A New Elective: Foundations of Sports

A new elective called Foundations of Sports may be introduced to Stuyvesant this spring semester, teaching leadership skills through athletics.

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By Carmen Gomez-Villalva

It is time for course selections, and you may notice a new elective option. Foundations of Sports, if launched this spring, will offer students the opportunity to formally learn what it means to be a leader in sports. The class would be unlike anything Stuyvesant currently offers, as it is not a Physical Education class but rather a classroom-based elective taught by primarily physical education teachers Vincent Miller and Rebeca Morel-Wernham. “A lot of the elective classes are high-intensity, but this would be something that’s more enjoyable and fun,” Assistant Principal of Physical Education Brian Moran said.

However, as a new class, this elective will only be added next semester if enough students rank it on their selection forms. It is senior-priority, but juniors interested in the class are encouraged to e-mail Moran, and it may be an option for them. So here is a look into what the course would offer.

The goal of this one-semester elective is to teach students leadership skills that can be used in and beyond sports settings, and a unique aspect is it would be taught through various scopes in many different environments. Students will analyze distinct coaching styles and measures of success in coaching, and then develop their own coaching philosophies. This will include profiling professional coaches, shadowing Stuyvesant PSAL coaches in-game, and comparing leadership methods. Students will also learn how to officiate games and apply both of these skills by going into physical education classes to teach, coach, and referee. This provides valuable experience for job and internship opportunities, as well as life beyond the court. “It’s important to see and realize how much coaching has an impact on the camaraderie that is a team. It is a small microcosm for dealing with bigger issues in life. And being an official is a nice side hustle and a good way to make some money as a high schooler,” Morel said.

Students will also learn restorative practices and how to apply them to enhance sporting environments. “Another piece of the class would be the more instructional stuff like nutrition or how to work out properly—not for themselves, but to be able to teach those skills,” Moran said.

In the class, assessments will not be test-based, but rather practical applications of these skills learned. “An example of an assignment could be: You are given a scenario and you have to give a two-minute pre-game speech. Or, going to a game and shadowing a coach. It’s stuff that you would be learning and can apply outside of class,” Miller said. The class will be graded on these demonstrations, and unlike regular physical education courses, is averaged into your GPA as an elective.

“If you’re an athlete, someone who wants to be captain, this is the perfect class for you,” Miller said. Still, the course is not only for athletes and is intended to be a fun elective for anyone with an interest in sports. So if you are at all interested in sports or leadership skills that can be gained from sports, sign up for Foundations of Sports! Try something new.