“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi
Most athletes will tell you that there is nothing like putting on your school’s team uniform for the first time. There is a feeling of pride and a sense of unity that comes from being a part of a whole that is represented by that crisp, clean jersey. Middle School is typically the first opportunity for most athletes to compete for their school, making this a truly special time for these students.
The Episcopal Middle School athletics program has recently experienced tremendous growth. Williams says over the past three years the Knights have had a record number of participants in basketball and volleyball. In addition, Middle School students are competing in softball, flag and tackle football, cross country, swimming, soccer and track. Ample opportunities to participate and compete means more students benefit from the overall team experience. Click here to read more about the 2A sports opportunities available at Episcopal.
Research has shown that participation in athletics fosters independence, a sense of community, healthy lifestyle choices and the development of lifelong leadership skills. Williams says students also develop the time management skills needed to manage classroom requirements and the demands of the team. This is significant in Middle School as students transition to more responsibility for their own academics and more rigorous course requirements.
Middle School is also the time when students increase their overall understanding of the game and refine their skills. Practice requirements increase as students get older, becoming more and more like the drills run by Upper School students. In addition, eighth grade students are introduced to strength and conditioning and summer practices. Williams says that the Middle School coaching staff are always cognizant of the fact that Middle School students are not Upper School students with smaller frames. He says safety is a top priority as students develop healthy habits and proper techniques that will serve them well, regardless of which sport they choose.
The success of the Middle School program means so much more than just building a successful Upper School pipeline. As students get in the game and feel the support of their community and families, their confidence soars. This confidence helps them take on new challenges and opportunities. The perseverance required to develop and improve new skills helps them achieve in the classroom. The sense of community provides them the support needed to keep trying.
Are you a Middle School sports fan? Click here to view the division’s athletics calendar and make plans to attend an event.
Go Middle School Knights!