Academics & Athletics-Making them Work Together

By: Micah Hughes, Intermediate Social Studies, Intermediate Basketball Coach, Assistant Varsity Football Coach

“Sports build good habits, confidence, and discipline. They make players into community leaders and teach them how to strive for a goal, handle mistakes, and cherish growth opportunities.” Julie Foudy.

I have always thought academics and athletics go hand in hand. I have coached multiple sports for many years, and the goals I have helped my students establish in the classroom are the same goals I carry onto the athletic field. I oftentimes think academics and athletics are viewed with preconceived biases: academics having qualities that are lacking in athletics. In reality, they are similar in the goals and lessons they teach. It requires the collaborative effort of both teachers and coaches to highlight the advantages these two disciplines can provide when focused on acquiring a knowledge base and skill set to accomplish an established goal.  So often I hear people say, “Oh, he’s just an athlete.” This disparaging remark implies that the athlete is limited in his/her capacities beyond the game field. We need to view students holistically and help them develop their gifts and talents, whether in the classroom or on the field. We know from a statistical standpoint that the majority of athletes will not advance to the next level professionally, and if they do, it will not be a lifelong career. This is why it is important to teach students to strive for worthy goals in whatever their life endeavors they might be. This mindset will ensure a successful future.
Academics and athletics support one another. They both have goals that are predetermined and are achievable. They both require hard work and perseverance. They both reap the rewards of social recognition and personal satisfaction. To be a well-rounded Renaissance man or women, academics and sports provide the opportunities to showcase the potential that individuals are capable of accomplishing.

Summer Months…What to do?

By: Sally Allen, Director of Marketing & Development

School is almost over! Summer is almost here! “No more classes, no more books…” and nothing but sleep and gaming to keep students entertained after that first week of “freedom.” What’s a parent to do?  There are many opportunities for kids to be busy and happy during the summer break without sacrificing the parents’ sanity.

Community Service: Students of middle and high school age can benefit from spending part of their summer involved in community service.  Hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are usually delighted to have young people young people volunteer their services at any time. Teens can serve as aides in hospitals at information desks and gift shops.  Students of all ages are welcomed by senior living facilities to read, play games, do hair and nails, or just hang out with the residents. Participants of both age groups benefit immensely from this interaction.

Classes:  Some high school students may be eligible to take college classes during the summer term after their junior year. Most of these classes are only four to five weeks in length and offer the chance to experience the college/university scene without plunging into full time scheduling.

Camps:  Nearly every student organization (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H, churches, etc.) offers summer camps.  Those camping experiences offer students the opportunity to meet new friends, pursue current or new interests, and to escape the boredom of being at home. Clarksville Academy offers a variety of summer camps for all ages.  Check the CA web site for details.

Summer jobs:  Whether it is babysitting, mowing yards, pet sitting, or any other task, a summer job offers teens an opportunity to learn and earn. Jobs teach respect, time management, responsibility, and interpersonal skills while providing a chance for earn their own spending money (a help to both students and parents!).

Sports:  There are sports teams and camps for a variety of sports, both team and individual.  If your student is not interested in an athletic team, perhaps lessons in a life-long individual sport such as golf, tennis, or swimming would spark an interest that could follow him or her throughout life.

Travel:  If a long summer vacation is not on this year’s calendar, consider a day trip.  There are many interesting and fun places within a day’s drive from Clarksville that offer fun, education and experience.  From Civil War battlefields to historic places to museums and amusement parks, there is a destination, and a price, for every family. Find some great day trips here: or

Finding a summer activity for students may require some effort, but the benefits are great. Students must be actively engaged in some activity to help them maintain learning practices for the school year. Different activities may spark an interest that will aid students in school and beyond.

Whatever you choose, enjoy summer’s laid back season.

Failure…it is an Option.

