MHCA Athletic Handbook For Athletic Director, Coaches, Student/Athletes & Parents
Athletic Department Philosophy
The Athletic Department at Mary Help of Christians Academy views interscholastic athletics as an opportunity for student participation in an organized, competitive environment. While the ultimate goal of athletic competition is to know victory, the achievement of objectives such as fair play, sportsmanship, skill acquisition, and work ethic cannot be overlooked. Winning traditions are founded upon the concepts of pride, respect, dedication, character and loyalty. Coaches, athletes, and parents alike must strive to ensure that the athletic teams at MHCA represent themselves in a manner that is conducive to both competitive spirit and good sportsmanship.
Athletic Department Chain of Command
If there are any questions or concerns regarding any aspect of the player–coach relationship, the athlete should first contact the appropriate coach. If there is no resolution at this level, she should then move onward to the next level in the Chain of Command, until resolution is achieved. The Chain of Command is a step by step process bringing together the primary individuals for discussion purposes. Each level is in place in order to assist in the process of conflict resolution. Parents are also asked to respect this Chain of Command model regarding problem resolution. Please voice any concerns during the season so they can be addressed. Do not wait until the end of the season.
Athletes and Parents
Interscholastic Athletics can be a fun, rewarding, and memorable part of the high school experience. While academics offer the primary source for formal education, athletics can contribute to the total value of that education in many different ways. Building upon the concepts of teamwork, fair play, sportsmanship, and self-esteem, athletics can help to provide for a well-rounded educational experience. Athletic participation is a privilege and not a right. To those who strive to succeed in the classroom comes the privilege to compete outside of it. Being an athlete or the parent of an athlete is often a very challenging ordeal. Sometimes this relationship can become complicated due to the nature and structure of athletics in general. It is the intent of this Athletic Handbook to provide some insights as to the role and responsibilities that athletes and parents face and share, separately and together, in the realm of high school athletic participation. The interscholastic (high school) sport experience is much different than the recreational sport experience. Whereas recreational sport philosophy stresses equal participation by all, at the interscholastic level playing time is earned and not guaranteed.
Student-athletes earn playing time through good work ethics in practice, skill development, sportsmanship, and overall team attitude. Likewise, not all who tryout for a given team will endure through the final selection process, to make the team roster. Coaches are responsible for the selection of team rosters and for the determination of playing time for those on the team. Activities held in the off season, whether it be for weight training and conditioning, team camps, summer/fall leagues, specialized training, or any other type of out of season participation, can in no way affect an athlete’s ability to try out for or participate (playing time) on an in season team. Participation in any out of season activity is strictly voluntary on the part of the athlete. Coaches may not mandate nor pass judgment based upon out of season participation. A parent reserves the right to send his/her daughter to any out of season source for the purpose of conditioning, training, or specialized instruction.
All too often during athletic events, situations arise where many adults become too involved in the game in progress, professing to know more than the coaches or even the officials in charge. While this expertise may heighten a person’s appreciation for a particular sport, it in no way changes the status of the individual as a parent-spectator. You should be there only to observe and enjoy the athletic performance. The player-coach relationship is perhaps the most critical of all relationships in athletics. Parents can have a very profound effect upon this important and delicate balance. While you as a parent may not agree with all decisions that a coach may make, how and when you express your feelings can have a decided effect upon your child. If you express a negative opinion in front of your child, you need to remember that he or she may carry your convictions to the next practice or game. This in turn can lead to a player-coach confrontation. You as a parent have great influence upon this delicate relationship. Please allow the coaches to do the job for which they were hired. Coaches are expected to be leaders to their players and role models for their players. They are expected to teach and guide the players who play for them. They are not there to be friends or buddies. Coaches must demand respect from their players and give respect to their players in return. Concepts such as integrity, and character, and sportsmanship provide the foundation upon which our coaching philosophy is based.
As a parent you obviously want what is best for your child. Allowing the coach to guide and instruct the team is crucial. Again, you are asked to please allow the coach to do his/her job. Should you have any questions or concerns, do not approach the coach immediately after a game. At this time, coaches have other responsibilities and it may be a very emotional moment. Call and make an appointment for a later time and approach this meeting in a calm and logical manner. For many coaches, one of the post-game responsibilities is to meet with his/her players. Athletes should not be expected to stop and talk to parents and friends immediately after a game is over. These team meetings are essential to the learning process and are important in efforts to build team unity and understanding.
