Athletic Philosophy

  • Interscholastic athletics in the Fredonia Central School District is an outgrowth of our physical education and health program and, therefore, is an integral part of the district’s total educational program. The interscholastic competitive environment provides an opportunity for our participants to learn positive life skills, values and ethics in a climate that demands dedication, responsibility, self-discipline, cooperation, a positive work ethic and respect for others. This program provides an opportunity for all to share their common interests, respect their differences, and appreciate physical competition as a lifelong process.

    All involved in the program must show a personal commitment to the goals of the team and make the personal sacrifices necessary in order to achieve success. Making such a commitment to excellence nurtures a sense of pride, loyalty and leadership qualities in an athlete, enabling the individual to become more resilient and better prepared to face life’s challenges. This unique experience allows students to achieve their full potential as students, athletes, and citizens. It is the nature of athletic competition to strive for victory. However, the number of victories is only one measure of success. Ultimately, the real challenge is guiding the individual and the team to reach full potential. This is the true measure of achievement. The competitive athletic environment is one that demands respect for a full effort, and applause for those who rise to the challenge and accept the risk of defeat. Those who are successful in life are those who have learned to embrace challenge, and take personal risks. Dedication and self-sacrifice on the athletic field do not always result in victory over the opponent. However, if one strives towards reaching full potential, with passion and perseverance, personal victories that last a lifetime is the end reward, even though the win-loss record may not always meet with your expectations.  The Fredonia interscholastic athletic program offers a wide variety of individual and team sports. The experience begins with a modified program, provided for middle school seventh and eighth grade students, progressing to the high school program, which includes opportunities for participation in junior varsity programs and culminates with a varsity level experience for the elite athlete.

    Modified Program Philosophy

    Middle school “modified” programs, in general, offer an introduction to the world of competitive athletics. Sport activities offered are determined by the existence of leagues, student interest, facility availability, financial resources, and the relationship to the high school program. At this point, the focus is on learning basic skills and game rules, fundamentals of team play, social and emotional growth, and healthy competition. The emphasis is to provide an opportunity for children, through physical participation in a positive competitive environment, to learn about their capabilities and appreciate human physical potential. Athletes are introduced to the benefits of physical conditioning, and encouraged to become responsible for maintaining an appropriate fitness level. The “modified” program allows for game rules and requirements of play to be adapted matching the competitive abilities of young, inexperienced, middle school athletes who have not yet reached emotional, social, physiological, or physical maturity.  While we would like to provide an opportunity for every athlete who expresses interest in a program this is not always possible. While we try to avoid cuts at the middle school level, certain factors exist that must be dealt with by imposing a limitation on the number of students that can be accommodated in specific programs. If the number of students trying out for a team creates a situation that is difficult to manage, poses a safety problem, or is problematic because of facility consideration, reducing team size may be necessary. Ultimately, the number of teams and size of the squad in any sport will be determined by the availability of:

    1. Financial resources
    2. Qualified coaches
    3. Suitable indoor or outdoor facilities
    4. A safe environment
    5. Student interest

    In order for the desired development of the adolescent athlete and team to occur, practice sessions are vital. The NYSPHSAA and Section 6 have established sport specific practice guidelines which govern the number of practices that each individual and team must have in order to be eligible for competition. There are also established guidelines which govern the number of contests allowed, and in certain sports, mandate days of rest between scheduled contests.

    Generally speaking, coaches expect athletes to regularly attend five/six practices a week lasting between one and one half to two hours in duration, in preparation for the six to twelve contests that are scheduled against opponents from other school districts. Practices or contests can be scheduled on Saturdays, and vacation dates. Opportunities for contest participation for each team member will exist over the course of a season, providing that the athlete meets program expectations. Playing time will vary between individuals and will be determined by the coach. Determining factors will include readiness capacity, skill level, team expectations and safety. Athletes in all programs, regardless of level, are expected to be committed and give a full effort to practice sessions, maintain a positive and cooperative attitude and show a willingness to meet the team’s needs with respect to position and role. Every athlete is expected to demonstrate respect for others and promote positive sportsmanship. In addition, the athlete must have enough skill and physical maturity to safely participate in the competitive climate.