By: Adam Welch, Varsity Golf Coach, Science Teacher

What do the following people have in common: Thomas Edison, J. K. Rowling, Walt Disney, Michael Jordon and Beyonce’?  Every one of these powerful individuals failed at their craft sometime during their lifetime.  Edison did not succeed the first time with the light bulb, Rowling wasn’t accepted at her first college choice, Disney was fired for not being creative, Jordan didn’t make the varsity basketball team and Beyonce’ lost on Star Search.  If any of these individuals had stopped or quit after failure, how would that have affected their future?  The question then becomes, do we let our children fail, or do we step in and make sure that does not happen?

Failure is eminent throughout our lifetime and will also be a part of our children’s lifetime.  Our children should understand some extent of failure.  Failure teaches us many things including perseverance, problem solving, humility, creativity and experience.  Thomas Edison said about the light bulb, “I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways that wouldn’t work.”  Through perseverance, creativity and experience, he eventually found a way for it to work.  In the classroom, not every student is going to get every problem or question right every time, but if they learn from their incorrect answers, success should follow.

As a coach, I see failures on a daily basis.  In basketball, not every shot is made, not every dribble or pass is perfect and even the best fail most every time they step on the court.  Every baseball player strikes out or makes an error at some point of their career.  Even the best golfers hit a bad shot into the hazard or out of bounds, but they continue to play.  Teaching athletes that failure is going to occur, but what can be learned and applied to future attempts makes the best athletes.  Michael Jordan was once quoted, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Being successful is not an attribute that we are born with, it is achieved through hard work, persistence and yes, even failure.





Team Culture

By: Carrie Daniels, Varsity Girls Basketball Coach

Building a positive culture within your sports team is vital to the success of the players and team.  At the forefront of developing the culture of any team is the coach.  The coach has the task of not only motivating his/her athletes but also keeping them motivated.  If players are motivated, they will develop a greater passion for their respective sport and in turn want to get better and give the team 110%.  One of the most important aspects for the coach to achieve this is to show the athletes they care.  We’ve all heard the phrase “they would run through a brick wall.”  This phrase coincides with the athlete’s knowing their coach truly cares for them.  When the culture is one of positive nature and caring, those athletes will be willing to run through a brick wall.  As well as motivating and caring, a coach must have positive energy.  When the coach comes in to practice or a game with positive energy, the athletes feed off of that.  Successful teams that have bought in take on the personality of their coach.  If a coach is nonchalant then more than likely the team will play with a nonchalant, attitude.  If a coach is excited, inspired, and vocal, then teams tend to follow suit of that coach.

So many things go in to creating and maintaining a positive culture within a team and program.  To attain success, a team must set goals and throughout the season, check back to see progress and how many goals have been met.  There must be respect not only for the coach, but between players as well.  When a team builds up trust between the coaches and players, the sky is the limit with what can be achieved.  Coaches also can build a positive environment and culture by communicating with their players.  Players need and want to know where they stand, what their role is on the team, and what the expectations are.  The only way for players to fully grasp this is for the coach to be clear and concise with communication.  Once a player is aware of his/her role and expectations, they have a responsibility to do everything within their talent to compete and uphold their role on the team.

When working with a team, it is a given that players tend to hang on to the criticism given by a coach.  A coach can be instructing and giving constructive criticism but in the minds of these young athletes they tend to hang on to that or view it as negative.  In turn as coaches, we must make sure for every “what is considered negative” comment, we give two positive comments or praise to off set.  Players need to realize when they are not doing something correctly it will be addressed and pointed out so they can work on it correctly.  Just as when a player is doing something correct, the coach, as motivation and encouragement, should point it out.  Giving praise and encouragement is a motivating factor to work that much harder and do even better.  Pointing out the good things and when something is done correctly enhances a positive environment and culture.

It is also important to create team chemistry.  All players are not going to be the best of friends, but having chemistry and being on the same page means so much to the success of a program.  Players should have a mentality that they have their teammate’s back and know their teammates have their back.  One way to help with the chemistry is team-building activities.  Players can learn to trust and believe in each other during these exercises. Spending time with your team outside of practice is also important.  A coach can be an influencer in this and set up activities in hopes that eventually the team will take it upon themselves to set up team outings.  It is at this time that you know you have great chemistry and a positive culture.

