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Developing Healthy Student Athletes at Pacific Ridge School

According to nonprofit Common Sense Media, teens consume an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day, with tweens averaging six hours. With that kind of online connectivity, it’s important for adolescents and teenagers to develop healthy physical, mental, social, and emotional skills. School athletics can help build all of these, and the best environments are those in which students are supported by athletic and academic mentors, along with their peers.

The athletic program at Carlsbad’s Pacific Ridge School is designed to help student athletes in grades 7 to 12 thrive, both on and off the field.

The program launches in middle school, where students from all skill levels are challenged, whether they’ve never picked up a lacrosse stick or are a seasoned soccer star. Unlike at larger schools, every student at Pacific Ridge has a place on a team appropriate for their skill level and receives valuable one-on-one time with experienced coaches and trainers.

Middle school players build physical and mental skills, resulting in a competitive program. Last year four teams (boys lacrosse and volleyball, girls soccer and basketball) won their respective league championships.

The developmental successes of the middle school program translate to competitive upper school teams at Pacific Ridge, yielding multiple CIF championships and athletes who go on to play in college. All student athletes are taught and expected to play with integrity and maintain the highest standards of character and sportsmanship. Coaches, many of whom are also teachers, provide key mentorship.

Another important element of Pacific Ridge athletics is a high-level conditioning and injury prevention program through a partnership with Carlsbad-based coaches at sports performance company NAKOA. Through practicing proper body mechanics and athletic movement, athletes develop skills that translate across all sports and physical activities. NAKOA coaches also work with the school’s athletic trainer on injury recoveries, often attending games to track athletes’ progress.

According to Don Collins, Pacific Ridge’s Interim Director of Athletics, the school’s approach is a win-win for helping students stay healthy and balance the sedentary draw of screen time. “When you combine our developmental and competitive program, character emphasis and partnership with NAKOA, our student-athletes are getting the best out of their school athletic experience. It sets them up for the future, whether they plan to compete in college or just want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Families interested in learning more are invited to Pacific Ridge’s Open House on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m. To register, visit www.pacificridge.org/openhouse.