Featuring a vibrant guest speaker and entertaining student skits, the second annual Northwood Athletics Summit was an event to remember. Students, parents and coaches gathered in the theater on Nov. 2 for an engaging session focused on creating a supportive team environment where students get the most out of the Northwood athletic experience.
“I think it’s really important that student-athletes attend events like this,” sophomore Brooke Guan said. “It really forces us to step back and reflect on the role athletics and school plays in our lives, allowing us to find more ways to grow as studentathletes.”
Furthering this idea, Northwood’s Challenge Success Athletics Leadership Team (CSALT) introduced their athletics collective purpose statement, outlining core expectations for coaches, parents and athletes. The purpose statement centers around developing personal character and fostering a commitment to teamwork and community. Another point of focus was the concept of education-based athletics, which puts the growth and development of athletes as the most important goal of the athletics program.
This philosophy resonated with the story of the guest speaker, UCLA Softball national champion Marti Reed. Reed nearly quit softball growing up under a coach that utilized pressure and fear, and throughout her speech she urged coaches to create an environment where athletes are not afraid to fail. She encouraged focusing on progress over results, bringing tremendous energy to the room.
“I thought the guest speaker was really outgoing,” junior Grant Shirata said. “Her words were very impactful, especially speaking on a topic that people don’t usually talk about.”
Reed also defined what success looks like in athletics. She stressed that a key part of success is failure, and that it is important to have a growth mindset in order to learn from your mistakes. As advice for parents, praising effort and simply listening were discussed as strategies to support their students.
Along with Reed’s speech, several students put on a skit to demonstrate how much pressure studentathletes are under. At times, the stress put upon them can be overwhelming. However, the event provided useful tips to help decrease stress and create balance for student-athletes.
“From my experiences, I’ve learned that it is really easy to get wrapped up in the pressures of athletics and the demands of school,” Guan said. “But through this event, I realized that I not only could thrive both on the track and in school, but I could use these two aspects of my life to benefit each other.”