Sometimes parents may try to relive their own athletic memories through the real life athletic efforts of their children. Being positive and supportive is very important, but adding pressure and unrealistic expectations may be extremely harmful. Allow your child to enjoy and to grow and to take responsibility for her athletic experiences. Encourage your child to give 100% effort and to become a team player, not an individual statistic seeker. In the end, it is the child’s perception of the game that really matters, not that of the parents.
Relationship with Game Officials
It is often the case that if a game is seemingly leaning toward one side over the other, irate fans will infer an unfair advantage given by the officials. The home school does not select the officials. A sport commissioner assigns all officials and neither team has a say in which officials are assigned to a given game or contest. Game officials agree to and follow a code of conduct and ethics. They really do not have a vested interest in which team emerges victorious. It is very essential to understand that officials are an integral part of the game. While you may not agree with all of their calls, please do not harass and taunt game officials. Parents are supposed to be good role models for their children. Remember that officials are in charge of the game and have complete authority to have unruly spectators removed. Many times a given team may see the same officials on several occasions throughout the course of a season. Coaches, Athletic Directors and School Administrators work hard to establish good working relationships with game officials, which can be easily damaged or destroyed by spectator interference. So please let the players play, let the coaches coach, let the officials officiate, and let the spectators be positive.
Responsibilities of the Athletic Director
1.The Athletic Director reports to the School Administration (Head of School)
2.Oversees the sports program in all its dimensions
3.Participates in the Administrative meetings, to forestall scheduling conflicts and to ensure that all decisions regarding the sports program reflect the Salesian Charism and the mission of the school.
4.Oversees the distribution, care, maintenance, and collection of all equipment and uniforms to teams and team members.
5. Coordinates the annual athletic fundraising and collaborates with the Business Administrator in seeing that athletes and their parents fulfill their financial obligations to the athletics program.
6.Supervises, assesses and makes recommendation to the school administrators regarding the job performance of all coaches.
7.Supports the coaches in the fulfillment of their responsibilities and the implementation of NJSIAA and schoolinterscholastic sports policies (regarding attendance, participation, record-keeping, public relations, honors and recognition.
8.Monitors the use of all athletic facilities:
a.Making recommendations to the Facilities/Plant Supervisor for repairs
b.Ensuring that facilities are secured and properly closed at end of sports practices and home games.
9.Obtains from the School Nurse verification of annual medical clearance, and from the administration verification of age and academic eligibility for all athletes prior to tryouts and practice for each season
10.Secures the required transportation and permission forms with required signatures from the parents / guardians of all athletes.
11. Schedules all athletic events and maintains the school-wide athletic calendar
12.Collaborates with the officials who assign referees and monitors all referees so as to make future recommendations.
13. Provides oversight at home games and attends to spectator/crowd control issues
14. Provides the school Business Administrator dates and fees for game officials for all home games, dues for NJSIAA, and entrance fees for tournaments.
15. Contact all opposing schools at least one or two days in advance of a game/match/meet to confirm the scheduled event.
16.Coordinates the games for the Academy’s intramural sports (team lineups, referees, scoring, etc.)
17.Organizes all aspects of the Sports Award Presentations.
18.Purchases all awards for athletes and coaches, for interscholastic and intramural sports.
19.Provides appropriate assistance to student athletes who hope to play sports at the college level.
20.Attends required meetings for Directors of Athletics at the state, county, and league levels.
Responsibilities of the Coach
Coaches are responsible for all of the following
1.Running fair tryouts and using an effective evaluation process.
2. Determining the style of play, including offensive and defensive philosophy.
3. Teaching, instructing, and overseeing all practice sessions.
4. Determining starting lineups and making decisions regarding playing time.
5. Selecting position players.
6. Establishing and enforcing team and school rules.
7. Selection of team captains.
8. Coordinating communication with players and parents with regards to games and practices.
9. Provide appropriate supervision at all times (before, during, after all games and practices).
10. Presenting themselves as appropriate role models.
11. Be willing and available to discuss player-coach or parent-coach issues.
12. Be consistent, fair, and respectful of individual differences.
13. Develop team and individual objectives and goals.
14. Foster a healthy atmosphere for athletic competition.
15. Lead by example.
16. Responsible for the distribution and collection of team uniforms
17. Responsible for maintaining equipment and supplies, including end of year inventory
18. Must attend all county and state meetings as it pertains to his/her team
19. Secure keys for equipment room and lockers
20. Follow the chain of command
21. Maintain a valid CPR/AED certification
22. Be in compliance with the Protecting God’s Children web site
21. Report any incidences or injuries immediately to the Athletic Director
It is important to remember that participation on an athletic team is a privilege and not a right. Being part of and maintaining one’s membership on a given team means accepting all the responsibilities of an athlete. Unlike recreational or intramural teams, equal or guaranteed playing time is not assured. Coaches will make the necessary decisions and utilize those players best suited to the conditions or demands of the particular contest on any given day.
