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Four Keys to Student-Athlete Success

Written by Tim Ginter, Director of Athletics

For as long as I can remember, I have loved sports. Although baseball was always my constant, you name the sport, I tried it. In my role as Athletic Director, I am reminded daily why I loved playing sports. More importantly, I am reminded why playing sports can be so beneficial to a child’s development. I continue to be proud to lead an athletic program that does not cut, thereby providing all students who are interested an opportunity to push themselves on their journey to become the best version of themselves. I typically break down the benefits of sports into four areas:

1. Time Management and Discipline
At GA, our students are involved in many activities. In order for them to be successful, an understanding of time management is a must. It is one thing to organize your schedule to manage your time, but it is another to have the discipline to stick to it. Our students are almost forced to develop these skills in order to participate in sports and keep up with their studies. Each year, I continue to be amazed at how many students balance their academics with athletics. I believe that their desire to want to do both well is a driving force in the development of these skills.

2. Collaboration
There may be nothing more important than learning how to work with others. At GA, we reinforce this daily. Because of the many opportunities for students to collaborate in the classroom, we have seen these skills increase on our athletic teams. Collaboration also increases a student’s problem-solving skills and gives them opportunities to coach each other, something we have seen to be very beneficial. One of the main jobs of a coach is to prepare student-athletes for competition; yet once a contest begins, a lot is placed on the player’s ability to process and be ready to adjust. Those who are best at collaborating are typically prepared to make those adjustments.

3. Mental and Physical Health
Although we continue to distance ourselves from the pandemic, it is important to remember what we have learned from it. We were reminded, time and again, of the importance of our students’ mental health. Sports continue to be what many students look forward to each day, so providing them with opportunities to compete is now as important as ever. The physical activity each day promotes overall fitness and increases student energy levels. Participation in sports has also been linked to a positive increase in how students view themselves. Mental, physical, and spiritual health will continue to be in the forefront at GA.

4. Social
Something that I have noticed in my time at GA is that to the student-athletes and coaches, it’s not just about building teams; they go out of their way to create inclusive programs. The players on these teams enjoy being around each other. They do things together outside of their sport, which helps form relationships that are sustained after the season is over. This is the beginning of life-long friendships that are first made by working toward mutual goals in preparation for competition. You see this when they come back as alums for events like GA-PC Day. Winning is great, but for many, it is the experience they had while participating that keeps them returning to their alma mater.

Like all of our coaches, I still get excited about the wins and am disappointed with the losses. However, the four areas above resonate strongly with me and the entire GA leadership team – we are truly all on the same page. If these goals remain our focus, the wins (both literal and metaphorical) will take care of themselves.