Panthers Partner with Positive Coaching Alliance
After finishing up their first day of preseason practices on Monday, Princeton Day's fall athletes gathered in the Campus Center for the third year of "Panthers Are..." assemblies. Tim Williams, Director of Athletics, announced that for the next three years the school will be partnering with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), which is a national non-profit organization with the mission of creating a positive, character-building youth sports environment that results in "better athletes, better people." Through this partnership, facilitators will come and work with Princeton Day School coaches, players and parents in order to create a positive culture surrounding Panther sports.
The Importance of Double Goal Coaching
Last Thursday, PCA facilitator Devon Jefferson came to work with the fall coaches. In the coaches sessions Ms. Jefferson laid the groundwork for what would be covered in the "Panthers Are..." assembly that was held Monday.They discussed the importance of double goal coaching, which partners striving to win with teaching life lessons. The coaches agreed that they want their players to not only be good players, but also good teammates and good leaders. Furthermore, there is hope that these attributes will not be restricted to the field of competition, but will penetrate the Princeton Day community more broadly, in their classrooms and in the hallways.
The purpose of this partnership is to make our student athletes better competitors on the field by recognizing and coaching the whole person. It is not only raw skill or talent that is important to success, but also being coachable, having a good attitude, and being a good teammate. Here at Princeton Day we are striving for every one of our athletes to be a "Triple-Impact Competitor" that works to improve themselves, their teammates, and the game.
Student Athletes Contribute Valuable Insight
The assembly was fast paced and interactive, with student-athletes contributing their own ideas about how Panther Athletics can help to build character and positive teammates as well as maintain a standard of excellence. A member of the field hockey team tackled the difference between competing and winning. She said "you can win without really competing and you can compete without winning." In the end, you cannot always control the outcome, but you can always control how you compete. A member of the volleyball team added that the thing that comes to mind when thinking about a competitor is effort. The athletes also spent time differentiating between what they can and cannot control. While the weather, referees and other players' effort may be out of their control, they all agreed they can always control their own attitude and their own effort.
Ms. Jefferson also spoke about the importance of filling one's "emotional tank," which is something that Princeton Day has prioritized both on and off the field, through programs such as the Positive Coaches Alliances and the Health and Wellness Program directed by Dr. Shah. The players took time to think about specific examples of what fills and drains their tanks. One powerful example was shared by a member of the Volleyball team, who had just had her first ever volleyball practice. She spoke about how her first practice was a success because her teammates kept encouraging her to do better and continue trying even when she did not succeed right away. This process of reflecting on their own experiences allowed them to understand how they can better serve themselves and their communities by being mindful "energy raisers" and "tank fillers."
The "Panthers ARE..." Culture
To conclude the assembly, the teams all came up with values that were important to their team culture. Some of the recurring values that were given by many teams included giving your best effort at all times, being mentally tough, striving for constant improvement, bouncing back from mistakes, being supportive of teammates and having fun. Each of these answers represents what Panthers ARE. The responses from the student athletes highlight the strong, value-based cultures that are so integral to Princeton Day's athletic success. Our student athletes have learned that in order to be successful, both on and off the field, it is vital to have a culture that supports work ethic, growth, and camaraderie above winning.
Overall, this assembly provided insight into the wonderful qualities that already exist within Panthers Athletics, as well as provided key ideas, tools and goals to help our student athletes and coaches create a most positive and rewarding athletic experience at Princeton Day School. Tim Williams concluded the assembly by encouraging students to "take some of the things we have talked about here and integrate them into your practices, your game, and how you interact with your classmates and even people who aren't you classmates."
Read more about the Positive Coaching Alliance here