Dear Powhatan Parents,
“Good coaching may be defined as the development of character, personality and habits of players, plus the teaching of fundamentals and team play.” Claire Bee – Former Basketball coach at Long Island University.
These words truly resonated with me as I sat down last week with Brian Burke, Athletic Director, at Powhatan and some of his coaching staff. This group of dedicated individuals give of their time and expertise each day to guide our upper elementary and upper school students as they learn a new sport or perfect their skills at a sport they enjoy playing.
Powhatan believes that coaches are teachers too. The courts and fields are their classrooms, and the lessons they are teaching are giving students skills they will need for life. Since many of our coaches are classroom teachers and/or individuals who have played the sport they are coaching in high school and college, they understand the importance of what they are doing and the impact it will have on our students as they move on to their next institutions – whether or not they decide to continue playing a sport.
The real motivation for our students to become engaged in sports is not just to participate in our athletic program, but to bolster their growth as individuals. At the Middle School level, we want students to have a positive team experience, develop the habit of daily physical activity, step out of their comfort zone to try a new sport and develop important life skills such as resilience, perseverance, self-confidence, teamwork, and communication. We set the foundation for this learning in the lower school physical education program where these skills are introduced and taught through non-competitive games and activities such as tag games, cooperative challenges and creative movement centers. Students learn the give and take of winning and losing and how to support fellow teammates to achieve goals.
Our athletic program for sixth, seventh and eighth graders is thoughtfully designed to give students at all skill and interest levels the opportunity to play a sport and/or remain active. Team practices are during the school day so that students are not tied into a practice after school. Many of our students play on travel teams outside of Powhatan, so if a student opts out one season to play a travel sport, there are still active options to try – such as outdoor education, dance, pre-season lacrosse and recreational sports which includes handball, indoor soccer, floor hockey and ultimate Frisbee. All middle schoolers are required to play one season each year, however, 90% of our middle schoolers play two team sports each year and 75% play three team sports each year.
Our coaches, who interact each day with the students, have an enthusiasm for learning which is contagious. The positive way they encourage each student brings out their personal best and resilience. Please take a few minutes to listen to the conversation I had with them by tuning in to the podcast at the top of the page. You will be inspired by their dedication not only to the sport they coach, but also to the life lessons they are modeling.
I look forward to see you at a game or match in the near future! Go Chiefs!!
Head of School