Responsibilities of the Athlete
Athletes are expected to adhere to the following guidelines
1. The team’s goals and success should always come before individual interests.
2. Athletes need to be in attendance at all scheduled practices and games, including weekends and holiday breaks.
3. Athletes must be receptive to coaching styles.
4. Team members are responsible for all issued uniforms and equipment.
5. Athletes are responsible for the security of all personal items.
6. As a team member an athlete must abide by established team rules.
7. All injuries must be reported to the coach and to the Athletic Director.
8.Strive for academic success in order to assure athletic eligibility.
9. Take pride in being a student-athlete at MHC Academy.
Post Practice–Game Responsibilities
Athletes should not be loitering on school property after practices or games. In an effort to avoid potential risk of injury, property damage, or theft, the following responsibilities have been established.
For the Coach
1.Call in game results and enter results into state site after every game
2. Secure all equipment, locker rooms, and appropriate facilities.
3. Supervise locker rooms, lobbies and hallways until all athletes have vacated.
For the Athlete
1. Arrange in advance for transportation after practices or games.
2. Leave school property within one half hour after the end of practices/games.
3. Do not leave personal property unattended or unsecured.
The School’s Role
It is the expectation of Mary Help of Christians Academy, and more specifically the Athletic Department, that everyone in the MHCA community will conform to and demonstrate good sportsmanship and fair play during all athletic contests. This concept is presented to the staff and to the athletes throughout the school year.
1. At the General Staff Meeting in August sportsmanship is addressed with all current year coaches.
2. Once team rosters have been established each team is addressed by the Athletic Director regarding sportsmanship expectations and procedures.
3. The student body is reminded of sportsmanship at all Pep Rallies and other athletic activities.
4. The sportsmanship slogan is announced at home games by officials and/or announcers according to NJIC/NJSIAA guidelines
Mary Help of Christians Academy views the need for good sportsmanship as a very important issue. We will continue in our efforts to assure that every student-athlete understands that need as well.
The Parent’s Role
Since the concept of athletics should be educational in nature, it is important that all parents demonstrate good sportsmanship and serve as role models for our students and athletes.
“Sportsmanship is an overt display of respect for the rules of sport and for all others –players, coaches, officials, and fans”. (National Federation News, March 1995, p.10) It also involves a commitment to fair play, ethical behavior, and integrity.
This means that:
1. Vulgar or inappropriate language from fans is not tolerated nor permitted.
2. Taunting or trash talking with opponents or with their fans is not tolerated.
3. Spectators may not leave the bleachers or step onto the court or field of play during a game or contest.
4. Fans should be supportive and positive. Cheering should be done for our team, not against our opponent.
5. Fans should not interfere with the opponent’s cheerleaders preventing them from leading their cheers.
6. Fans should let the officials officiate. Remember it is after all, only a game.
Important Participation Information
Risks Associated with Athletic Participation
The very nature of athletic competition provides for potential risk and injury to occur. Even with protective equipment, proper supervision, and sound instruction, injuries still do happen. In extremely rare cases, even death could result. All athletes and parents need to be aware of the potential hazards that exist within the athletic arena. MHC Academy and the athletics staff will always do whatever we can to ensure that our athletes have a safe and healthy athletic experience.
Pre-Tryout Eligibility Checklist
Athletes and their parents have certain responsibilities to uphold even before tryouts begin.
Online Registration Form - Must be completed before tryouts.
Emergency Information Card - Must be completed and handed in before or brought to tryouts.
