Sara Elliot '07 believes that sports help with both physical and character growth.
Woodward varsity girls soccer, JV volleyball, and Middle School girls basketball coach Sara Elliot ʼ07 was featured in KNOWAtlanta’s spring piece, “K-12 Metro Atlanta Schools: The Coach’s Perspective.” Coach Elliot discussed her role helping student-athletes grow and develop, not just as athletes but as young adults, by teaching them life lessons about winning and losing. Her thoughts about the benefits of K-12 sports from the article are shared below.
“Sports obviously are a great way for kids to stay active and develop coordination, but it is also a time for kids to develop perseverance,” Elliot says. “Our society is constantly trying to protect kids from failure. Sports are now one of the only areas in which a child can experience failure and learn how to bounce back from it.” Through sports participation, children can realize that overcoming setbacks and developing perseverance are possible and can bring “true signs of success.”
“I prioritize the importance of character development and relationships,” says Elliot. “I’m lucky to coach talented athletes who will go on to compete in college and even at a professional level, but even with the skill and talent my players have, I believe sports are an opportunity to teach character development. Athletics allows students to identify their strengths and weaknesses so they know what they have to offer and how others can complement them. Participating in a sport represents one of the first times students experience being part of a group that is working toward a common goal, which is really what each of them will experience as adults one day. ”
Athletics also allow students to discover their purpose, as they experience being a part of something bigger than themselves. Elliot says, “They not only get to work with a group toward a common goal, but they also get to learn how they influence others. It is really one of the only ways they can experience a sense of interdependence at a young age.”
Coaches at Woodward Academy strive to teach participants to display exceptional character, “do it and do it well,” show self-control, and respect others.