SCCS Interscholastic Sports Policy
All parents and constituents
Sioux Center Christian School
Sioux Center, IA 51250
Attached is the school's policy on interscholastic athletic activities. It was adopted during the 1995-96 school year and has been reviewed several times since then.
A great deal of work went into the construction of this policy. Committees were first assigned to research and discuss not only the place of athletics in the Christian school, but the developmental needs of elementary aged students as well. That research demanded an athletic policy which spoke to adolescent needs, recognizing the distinct developmental differences between high school and middle school students.
The board in turn appointed a special committee to articulate such an athletic policy. Committee membership represented parents, faculty, and administration.
The policy speaks to the importance of each child, provides opportunity for all interested seventh and eighth grade students to enjoy interscholastic sports, and gives direction to students, parents, coaches, and board. We encourage you to take time to read this document carefully. We trust that you too will be pleased with the direction it gives. Thank you for your time and support.
A. To provide all seventh and eighth grade students opportunity to enjoy team sports and develop personal skills through their participation in the school's seventh and eighth grade interscholastic sports program.
1. The program takes into consideration development of the whole person--intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, as well as physical.
2. Every child is perceived as God's image-bearer.
B. All children who demonstrate an interest to participate in any aspect of the interscholastic athletic program will become a team member. SCCS has a "no cut" policy.
1. Individual students must attend all scheduled practices, team meetings, and games.
a. Students will be excused because of illness (parental communication--oral or written required.)
b. Students will be excused for other circumstances providing that their parents have contacted the athletic director at least one day in advance.
c. Any student who has an unexcused absence from a scheduled practice, team meeting, or game will not suit for the following game.
2. Individual students must demonstrate their desire to cooperate with the coaching staff and other team members during practices, team meetings, and games. Continued failure to cooperate will jeopardize individual playing time and may even lead to suspension from the team.
C. All students who dress for a game will play. (Coaches are reminded that this means more than a token amount of playing time.)
II. The program itself.
A. Seventh grade
1. The emphasis here is on participation and skill building.
2. This is also the level at which student understanding of the roles and relationship between players and coaches must be developed.
3. The number of seventh grade students opting to participate in a particular sport will determine the number of SCCS teams needed to provide optimal playing time for each child. Each team should have a maximum of twelve to fifteen members with the exception of soccer teams; no maximum limit is prescribed for soccer because of the nature of the game.
a. Seventh grade teams will be as equal as possible in regard to skill level.
b. All seventh grade teams and team members will have an equal amount of playing opportunities.
1) The yearly 7th grade interscholastic athletic schedule should include a minimum of:
- 3 boys' soccer games, plus one round robin
- 4 girls' volleyball matches, plus one round robin
- intersquad scrimmage, 1 jamboree (hybrid game/scrimmage) situation involving three or more teams) and 2 games for both boys' and girls' basketball
- 4 track meets involving boys and girls
B. Eighth grade
1. The emphasis at this level is on participation, skill building and team play.
2. The continued development of student understanding of the roles and relationship between players and coaches also remains a goal.
3. The number of eighth grade students opting to participate in a particular sport will determine the number of SCCS teams needed to provide optimal playing time for each child. Each team should have a maximum of twelve to fifteen members with the exception of soccer teams; no maximum limit is prescribed for soccer because of the nature of the game.
a. Eighth grade teams will be formed according to the interest and skill level of all participating students.
b. Team membership may change from game to game.
c. All eighth grade teams/team members will have equal playing opportunities through the course of the season.
1) The yearly 8th grade interscholastic athletic schedule should include a minimum of:
- 6 boys' soccer games, plus one round robin
- 6 girls' volleyball games, plus one round robin
- 6 to 8 boys' and girls' basketball games
- 5 track meets involving girls and boys
C. Tournament participation
1. Sioux Center Christian School interscholastic sports teams will only participate in tournaments which allow all of the school's eighth grade teams (and/or seventh grade when/if appropriate) to participate. (Rational: single elimination tournaments traditionally emphasize winning at all costs. Such tournaments traditionally tend to put an amount of stress on the players that adolescents of this age are developmentally not yet capable of dealing with.)
2. Sioux Center Christian School teams will not be allowed to participate in single elimination tournaments--only double elimination and round robin tournaments will be considered.
3. All guidelines outlined in this policy will be followed any time a SCCS interscholastic team is involved in practice or game situations.
III. Student eligibility
A. Participation in extracurricular activities at Sioux Center Christian School is a privilege, not a right. Students, as representatives of the Christian school community, must demonstrate the lordship of Jesus Christ in their daily lives.
B. Students who consistently demonstrate lack of respect to fellow students or authority, demonstrate poor attitudes, do academic work below their level of ability, or become involved in behaviors which diminish Christ's name, may lose the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. Notification of probation or suspension will be given to the student and his or her parents by the principal or athletic director when any of the above occur. A suspension from any extracurricular activity will be a minimum of one week in duration; permission to participate in extracurricular activities will not be granted until improvement is obvious.
A. All coaches will be interviewed by the principal and athletic director. Interview questions will address Christian commitment, past experience, personal goals as they relate to the position, and the applicant's ability to work within the guidelines of this policy. (Which requires that the applicant receive a copy of the appropriate parts of this policy prior to the interview.)