Physical Examination Form - This specific state form must be completed, signed by the parents/guardians and the physician and submitted to the school office at MHC Academy to be kept on file. Athletes’ must have a “current year” physical exam form on file in order to be cleared and eligible for athletic participation. It is suggested that physical exams be scheduled over the summer months so the entire school year will be cleared for athletic participation. Due to insurance coverage an athlete may not be eligible for a physical before the one year date. Therefore a health questionnaire must be signed and turned into the school nurse. A note from the doctor’s office stating that you are healthy to participate may be given to the school nurse until a physical can be obtained. No exceptions!
Paperwork for physicals is available on line at the sports website or main office. Online forms must be completed before tryouts! No exceptions. Forms are located on the sports webpage.
1. All Pre-tryout Checklist Eligibility items must have been completed
2. All athletes should be given a fair and equitable tryout evaluation
3. Coaches should utilize an evaluation tool in order to keep track of strengths and weaknesses of those trying out for their sport
4. Efforts evaluated over the tryout period are the most important factors used to determine team selection. Out of season workouts, camps, or other sport participation are not considered as criteria for selecting team rosters.
5. Not everyone who tries out for a team will make it through to the final selection process. Coaches are responsible for selecting final team rosters and determining playing time during the season.
Expectations of Rostered Players
All athletes, who after tryouts, are selected as final rostered players must agree to the following:
1. Agree to sign the “Athlete’s Pledge”. As a rostered student athlete you are expected to serve as role models for others. Efforts in the classroom are just as important as efforts on the field. Respect and responsibility go hand in hand. You lead by example when it comes to sportsmanship.
2. As a rostered student athlete you agree to comply with all school and team rules
3. As a rostered student athlete you agree to maintain academic and disciplinary eligibility throughout the season.
Practice Sessions and Games
Practice sessions may be closed to spectators at the discretion of the coaches. These sessions are the equivalent of a teacher’s classroom and there is real instruction taking place. Interference and interruptions to an athlete’s concentration and focus in practice cannot be allowed any more than a disruption would be tolerated in an academic classroom. Coaching should not be compromised.
1. May last up to, but not more than two and one half hours. (after tryouts)
2. May start and end at different times due to the schedule of coaches and or the availability of our facilities.
3. May not be held when school is dismissed early or closed due to inclement weather.
4. May be held in the evening, on weekends, and over holiday break periods.
5. Attendance is mandatory. Lateness will not be tolerated.
6. Athletes may not be penalized for missed practice time in order to gain academic help or to make up missed tests or quizzes as long as prior notification has been given.
Eligibility; Academic or Disciplinary
The student athletes at Mary Help of Christians Academy are here for their education first and foremost. Athletic participation is a privilege and granted only to those who are deserving of this opportunity. Problems with grades and or behavior are justifiable reasons for Academic or Disciplinary Ineligibility.
Athletes are expected to
1. Meet all academic criteria for eligibility as stated in the Student Handbook
2. Remain in good disciplinary standing.
3. Attend school on time in order to be eligible to practice or play on a daily basis. Uniforms and Equipment
At the beginning of each season, the Head Coach distributes all necessary uniforms and equipment. As an athlete you are responsible for the care and return of all issued goods at the end of the season.
There will be a financial obligation if uniforms and/or equipment is lost or damaged.
THE STUDENT/ATHLETE’S PLEDGE
At Mary Help of Christians Academy sportsmanship is an expectation. So please let the Players play. The Coaches coach. Let the Officials officiate. And let the Spectators be positive. As a student/athlete at Mary Help of Christians Academy I promise to:
Represent my school, my coaches, my teammates and myself in a manner which is appropriate and just.
Maintain a healthy and competitive approach to athletics.
Accept responsibility for my actions both on the playing field and in the classroom.
Lead by example in the areas of self-respect and respect for others.
Compete to the best of my abilities.
Refrain from the use of prohibited substances such as steroids, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products.
Demonstrate good sportsmanship and fair play at all times
Understand that academics take priority over athletics.
Thank Jesus Christ for granting me good health and athleticism.
The information in this Handbook is based on the most accurate information available at the time of publication. MHC Academy reserves the right to modify this handbook when necessary. The Athletic Handbook lines with the MHC Academy Student Handbook. All student-athletes must sign-off on both and follow all guidelines.
MHCA-ATHLETIC HANDBOOK Compliance Form
We affirm that we have read and understand the contents of the “Athletic Handbook for Athletes and Parents”.
We understand and will abide by the “Athletic Chain of Command”.
We will strive to make the “Athletic Experience” a positive one.
We will attend the mandatory pre-season Meet the Coaches meeting.