country who want to elevate their leadership. “I connected with a few more coaches before I headed out.” Bradley said. “I had a quick conversation with the Athletic Director about a team dynamic to be aware of, and then I had a bunch of conversations with various players from different teams at the school that included a player who asked my opinion on how to handle a situation with a teammate, a player happily sharing that he had become verified on social media, and another student-athlete asking about when the next Lead ‘Em Up session would take place.”

Quince Orchard High School made the decision to have a dedicated leadership coach in the building who works with all teams to develop leaders– a characteristic that’s often synonymous with winning. “This is a vision we’ve had for some time but couldn’t pursue it until I went full-time. Once I did, Quince Orchard was the school I first approached and Jeff Rabberman (Athletic Director) along with Beth Lane-Thomas (Principal) were all in.” They have seen the value of the program firsthand since Football coach John Kelley brought it to QO a few years back. So combining the value with the need that is always-present, we rolled it out.” said Bradley.

In addition to Quince Orchard, Lead ‘Em Up works with coaches and players at MCPS schools like Blair, Paint Branch, Northwest, Rockville, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Seneca Valley, Sherwood, Churchill, Einstein, and B-CC– all at varying capacities. “In this short time you can already see the fruit. Athletes across the board leaning into the teachings, excited about growing their leadership and teams getting better. Leadership is a skill and like all skills, need practice to develop. It’s only a matter of time until we see athletic programs across the country following suit with a leadership coach of their own. Why not? Kids need it, coaches already have so much on their plate, and when it’s done right it moves your team closer to winning.”

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