Athletic Philosophy

The War Eagle Approach to Successful Athletic Participation

A Guide for the Woodward Academy Student-Athlete, Coach and Parent

The contents of this guide are designed to help establish standards of behavior and provide direction for the student-athletes, coaches, and parents during their athletic experience as Woodward War Eagles. The student-athletes’ learning and development will always be the central focus throughout all aspects of their educational experience. Woodward student-athletes have an opportunity to challenge themselves through sport and to build upon characteristics of leadership and citizenship, while cultivating teamwork, self-discipline and physical fitness. 

The Woodward tradition has been to win with honor. We desire to field champions at the varsity level, but only by maintaining the integrity of our athletes, our school, and our community. At the sub-varsity levels we aim to develop champions and teach the fundamental skills of the sport in conjunction with the lessons of sportsmanship, responsibility and teamwork. 

The Coaches’ Role

Woodward coaches are teachers of their sports. The professional behavior of each coach continues from the classroom to the athletic fields and courts. 
Woodward coaches strive to:

  • Provide a safe, positive environment for all athletes.
  • Communicate team goals, schedules, and expectations to players and parents.
  • Possess current knowledge and skill to instruct players competently and to assess their
  • Treat all athletes consistently and fairly—especially in administering consequences for failure to follow policy.
  • Be positive role models on the sidelines as examples for players, parents and other coaches to follow.
  • Assist and counsel athletes and parents in the college recruiting process.

The Athletes’ Role

Young people who elect to participate in athletics at Woodward are voluntarily making a commitment to be student-athletes.  This responsibility to a team, coach, school and community assumes great responsibility, yet provides immense personal rewards.

Woodward student-athletes strive to:

  • Commit to academics while fulfilling their commitment to War Eagle athletics.
  • Represent their team, family, Woodward, and community in a positive manner at all times.
  • Abide by the sport’s training guidelines and Woodward student handbook.
  • Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Communicate with their coaches regarding any issues of team obligations or rules.

The Parents’ Role

Woodward parents have an opportunity to observe their children in an athletic setting and be supportive fans of their children, team, sport and school.

Woodward parents strive to:

  • Guide their children as these students take on tasks of time management, sport-specific skill development, and responsibility.
  • Support the team and coach from the stands.
  • Encourage their children to communicate with the coaching staff.
  • Encourage their children to commit to a team and program.

Steps to a Successful Experience as a War Eagle Athlete and Parent

Athletics can be an emotional endeavor and occasionally conflict will arise.  If you have an athletic issue concerning your student-athlete, please consider the “24 hour rule” – that is, please wait 24 hours before contacting the coach.  We have found that if all parties involved with an athletic conflict take time to reflect on the situation, the ensuing conversation will be based less on emotions and more on facts.  While the “24 hour rule” may not resolve your concern, it might prevent a misunderstanding from escalating into an adversarial situation. 

If after 24 hours you still feel that the situation merits attention, please follow the grievance procedures listed below …  

  1. The student-athlete should communicate concerns or issues first with the coach of that specific team.
  2. If the issue is not resolved from the coach/player meeting, the Head coach of the sport, if not part of the first meeting, will meet with the coach and player.
  3. The parent can enter into the conversation after the second communication if the issue remains unresolved.
  4. The Athletic Director will be invited to join the communication/meeting if the parent, head coach, team coach and player are not satisfied with the resolution.
  5. The final step to resolution of an issue will take place with the Vice President - Dean for Student Life, the Athletic Director, Head Coach, team coach, parent and player. 

Playing Time

One of the primary sources for conflict in athletics is the issue of playing time. Please keep the following distinctions in mind as you consider your athlete’s experience.  

Every student-athlete at the sub-varsity level, who fulfills his or her academic and team commitments, will be given the opportunity for competition playing time. The amount and time of play will always be determined by the coach, but the focus will be on developing skills and fundamentals necessary to be successful on the varsity level. 

On varsity teams, there are no guarantees of playing time for any student-athletes. Playing time will be determined by the coaching staff with the focus on competing for championships. Athletes at all levels should have an expectation that their development will be evaluated and coaches will communicate areas for improvement. 

Please also visit the Woodward Policies and Parent Resources page.