There was SEAL training, pool workouts, new conditioning work and even hot yoga. But none of those was the most challenging part of the offseason for sophomore Nick Sherod.
“I was definitely nervous heading into the trip,” Sherod said. “At first, when I saw the itinerary and wasn’t sure about everything that was involved. I’m not usually a camping or outdoors guy, so it was very unfamiliar territory for me.”
Sherod was a part of the inaugural Spider Leadership Institute class that kicked off their semester of in-depth leadership training with a two-day, one-night camping into the Shenandoah National Forest.
“The trip really blew me away,” Sherod said. “Everything that went into it and the opportunity to go through the experience with leaders from other teams and talking to them, it really inspired me to take on new challenges with my team.”
The immersive experience included three long hikes to some of the highest peaks of the park and some of the most historic areas, including President Herbert Hoover’s weekend retreat home, Rapidan Camp.
When the group returned to Richmond, they spent a third day at the University of Richmond’s Downtown Campus, eating lunch on the grounds of the Capitol Building and having intense leadership group work.
In addition to the immersive experience, Sherod and his fellow student-athletes have had dinners with fellow Spider alums in leadership roles, guest speakers and several unique leadership training exercises that has truly challenged the Richmond, Va. native, who sees himself taking on a bigger role for this year’s team.
“Leadership is extremely important. You can’t get anything done of substance if you don’t have good leadership,” Sherod said. “We have big goals as a team and we’re a fairly young team with not a lot of seniors, so we all have to step up into leadership roles.”
“It doesn’t matter what role you think you may have, all of us impact each other every day and can influence our group as a whole,” Sherod said. “We all have to realize that we all can be leaders in different ways.”
Sherod knows that his experience this semester will provide him benefits far beyond the court.
“No matter where you are in life, whether it be in athletics or work or your family, leadership is always going to be there,” Sherod said. “For me personally, I’ll always keep trying to develop my leadership, no matter where I am in life.”