Philosophy of Interscholastic Athletics

The Interscholastic Athletics Program is a component of the Physical Education Program. Educational policies and governance encompass the goals and methods of the sports program. Participation in interscholastic athletics promotes the development of physical, mental, and social skills, a positive self-image, and an understanding of teamwork and cooperation. Rodeph Sholom School, a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools endorses the NYSAIS quest to “develop individual and team potential by promoting high standards of competence, character, civility, and citizenship.”

This is a competitive program, therefore teams, especially in older grades, will naturally strive for victory. However, winning and losing is only one indicator of a team’s success. The process of team and individual improvement over the course of a season, requiring dedication, sacrifice, and effort, are deserving of sense of satisfaction regardless of team record. The lesson of remaining modest in victory and magnanimous in defeat directly support the RSS mission of fostering self-­‐confident and socially responsible leaders.

Playing time Philosophy:

The following is a list of goals for playing time at each team level. While circumstances differ from game to game, RSS coaches generally follow these guidelines. Although the middle school program is competitive, it is designed to meet the developmental needs of its participants.  At this level, there is a no-cut policy. The focus is on learning athletic skills, game rules, the fundamentals of team play, and sportsmanship.

5th/6th Grade Teams: Coaches are expected to make every effort to provide each team member with an opportunity to play in every game and experience success or, if the numbers make that goal impossible, to develop a rotation that will ensure meaningful playing time for each team member in as many games as possible throughout the season. In addition, at this level, the Director of Athletics may contact opposing schools to modify contests in order to provide playing time for all. This may include longer or additional playing periods. We do compete internally (intra-squad scrimmages).

7th/8th Grade Teams: Coaches are expected to make every effort to provide each team member with an opportunity to play during the season; this does not mean every athlete will play in every game. When participation numbers are high, the Director of Athletics will make every attempt to increase the game schedule so that all participants can receive meaningful opportunities to play. This may mean that student-­‐ athletes are split into two or three teams and assigned a new game schedule. It is solely at the discretion of the coaching staff and the Director of Athletics to determine how the teams are split.

Middle School Sports Philosophy

In the upper elementary grades we teach skill-based physical education lessons to serve as a foundation for participation in middle school athletics.

A modified sports program is available to all students in the 5th through 8th grades. Currently, we offer 8 sports (26 teams) over 3 seasons, fall, winter and spring.. Ultimate Frisbee Club, featuring intramural scrimmages, is offered in fall as a Friday afternoon activity. Sports offerings are determined by the existence of leagues, student interest, and the relationship to local high school programs. Most students in the middle school play at least one after school sport.

The focus of teaching at this level is on learning athletic skills, game rules, fundamentals of team play, social and emotional growth, physiologically appropriate demands on the pre-adolescent/adolescent body, and healthy competition. Although 7th and 8th grade competition is significantly more rigorous than at the 5th and 6th level, the aforementioned goals remain most important.