Spence Athletics Mission and Philosophy
The athletic program at Spence offers our young women in Grades 5-12 new experiences through which they will grow physically, mentally and socially. We foster an environment that stimulates the growth of the individual and recognizes her unique contributions to the Spence community.
Athletics Program Overview
After-school athletics are introduced in Grade 5 when students are provided the opportunity to experience a multitude of activities. The age-appropriate focus on skill development and socialization is reflected by the variety of program offerings, and allows coaches to include all interested students as well as to begin to develop competitive team goals and to guide student-athletes to strive for a higher level of ability. The demands of the practice and competition schedule increase as students progress through the Middle School program.
Spence is a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association (NYSAISAA) and also the Athletics Association of Independent Schools of New York City (AAIS). NYSAISAA and AAIS provide governance structure and championship opportunities for our athletic programs in the Middle and Upper School. As a member of the NYSAISAA Commissioner’s Regulations, we strive to provide an age-appropriate instructional program in Grades 5 and 6, and an increasingly competitive program in Grades 7 and 8. At the Varsity and JV level of competition in the Upper School, athletes strive to compete at their highest level while continuing to cultivate the personal skills of leadership, commitment, competitiveness, time management, personal sacrifice and appreciation for the unique talent of each individual.
The 5/6 Athletics Experience is a time for exploration and discovery; students are provided the opportunity to experience a multitude of activities in a variety of settings. This age-appropriate focus on skill development and socialization through sports is reflected by the diverse program offerings. This structure allows coaches to include all interested students while fostering both the social and sport-specific skill development necessary to prepare the participants for competition. The seasons include the opportunity for students to compete in small-sided, in-school and interscholastic games. Whenever possible, each season will culminate with opportunities for interscholastic play.
The 7/8 Athletics Experience is the gateway to the competitive program of the Upper School. The program breadth is reflective of the sport experiences of the Upper School; employing a “no-cut” policy, teams are selected based on ability and include A/B subdivisions when possible. The 7/8 program is designed to foster an increased level of competitiveness, skill development and game strategy in an age-appropriate modeling of the Upper School athletics experience. There is notable emphasis on honoring commitment to the team, accountability to others and developing the time management skills necessary for the heightened expectations of the competitive 7/8 program. Regular attendance by student-athletes at all practices, as well as all games, is expected. Playing time is based upon skill, an understanding and ability to employ team strategy, coachability and sportsmanship; playing time is not equal, and not every team member will play in each contest.
The Upper School Athletics Experience reflects a highly competitive and very selective athletics program. The program strives to prepare participants for the rigors of play in AAIS and NYSAISAA while continuing to cultivate the personal skills of leadership, commitment, competitiveness, time management, personal sacrifice and the appreciation for the unique talent of the individual. Cuts are made at the Upper School level; students are selected to teams based on skill and programs include a Varsity/JV subdivision when possible. In addition to skill, selection is also determined by the demonstrated ability to apply team strategy and concepts, coachability and sportsmanship. Student-athlete attendance at all pre-season and in-season practices, as well as games, is expected.