Committee proposes reforms to athleticsThe Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission learned of a proposed plan that would reform the structure of youth athletics here at Monday’s monthly meeting.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission learned of a proposed plan that would reform the structure of youth athletics here at Monday’s monthly meeting.
The Jamestown Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee briefed the commission on changes designed to make high school athletic teams more competitive.
“One of the biggest things that we found with the group is that we have to have better communication from top to bottom,” said Dustin Jensen, planning committee member.
The group plans to brief the Jamestown Public School Board next Monday with the proposed changes.
In effect, head high school coaches would work with coaches at other levels from middle school to elementary school and establish benchmarks that should be taught in each program.
Doug Hogan, Jamestown Parks and Recreation director, is an official for youth programs as well.
“There’s been a de-emphasizing of the elementary programs and the middle school programs,” Hogan said. “… What I see when I’m officiating at sub-varsity levels are the visiting teams coming in — those kids are getting coached. I don’t see that necessarily with our kids.”
For example, a head basketball coach at the high school would sit down and meet with coaches from youth levels and establish that he wants to see left-handed dribbling by second grade, left-handed layups by third grade, and perimeter shooting by fifth.
“I think that’s the overall desire for the whole group is collaboration and communication,” Jensen said. “I think we can continue to set up a model that will help out all of the activities in town.”
Commissioner Mark Ukestad said youth football has already discussed implementing a system like this once a head coach is hired.
Use of the term “feeder program” came up in the discussion and Commission Chair Larry Knoblich said the programs that Parks and Rec offer are not feeder programs.
Knoblich said the programs offered can be an alternative to competitive sports.
“I don’t feel our concern should be feeding the high school better athletes — that’s not what we’re here for,” he said. “If the community feels we have to be a part of this program, I’ll go with it.”
Commissioner Joyce Heinrich recalled when at the high school there was one booster club for all sports. She said something like that would work well again. Some booster clubs may only have three or four members, which she said can be daunting for those members.
Jim Boyd, strategic planning committee member, said that was being considered, but any implementation would have to be carried out by administration upon approval by the School Board.
“This isn’t going to be a slam dunk by any means, it’s going to be a tough sell,” Boyd said. “We’re concerned about administration; they’re going to be implementing this.”
The School Board meets at 5:15 p.m., Monday in the Thompson Community Room at Jamestown Middle School.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org