With all of these ideas, it is still important to remember we are dealing with young athletes that are learning so much about themselves and life.  It is not always going to be perfect and every team has its issues and drama from time to time.  However, with a coach that builds a positive environment and culture it becomes easier to deal with the issues that arise and the players are more apt to know how to handle them.  Being a part of a team affords these athletes the opportunity to be a part of something so special and to learn so many life lessons that are far bigger than the sport itself.



Fitness & Weight Training

By: John Crosby, Fitness Instructor

At the high school level, the importance of fitness training through use of the weight room should be strongly emphasized.  Fitness classes offered to students in grades 8-12 is a strong trend in education today. Many classes are in session 5 days a week, with an emphasis on weight training 4 of those days, separated by an active recovery day in the middle. Several scientific studies in recent years support the idea that fitness groups during the school day can greatly enhance the learning abilities of a student in the classroom. Alongside this, athletes see great improvement on a weekly basis for their respective sports. 

The first thing that is emphasized in weight training classes is safety. Students are taught the importance of correct exercise form, as well as weight room etiquette. Once these practices are effectively managed, students will demonstrate the ability to warm-up the body through pre-workout exercises. These exercises are done for both short term and long term injury prevention. For example, rotator cuff strengthening is a point of emphasis for upper body days that involve pressing from the chest and shoulders. Active dynamic warmup exercises are done at the beginning of each workout as a way to prepare the body to be at its best for the workout to come. 

Once the workout is in session,  a goal should be to improve several aspects of the student’s performance. These include, muscular strength, muscular endurance, explosion, mobility and flexibility. Some workouts are more focused on a strength building/ low repetition approach, while others are primarily focused on a high repetition/ endurance approach. There is an equal amount of targeting the anterior chain, as well as the posterior chain of the body. Each student should be pushed to reach their full physical potential regardless of the focal point on a given day.  

The end goal of a fitness department at any academic institution is to teach and promote how to live a healthy/active lifestyle after high school. If a student can take any of the ideas that are taught during their time in a fitness class and apply them to their life outside of school, then the instructor’s goal has been accomplished. 

Clarksville Academy Baseball

Jake Peterson Clarksville AcademyClarksville Academy, a Pre-K through 12th grade private school is proud to announce Wade Smith as the new Director of Baseball Operations.  This position will allow Smith to serve in a leadership position for the entire program including both the intermediate school baseball and varsity baseball teams.  Smith has been the head baseball coach for Clarksville Academy since 2005.  He recently led the team to a stellar season where the Cougars won a school record 25 games and advanced to the Sectional game versus Loretto.  Smith was named the Leaf Chronicle All-Area Coach of the year. Head of School, Dr. Kay Drew stated, “Wade Smith has played a significant role in building a successful baseball program for our school and we look forward to his continued leadership. Wade is a veteran baseball coach who will provide great guidance and knowledge to our baseball program, coaches, and student-athletes.”

Jake Peterson will assume the head coaching responsibilities for the Varsity Baseball team.  Peterson has been with CA for six years as an assistant varsity baseball coach and as Athletic Director.

Peterson has eleven years of baseball coaching experience.  Prior to joining Clarksville Academy, Peterson served as an assistant coach at Austin Peay State University for five seasons, where he was heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the program, served as the hitting coach, infield coach and also assisted in recruiting.

Dr. Drew commented, “We are pleased to announce these changes and additions to our baseball program at CA.  Jake Peterson’s transition to head coach is a natural fit.  His solid reputation and family values continue the legacy set by Wade Smith’s successful coaching style.  Jake’s experience brings a championship mentality that will produce positive results and team advancement.”

Darren Baxter joins CA’s baseball program as the intermediate school baseball coach.  Baxter, of BFS Insurance, has over seven years of baseball coaching experience.  Devin Hightower, this season’s intermediate school baseball coach, will be moving to varsity baseball as an assistant coach.

Clarksville Academy is excited about this new era in Cougar Baseball.  For more information on our Clarksville Academy, CA athletics, or CA baseball visit

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