    Junior Varsity Program Philosophy

    The junior varsity program is intended for those who display the potential for continued development into productive varsity level players. Teams are comprised of mostly ninth and tenth grade athletes. In certain situations, juniors, who may be still viewed as potential contributors at the varsity level, may be allowed to participate on a junior varsity squad. This circumstance however, is more the exception to the rule.

    The high school sport season (three seasons per year) is longer than the middle school sport season (four seasons per year). The practice sessions are longer and more intense and the skill requirements for participation in contests are greater. The atmosphere is more competitive and in many cases athletes, who were able to meet the demands of play at the modified program, will not be able to meet the expectations of participation at the junior varsity level. Athletes must be prepared for a competitive tryout situation and should not assume that they will automatically make the team because they were involved in the program at the modified level. Each and every season is treated as a new year and tryouts are conducted accordingly.

    Skill, conditioning, work ethic and reliability are big factors in an athlete’s quest to move up. At this level, athletes are expected to have visibly committed themselves to the program and continued self- development. To this end, increased emphasis is placed on physical conditioning, refinement of fundamental skills, elements and strategies of team play, and social and emotional development. Junior varsity programs work towards achieving a balance between continued team and player development and the quest for victory. The outcome of the contest does become a consideration at this level. The realization that practice sessions are important is a premise that is vital to a successful junior varsity program and player. For all team members, meaningful contest participation will exist over the course of a season, providing the athlete meets program expectations. A specified amount of playing time, however, is never guaranteed. Athletes are expected to compete for a position, and earn their position in the starting line-up.

    The time commitment of a participant involved in a junior varsity program is similar to that at the varsity level. Athletes and parents should be prepared for a six-day-a week commitment for games and practices. While practices are not held on certain holidays, the athlete will be expected to make a full commitment to scheduled teampractices during vacation periods. With the goal of becoming a varsity athlete clearly in sight, a high level of dedication and commitment is expected at the junior varsity level.

    Varsity Program Philosophy

    Varsity competition is the culminating experience for each sport’s program. It is an experience provided for the elite athlete and is the most demanding and competitive of all programs. Although junior and senior athletes dominate most varsity team rosters, gifted ninth and tenth grade athletes are eligible for varsity level play. Prior participation in the program does not guarantee an athlete a spot on the roster, even if the athlete was a member of the varsity squad the preceding year. Squad size is limited in many sports at the varsity level, although there are a few sports that will accommodate more numbers in practice and in competitive situations than others. However, even in those sports where cuts are not made in a given year, athletes must still understand that they may be denied an opportunity to participate unless they meet program expectations, especially with respect to start dates, attendance and commitment. Athletes who do not meet program expectations will not be eligible to earn a varsity letter award.

    The number of participants on most varsity teams is a function of those needed to conduct an effective and meaningful practice and to play the contest. It is vital that each member understands and accepts their role on the team, as the number of roster positions is relative to the student’s acceptance of their individual roles in pursuit of team goals.

    While contest participation over the course of a season is desirable, a specified amount of playing time at the varsity level is never guaranteed, since the outcome ofthe contest becomes an important consideration at this level.

    A sound attitude and advanced level of skill are prerequisites for varsity play. Athletes will be expected to practice 2 to 3 hours per day, six days per week, with commitment often extended into vacation periods for all sports seasons. While practices are rarely held on religious holidays and Sundays, the dedication and commitment needed to conduct a successful varsity program should be taken seriously. The expectation is the same for the starting player as it is for the limited role player. Every athlete involved on the team has a role in preparing the team for a demanding competitive schedule. A primary goal of a varsity team is to win a league or division title, and/or qualify for post-season play in sectional, regional or state competition. In the individual sports (cross country, tennis, wrestling, golf, etc.), opportunities are presented to qualified, dedicated team members to represent the district in individual championship competitions at the league, division, county, and state levels. These opportunities are only provided, however, to those individuals who show a complete and ongoing commitment to the team.