B. Coaching guidelines
1. Coach and player relationship/roles will be explained by the coach at the onset of each sport season.
2. SCCS goals and objectives for seventh and eighth grade interscholastic athletics will be reviewed with team members throughout each sport season. Coaches will also explain their goals--which will be in harmony with those of the school--at this time.
3. Coaches are responsible for working with the athletic director and other appropriate school personnel to accomplish the goals and objectives of the SCCS interscholastic sports program as stated in this policy.
4. All coaches who are not regular SCCS professional staff members will be assigned a mentor. That person will be a member of the SCCS professional staff and will be in regular communication with his/her assigned coach.
5. Coaches will maintain a high level of Christian self-discipline at all times.
6. The coach's first concern must be the best interests of the children (God's imagebearers). This implies a wholistic approach to coaching--team members are spiritual beings with spiritual needs. Children must learn that everything must be done to glorify God. They are His disciples today, in all things including interscholastic sports. They must be enabled to grow in their relationship to self, neighbor, and God. Practice and team meeting times are the best places to evaluate, discuss, and establish team and even personal goals. Coaches must be careful not to reduce spiritual growth to what can sometimes be perceived as "good luck" prayers before a game.
7. Student discipline matters requiring long or short term suspension will be brought to the attention of the athletic director. He/she will work with the school principal in the administration of said suspension.
8. All seventh and eighth grade team members will receive equal playing time as defined in sections II A and B above. Coaches are expected to keep accurate stat books and may be requested to submit them to the athletic director.
In our efforts to develop policies that promote the healthy development of our children and in the context to try to understand the appropriate place and level of competitive activities it is important to have some sense of the developmental characteristics of children in grades K-8. Realizing that it is very difficult to briefly describe the many facets of development, we will focus on psychosocial development. A primary area of our concern is the impact of competition on the child's developing sense of self and his/her relationship with others.
The Age of Expansion: 4-7 years
At this age children are busy formulating their own perspective, their own plans, purposes and ideas. Their minds and bodies are growing a mile-a-minute and they don't seem to have time to take it all in. The child is taking a serious interest in the social world around him/her and they thrive on lots of love and attention. They are eager to please and have a difficult time when they sense disapproval. This is an age of energetic social learning through play and watching closely to see what grownups and older children are like and what they do. Activities should be fun, playful and focused on skill development. Some caution needs to be exercised to watch that they don't develop expectations too far beyond their abilities.
The Age of Striving for Achievement: 7-11 years
The child in this stage is learning the feeling of satisfaction in saying; "I can do it!"; "I know how/why!"; "Look at what I made!". This is the time when fantasy lessens and the child settles down to do real things and wants to be good at them. The child is developing specific interests in activities and is likely to be beginning to shy away from those that he/she thinks they have little chance of success or is embarrassed to try because they're "not good enough". The child needs encouragement and assistance in doing things at which they can succeed and feel good about themselves. This is also the time when team membership is becoming very important with the approval of one's peers having a significant impact on one's self-image. Children at this age are a little more accurate in their self-perceptions; however, a sense of failure and fear of embarrassment can leave them with the impression that "I'll never be any good at ...." Children at this age are very readily picking up the attitudes and values of the community around them, they are keenly aware of what counts.
Early adolescence: 12-14 years
This is a time of many changes coupled with a very self-conscious and often self-critical appraisal of these changes. Early teens tend to be easily embarrassed, very sensitive to comparisons and strongly motivated to avoid the disapproval of peers. Peer pressure is probably at its greatest and the teen is very much aware of those avenues that seem to lead to popularity, status and recognition as well as those that often result in unpopularity and disapproval. Typically, teens have a strong need to "prove" themselves often turning to sports and other peer/society defined activities as a means of being accepted. The young adolescent is also in the process of refining their sense of identity with the particular danger of often allowing one or two activities or relationships to become the core of their identity. Those who can't live up to the abilities and expectations of others may find themselves left out or actively avoiding many activities. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this age group is their moodiness, inconsistency and belief that they are a lot more grownup than they really are.
From a developmental perspective, questions about competition seem to boil down to two major concerns. First, competition tends to involve significant social evaluation of one's abilities (often for the adolescent of one's total identity). Any achievement situation involving social evaluation of an ability that the child considers important can be threatening if he/she anticipates failing or getting negative appraisal from others. In evaluating the place and role of competition, we must consider the social evaluation potential of the activity recognizing that some activities may be inherently more evaluative than others and therefore require more planning or management. Those activities that have one or more of the following characteristics may lead to an intensity of competition that is counterproductive:
- highly visible performance
- focus on individual performance
- tend to emphasize key positions or situations
- activities where winning or losing tends to be taken very personally by both the participants and observers
The second consideration is that we must remember that competition is a process, not a product. Competition, at the appropriate intensity can be helpful for skill development as well as personal and social maturation. The problem with competitive situations seems to be that competition is often reduced in meaning to the final score, winning or losing. The literature on the negative impact of competition on children seems to clearly point out that it is extremely important to put the win-loss aspect of competition activities into perspective. To create an atmosphere fostering both healthy development and achievement, realistic performance goals should replace winning as the principle criteria for success. (Performance goals focus on skill development and cooperative team efforts.) By striving for and attaining performance goals, a feeling of personal accomplishment can be achieved by all participants; regardless of the outcome.