|6 Jun 2014|
|WM Summer 2014 edition|
WM: Why did you decide to become part of the Athletics department at AISB?
VP: I decided to join the Athletics De-partment at AISB for three reasons: mylove for team sports, the quality of the athletic program at the school and my passion for multi-cultural environments.The athletic program at AISB focuses onbuilding both athletic as well as personalskills, which I believe are essential to any sports program. It is a thrill to seestudents grow both personally as well as athletically under your supervision and guidance and this is what drove me to become a member of the Athleticdepartment at AISB. Working with stu- dents of many nationalities is a bonus forme, as I have experienced first hand theadvantages of such an enriching learning environment.
WM: What team did you train?
VP: I was privileged to train both the High School Junior Varsity GirlsBasketball team as an assistant coach,as well as the High School Girls Softballteam as head coach.
WM: Tell us about a usual practice session?
VP: The most exciting basketball prac- tices took place on Monday mornings at6:20am. While every fiber or our bodieswanted to rest at that time of the day, we fought through it by running laps, stretching, performing the usual lay-up and jump-shot drills, learning defensive and offensive drills. We amused our- selves by “Making it rain” with one of our in-bounding strategies.
Softball is quite different, as it requires more mental effort and agility rather thanspeed. We started our practice with 4jogging laps around the field, followed bya stretching session with a designated leader. The usual throwing and catching skills were already in place, as most of the players were returning from last year. We actively worked on improvingour accuracy in throwing after fielding ground balls and fly balls. Fielding withbare hands, relaying around the four bases, and developing a healthy batting stance and strategy were regular aims in our practices. We even had classroom softball, when weather did not allow usto enjoy the outdoors. Here we learned different tricks and tips about how toimprove our base running, our batting and our knowledge of the game, which we were able to use during several of our scrimmages against the teachers or the middle school teams.
WM: What were your educational goals with the students?
VP: Students learn through each and every activity they partake in. My goal as a coach was to build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge of the game that would enable my students to perform well and motivate them to always seekimprovement in it. I also encouragedstudents to be active in the coachingprocess by offering advice to their fellowteammates and even take initiative to teach them new drills or skills.
WM: Do you feel like you connect differ- ently with the students as an alumna? Do you see any advantages?
VP: I definitely feel that as an alumna I have a more insightful perspective that allows me to connect with the current students, as there are many experiences and challenges that we share. Students respond better toteachers who they can relate to and Ithink that my alumna status has enabled that positive response in my students.They are always curious to find out how my experience was different or similar to theirs, and I am more than happy toshare it. A major advantage of havingthe alumni experience is that I can useit to improve the student’s athletic and educational experience and foresee any problems or issues that may arise or have arisen in the past.
WM: What is the difference betweenbeing trained and training?
VP: The difference is simple: beingtrained involves following coach’s instructions and taking in the knowledge and applying it to the game; improvingskills that the coach identifies. Training,however, is more focused on developing, planning, implementing and measuringthe effectiveness of the drills, exercisesand activities that develop athletic as well as team-oriented skills.
WM: Do you see yourself continuing to be a coach at AISB?
VP: I definitely see myself continuing my activity as a coach at AISB because it isa very rewarding and valuable learning experience.
WM: Why is it important that students receive not only an academic education but a physical education as well?
VP: It is important for students to receiveboth an academic education as well as a physical education for several reasons.
One: physical education and well-being improves academic performance. This is a proven fact.
Two: we live in a physical world, that theoretical models sometimes cannotexplain or predict. Developing anunderstanding of our bodies and how to make them work better is an essentialskill that can increase student confidenceand success.
Three: physical education also teacher social interaction and teamwork, which are skills that are rewarded and valued both on a personal level as well as professional.
WM: How do you see the Alumni As- sociation? Involvement in the future?
VP: I see alumni involvement expanding in the future to include attendance to school hosted tournaments, extra- curricular and curricular presentations that could help foster a stronger bond, sense of school spirit and pride amongst current students.
Read the entire WORLD Magazine Summer 2014 edition here.
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