Written by: Christina Aulbach
With spring just around the corner, there is a noticeable excitement around the school and outdoor play is more common during and after school. A new spring sports season begins in March (click here to register for spring sports by the end of the day, Thursday 2/27). The new season prompts us to reflect on why we play outside and how it benefits our daily lives.
Individuals who prioritize an active lifestyle experience physical, emotional, and social benefits. This active time may be spent on competitive athletic teams, after school enrichment opportunities or on the playground at recess. One of the goals at York Country Day School is to promote a healthy lifestyle year-round for students by increasing participation in athletics.
Here are a few examples of how joining a team sport or participating in after school athletic enrichment activities can provide benefits in one’s daily life.
#1 Physical and Mental Health Benefits
Regular physical activity speeds up metabolism, regulates blood flow, and develops muscle in key areas like around the joints and the core of the body. Development of these muscles is important to create foundational physical habits and prevent injury. Participating in afterschool programs, such as athletics, is a great way to balance activity with sedentary time throughout the week.
Clarity of mind is another physical health benefit to regular activity. The CDC has found that after exercising, individuals experience improved cognition and decreased anxiety. Though difficult to measure, exercising and eating well provides a mental boost to power through classes, practices or competitions, and may contribute to better sleep patterns. When taken care of, the body can do great things!
#2 Time Management Development
When students create time for daily Upper School sports practices or Middle School sports practices a few times per week, students learn to manage time effectively between extracurriculars and academics. Students may work with their advisors, parents, teachers and coaches to create a study plan to achieve goals in the allotted time. Creating a study plan allows students to use the time that they have more effectively and meaningfully.
A key component to managing time well comes from knowing and organizing all commitments. The use of an electronic (iCal or Google Calendar) or physical planner can keep school work and activities in line. In an effort to achieve balance between social and school activities, it is also important to allocate time for hobbies. You may read more about the importance of time management and preparing for college here.
#3 Teamwork and Relationship Building
When students join team sports before graduating high school, students develop valuable communication and problem solving skills that translate to success on the field and in everyday experiences. Many emotions are present throughout the course of a season. The peaks and valleys of athletic competition lead to heightened moments of joy and frustration for coaches, athletes, and their families. Weathering the storm and regulating emotions will create consistency in performance by building mental toughness. It will also develop interpersonal skills in each individual to lean on when interacting with peers and superiors in future life and work situations.
Each season brings a unique blend of team personalities that will ultimately need to thrive and perform as a whole, not individual parts, to see athletic success. Coaches work to develop teamwork skills in practices that will translate into successful gametime scenarios. Athletes that play in a team sport are also given the opportunity to form friendships with individuals that they may not otherwise spend time around. This allows for individuals to be known and valued by their peers in a new environment.
When asked about specific practices and games throughout long careers spanning multiple levels, veteran athletes tend to report that the minutiae of each athletic event runs together after a period of time. One thing often reported is the friendships developed with their teammates of all levels including youth, high school, college, and professional.
Athletics provides opportunities for people with similar goals and interests to come together. Lifelong friendships are forged on the field or court each season, which is a major benefit to participation.
#4 Preparation for the Future
Participation in athletics is great preparation for future career success. A coach is similar to a supervisor that one reports to and may be evaluated by on a regular basis. It is key to personal growth on the field and in the workforce to understand discipline, respect, and being able to grow through constructive criticism.
Coaches, administrators, and seasoned teammates serve as role models to young student athletes. These individuals are tasked with “mentorship” so that they can have a hand in creating the next generation of athletes in their sport. Whether it is motivated internally or by school pride, they are committed to leaving a positive impression on up-and-coming athletes.
Athletic and academic extracurricular activities are often listed on resumes to give school admissions representatives and employers a look at the applicant as a complete package. A diverse set of extracurricular activities shows the ability to juggle and succeed in many tasks and is valuable to advertise skills that are often affiliated with team sports.
#5 Find Your Stride
Participation in a variety of activities, athletics included, will help individuals find their passion and ultimately determine what lights their fire. In a recent “This I Believe” Senior Speech, YCDS senior, Bernelle McKim, encouraged classmates to try new things until they find their passion. He advised that when something does not fit, students should pause, reevaluate it, and move on to the next new thing. This holds true in many avenues of life. Trying new activities, though maybe not experiencing immediate mastery of a skill, will help students learn valuable lessons about what their interests are and help shape their character through trial and error. Leaving a comfort zone starts with the first step.
As you can see from the list above, there are many benefits to participation in after school athletic activity. As an athletic department, we encourage all activity, even those not sponsored or hosted by YCDS. Community and recreational activities are also a great way to get started in the lower school years.
York Country Day School is currently accepting sign ups for spring sports. The link to the Google Form registration is listed below. Some sports are offered through a cooperative athletic program with York County School of Technology.
We will also be offering an athletic after school enrichment opportunity for lower school grades 1-5. Registration for this will be available soon. We hope to see your athletes on the field or court at YCDS soon. Go Greyhounds!
Spring Sports Registration Google Form
Registrations are due by the end of the school day on Thursday, February 27 (this deadline has been extended by one day)
YCDS Athletics (Practices start March 9, 2020)
Boys Tennis (Grades 9-12)
Coed Middle School Soccer (Grades 5-12, Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays)
Club Swimming (Grades 5-12, Tuesdays/Thursdays)
York Tech Athletics (Practices start March 2, 2020)
Baseball (Grades 9-12)
Softball (Grades 9-12)
Track & Field (Grades 9-12)
PIAA Physical Information
Physicals or recertification forms are due to the Athletic Director or Athletic Trainer by the end of the school day on Friday 2/29. Physicals turned in after this date may be required to sit out a day of practice until the athletic trainer has time to process the form.
PIAA Physical Form: https://ycds.myschoolapp.com/ftpimages/1412/download/download_3462666.pdf
- Athletes who have not yet participated in a school sport in this academic year (2019-2020) must complete Sections 1-6 with a physician’s signature
- Athletes who have participated in a sport and have not had major medical changes since the previous physical must complete the recertification (Section 7). A physician’s signature is not required for this section.
- Athletes who have had medical changes since the previous completion of a physical must have section 8 completed by a physician before being cleared to participate in a spring sport.
WellSpan Walk-In Physicals ($15): Visit www.wellspan.org/sportsphysicals for more information.