College Preparatory School for Girls Grades 3-12

Athletics Philosophy

The interscholastic athletic program at Holton-Arms School embodies the school’s mission to cultivate the potential of young women through the education of the mind, soul, and spirit. Our rigorous and dynamic athletic program provides an arena for the development of life and leadership skills. Physical and mental challenges in a team context cultivate resiliency, responsibility, tenacity of purpose, and a commitment to others.

The Holton-Arms athletic program supports the development of student-athletes in their endeavors at all levels. In all cases, life lessons in commitment, communication, and collaboration are paramount. Beyond this, development and the progression of learning guide our expectations and goals for student-athletes and for teams.

This athletic philosophy guides expectations, understandings, and conversations about the athletic experience at Holton-Arms.

Levels of Athletic Involvement

Middle School Level

All Middle School students are required to participate in “Physical Education/Athletics” within, or at the end of, the school day. Each season Middle School students gather to choose one activity from a wide range of competitive interscholastic and non-competitive individual or fitness-oriented options. Participation in Physical Education/Athletics will occur four days out of every six-day cycle. With the exception of game days and other off-campus activities, practices will conclude by 3:30 p.m.

The Holton-Arms Middle School program recognizes and responds to the unique characteristics of young adolescents in its instruction, activities, expectations, and goals. In the Middle School we seek to develop and strengthen fundamental skills in a variety of activities. Coaches and students explore rather than specialize in athletic opportunities. Middle School athletics focus on teamwork and sportsmanship, health and safety, responsibility and accountability, and building meaningful relationships. Coaches aim to give athletes as equal playing time as possible based on the number of athletes on the roster and keeping substitutions within the rules.

Upper School - Third Level

The purpose of these teams is to gain the skill and strength necessary to move up in the future to the junior varsity or varsity level. While third team members should not expect equal playing time, all players are guaranteed to play in every game.

Upper School - Junior Varsity Level

Junior varsity is designed to develop student-athletes and to feed the varsity athletic program, although not all players will move on to the varsity level. The junior varsity programs are characterized by detailed strategies, strong fitness levels, sport specific skills, and development of leadership. In games, the goal is for all players to receive playing time, but in close competition, some may not. Any Upper School student may make this team; however, senior participation is determined by the coaching staff.

Upper School - Varsity Level

The varsity athlete is highly motivated, highly skilled, and dedicated to her sport(s) and her team(s). Athletic excellence comes from motivation, resiliency, out-of-season training, and the pursuit of athletic opportunities inside and outside of school. Often, varsity athletes have gained experience playing recreationally, at the club level, and/or attending summer camps to achieve top performance.

The varsity team strives to be highly competitive in the ISL and to win in a sportsmanlike manner. Athletes are expected to communicate about game strategy, to set big goals, and to work together to build trust and confidence in all players. At this level, no athlete is guaranteed playing time and each team member is expected to be totally committed to team engagements on and off the field. Most varsity teams have both weekend and vacation committments at some point during the season.

Role of the Student Athlete

1. Communicate Positively and Purposefully Learning to express yourself, to listen, and to have purposeful conversations is an invaluable skill. We expect that you will communicate with your teammates and with your coach to the best of your ability. This means encouraging teammates on and off the field, reaching out to establish relationships with those you may not know, valuing the concerns and thoughts of your teammates and coach, and speaking supportively and positively at all times throughout your season. Positive and purposeful communication is the key to successful teams.

2. Be a Team Player “Team” is about commitment, selflessness, respect, and hard work. Your expectation should be to work relentlessly to build relationships and create a group identity that unites individuals together.

3. Objectively Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses Begin to think objectively about your strengths and your weaknesses without judgment. This awareness will allow you to reach your potential, embrace constructive criticism, work with others, and build self-reliance.

4. Respect Yourself and Your Opponent Both verbal and non-verbal sportsmanship and fair play must be maintained at all times.

5. Stay in Tune with your Body If you experience strain or injury, seek help and advice early. With early diagnosis, the trainer can assist you in strengthening and rehabilitating more quickly. Be sure to hydrate, eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of rest.

6. Be Accountable and Responsible You are responsible for arriving at practice in shape, focused, on time, and with all necessary equipment. Such preparation will allow you to work as hard in practice as in games, and this will allow you to perform at your best.

Role of the Athlete's Parent

The following principles/guidelines will enable us to work effectively and positively with and for your daughter to make the most of her athletic experience.

1. Be enthusiastic and supportive Remember that your child is the player and she must establish her own goals and make her own progress toward them. The most valuable part of your daughter’s experience will be what she learns about herself while enjoying her sport, interacting with peers and coaches, and encountering success and disappointment. To build a positive self-image, your support of her experiences and self-discovery is integral.

2. Let the coach be her coach regardless of how much you know about sports Your daughter needs you as a parent; she already has a qualified coach. Remember how difficult it is to grow up and how much added pressure there is in a competitive sport. You can help your daughter by offering support as she navigates her way through the academic and athletic rigors of Holton-Arms.

3. Build self-esteem Self-esteem comes not only from succeeding but also from identifying, accepting, and dealing with limitations as well as strengths. Knowing how to assess strengths and weaknesses will empower your daughter and build a strong sense of self.

4. Contribute to the positive, trusting relationship between your daughter and her coach The role of coach is to provide progressive training in which your daughter can develop as an athlete, teammate and leader. For her development to be most effective and meaningful, your daughter must trust and respect her coaches and their efforts. Your encouragement, communication, and support are necessary for such a relationship to develop. Avoid criticism of a coach or player in front of your daughter, as this would serve as an obstacle to her success. If you have a concern, please make an appointment with the Athletic Director and coach to discuss this situation.

5. Demonstrate sportsmanship At all times treat coaches, officials, opponents, and team members in a sportsmanlike manner. Rule of thumb: Treat each person the way you would want your daughter treated.

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