The Philosophy Behind Interscholastic Athletics

Burr and Burton seeks to expose all students to the positive lessons learned through participation in a well-conceived program of competitive interscholastic sports, as well as to impart a life-long appreciation for the benefits of a regular, thoughtful and healthy routine of physical activity and personal fitness.

Athletics is one of the best ways to teach young people about the meaning of responsibility, respect, dedication, accountability, discipline, integrity, and teamwork. Burr and Burton’s athletic program provides an opportunity for students to compete on a wide variety of teams at all levels.

The values learned through competition translate easily into the ideals that Burr and Burton Academy upholds. They provide a solid foundation for success in life, long after athletes graduate from Burr and Burton.

It is important to distinguish between professional sports and education-based athletics. Professional sports fall squarely in an entertainment zone, while education-based athletics fall under the realm of education and need to be protected as an educational opportunity. Athletes and parents have important roles to play in this regard.

Athlete's Role

Be committed to impacting your sport by improving yourself, your team, and the larger community.

Commit to being in great shape. Your athletic skills are limited by your physical, mental, and emotional health. Build a strong base in each of these areas prior to the start of the season. Maintain that base throughout the season.

Being a great athlete requires intentionality. Give your maximum effort in practice as well as competition. Give your body the exercise/rest/nutrition/hydration it needs to support all that you ask of it during your sports season.

Up your mental game. Practice visualization, positive self-talk, and a "mistake ritual" so that they will be ready when you need them.

Find ways to fill your emotional tank. Increase the time you spend with tank fillers. Increase the time you spend doing positive things.

Have a teachable spirit. Appreciate correction. It is feedback on your performance designed to help you improve. Say, “thank you,” and implement the feedback.

Make team success your first priority. Take on the role the team needs. Usually this requires you to push beyond what you have done in the past.

Fill the emotional tanks of your teammates by offering them specific, positive feedback on their actions.

Develop positive team traditions that lift people up and reinforce the intentional culture of your team.

Use your status and influence to improve the community. While there are many people who work hard in the school, athletes have the advantage of their work being highly visible to others. With that comes increased scrutiny and great responsibility. Manage yourself (grades, relationships, work, behavior, etc.) and seize opportunities to be an Upstander: get involved in anti-bullying, support classmates’ activities (other sports, academics, and arts), and become involved in other areas of the school.

Parents' Role

Parents play a vital role in Burr and Burton's athletic program. Parents should leave the officiating to the officials, the coaching to the coaches, the playing to the players, and focus on the life lessons young people take away from sports. Nobody else can do this job the way that parents can.

Parents should help athletes prepare for competition with proper rest, nutrition, hydration, and emotional support. Burr and Burton's training rules are an important first step in helping athletes achieve their potential, but parents can go much further in providing a winning lifestyle. Talk to your child’s coach for more information about proper preparation for competition.

Throughout the season, but especially after games, talk to your son or daughter to make sure they are taking away the appropriate life lessons from their experience. Winning and losing athletic contests are not inherently positive or negative experiences -- use them as opportunities to build your teenager into the kind of adult you want them to be.

Adversity in athletics provides students the perfect opportunity to learn a number of important lessons. If you clear the path, some of those lessons are lost. Give them the support they need to develop appropriate strategies so that they will be better equipped to handle real adversity in life.

An athletic contest is a classroom where young people are being tested in a very public way. Respect the situation and model positive sportsmanship.

During games, cheer loudly for your athlete and their teammates. There will be difficult moments during the competition and your presence on the sideline and your vocal support will give your athlete a boost to perform at their best. Allow them freedom to do their job without micromanaging their work. It is confusing for an athlete to receive instruction from multiple sources during a contest. Give them the chance to execute the game plan they have worked on in practice without interference.

Allow the officials to do their job without comments from you. This is their place of business. Spectators have no place interacting with officials other than to thank them for their time. Throughout the state, in all sports, there are far too few people willing to become officials. Appreciate the ones we have and if you are truly knowledgeable about the rules of the game, please consider joining the profession.

After a game, tell your athlete how much you love watching them play. Let the athlete steer any conversation about the experience by asking open-ended questions. If you have advice to share, ask them if they are ready for it and respect their answer. Sometimes they just want to share their thoughts and feelings.

As parents of teenagers, you already know how quickly time flies. Enjoy the remainder of your son or daughter’s athletic career. Use it to grow closer and to teach life lessons.