In education-based athletic programs, a broad-based participation rate is an extremely desired objective. After all, you want as many young people to gain the values, develop life-long qualities and benefit from the experience as possible. A problem may occasionally arise, however, if a student is forced to choose between being on an athletic team and also taking part in one of the performing arts offerings.
In part, this decision may be forced upon a student due to scheduling conflicts between the two choices. There also could be some pressure placed upon an athlete by a coach for him or her to make a commitment to a team. The explanation would possibly include the idea that dual participation would spread the young person’s time too thin and academics would suffer.
Academics always have to be the first priority, but developing good time management skills can also help to avoid potential problems of meeting classroom requirements and maintaining a busy schedule. Therefore, adult leaders – athletic administrators and principals – may need to become involved in finding solutions when a student desires to participate in both athletics and performing arts during a particular season. While give and take and creativity will be necessary, it can and should be possible for students to do both.
The following considerations on the part of school administrators may help to allow students to participate in both athletics and performing arts.
In education-based programs, which include athletics and performing arts, the No. 1 objective always has to be the development and welfare of students. It becomes the responsibility of administrators, therefore, to ensure and facilitate this concept. Young people can and should be able to participate in both athletics and performing arts without pressure or fear of reprisals.
By the way, as an additional or ancillary benefit, coaches who attend performances that include their athletes will have the opportunity to see them in an entirely different light. This can lead to a much greater appreciation for their talents and their ultimate development into outstanding individuals.
Dr. David Hoch is a former athletic director at Loch Raven High School in Towson, Maryland (Baltimore County). He assumed this position in 2003 after nine years as director of athletics at Eastern Technological High School in Baltimore County. He has 24 years experience coaching basketball, including 14 years on the collegiate level. Hoch, who has a doctorate in sports management from Temple (Pennsylvania) University, is past president of the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association, and he formerly was president of the Maryland State Coaches Association. He has had more than 450 articles published in professional magazines and journals, as well as two textbook chapters. He is the author of a new book entitled Blueprint for Better Coaching. Hoch is a member of the NFHS High School Today Publications Committee.