Interscholastic Athletic Program Philosophy And Purpose
The Putnam Valley Athletic Department has a strong belief that the Interscholastic Athletic Program prepares our students to become productive citizens in our community and society. Specifically, a wide-ranging program of athletic activities represents our commitment to development of physical fitness, personal health, and the striving of competent performance in any given sport.
Through the athletic program, our primary focus is the individual, development of each student, resulting in a stronger self-image, confidence in the learning of new skills and motivating each student to strive “to the next level of accomplishment.” Accomplishing these objectives is done through competitive situations of practice and contests that foster the acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions, test one’s skills against standards of quality, allow the expression of ideas and solutions to specific testing situations, valuing fair play, honesty and allowing cooperation.
The faculty and administration of Putnam Valley High School and Middle School recognize that the interscholastic athletic program is an extension of the core curricular objectives of both schools. The students will be engaged in carefully planned and quality learning experiences that are expected to enhance observable changes in knowledge application, physical skill attainment, self-esteem, physical conditioning and problem solving skills. This program will also include experiences in human relations, opportunities to grow emotionally, and situations that will test individual and group character. Finally, the athletic program at each level will offer opportunities to supplement and refine already learned skills, and to do extremely well in areas compatible with the student’s talents, abilities and attainable desires.
Athletic Program Levels and Philosophy
The Modified Athletic Program level of competition consists of athletic opportunities for students in 7th & 8th grades. This level provides a bridge between recreational activities and the organizational structure of an interscholastic athletic program. It is a level where the focus is toward teaching and learning in an environment that stresses skill development and improvement for all students. The modified programs are designed to embrace all students who are willing to put forth the effort, without the fear of being “cut.” However, if the number of students trying out for a team creates a situation that is difficult to manage, poses a safety problem, or is problematic because of facility considerations, reducing team size may be necessary. No “cuts” will be made based upon skill level alone. Ultimately, the number of teams and size of the squad in any sport will be determined by the availability of: 1) financial resources, 2) qualified and certified coaches, 3) suitable indoor or outdoor facilities, and 4) a safe environment.
Therefore, students should realize an improved self-esteem, benefits of physical conditioning, skill development, self-discipline, time management and opportunities to meet other students from various locations. Competitions will be scheduled only with other schools with similar grade level – 7th and 8th grade.
The fall modified athletic program begins within the first full week in September. Seasonal organizational meetings begin in the spring of the previous year and again prior to the first practice. Winter and spring programs begin with an organization meeting prior to each sports season. Practices are held 5 days per week and occasionally Saturday. Each practice session is 1 1/2 to 2 hours in duration. The practices/contests are held at the High/Middle School complex, Town Park, Elementary School or Copper Beech Middle School (swimming only) depending upon the sport, and facility availability. Transportation is provided for all off campus practices and/or contests. The District will provide general transportation routes at 4:15 PM and 5:30 PM for after school programs. If you are picking your child up at the Middle School after a contest or practice, please arrive at the time designated by the coach.
There is flexibility within this program to meet outside obligations, i.e. religious classes and after school help/enrichment programs. This flexibility helps discipline the student in time management. It should be understood that other appointments should be kept to a minimum in order to give the student the best opportunity to practice and test his/her athletic skills.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has a program of “Selection Classification” which enables an exceptional athlete to request an opportunity to test his/her skills at a higher level. The athletic department does not recommend this program. Our belief is that students should stay within their own grade level of competition as long as possible. Specific performance indicators may reflect an individual’s need to be reviewed at a higher level. The parent or the coach makes this request to the Athletic Director. A committee will be convened made up of Athletic Director, coach, school physician and physical education teacher to perform a pre-evaluation assessment of the student to determine if the student has potential to successfully participate at a higher level of athletic competition. Other factors that enter into the decision are the number of available team slots, will high school students be “cut” and the social impact of the student with high school students.
The Junior Varsity Program level of competition is intended for students who display the potential for continued development into productive varsity level performers. The team usually consists of freshmen and sophomores, with an occasional junior. Seniors are not permitted to participate on the junior varsity level unless reclassified by The New York State Public High School Athletic Association “Selection Classification” program.
The junior varsity level begins to shift the focus toward competition. Students are encouraged to develop a work ethic that will enable them to continue to improve and begin to take their abilities to a higher level. It is expected that the student will visibly commit him/her self to the sport, the team, and to continued self-development. Increased emphasis is placed on physical conditioning, refinement of fundamental skills, continued sportsmanship, team play, elements of strategy, and social emotional development.
Junior varsity programs work towards achieving a balance between continued team and player development and striving for victory. The outcome of the contest becomes a consideration at this level.
The realization that practice sessions are important is a premise that is vital to a successful junior varsity team and player. For all team members, meaningful contest participation will exist over the course of a season. However, a specified amount of playing time is never guaranteed. Participants at this level are preparing themselves for the six-day-a-week commitment that is expected at the varsity level. With the goal of becoming a varsity athlete clearly in sight, a high level of dedication and commitment is expected at the junior varsity level. It is recommended that each student athlete take a close look at the time commitment required prior to trying out for a particular sport. In general, the approximate time required is 10 to 15 hours per week.
The Varsity Program is the culmination of each athletic program. Occasionally, a sophomore, and, infrequently, a freshman may be included on the team providing evidence of advanced levels of physical development, athletic skill and appropriate emotional development is demonstrated. Parental involvement and agreement is necessary to the final placement of the freshman or sophomore athlete. The coach should provide information regarding team role, projected expectations and alternative actions if the young athlete cannot fulfill the expected outcomes.
Squad size at the varsity level is limited. The number of participants on any given team is a function of the individuals needed to conduct an effective and meaningful practice and to play the contest. It is vital that each team member has a role and be informed of his/her individual roles in pursuit of the team’s goals. While contest participation over the course of a season is desirable, a specified amount of playing time at the varsity level is never guaranteed.
A sound attitude and advanced level of skill are prerequisites for a position on a varsity team, as is the realization that a varsity sport requires a six-day-a-week commitment. This commitment is often extended into vacation periods for all sport seasons. While contests and practices are rarely held on holidays and Sundays, the dedication and commitment needed to conduct successful varsity program should be taken seriously.
The varsity coach is the leader of that sport’s program and determines the system of instruction and strategy for that program. The communication among the modified, junior varsity and varsity programs is the responsibility of the varsity coach. Preparing to win, striving for victory in each contest and working to reach the group’s and individual’s maximum potential are worthy goals of a varsity level team.