This past August, Calhoun’s Upper School student-athletes spent a few days of dedicated training at the Greenkill Retreat Center in Huguenot, New York, where they quickly got to work laying the groundwork for the fall sports season.
The Greenkill program started six years ago with the Upper School Volleyball teams, and has since grown to include all fall teams (Volleyball, Cross Country and Soccer). What began as a way to give athletes extra practice time before the start of the season has expanded to encompass much more than physical skill development. In addition to three-a-day practice sessions, the teams participate in workshops on topics such as growth mindset, motivation, positive self-talk, and communication.
“We’ve come to learn that the hours between practice sessions prove just as, if not more, important as any technical work that we do,” says Sabrina Zurkuhlen ’06, Calhoun’s Athletics Director and Varsity Volleyball coach. The camp’s programming provides Cougars with the tools to be leaders and build a strong, positive culture both within and across teams.
Ultimately, it’s this culture creation that is vital to a team’s success--and the Calhoun athletics program has already reaped the benefits, most notably in the progress made by the Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity Soccer teams this fall.
“Watching the growth and transformation that takes place at Greenkill is really amazing to watch,” says Kevin Randazzo, Girls’ JV Volleyball coach and Middle School math teacher. “When we leave, everyone’s skills have improved, but most importantly, they believe in themselves more after the experience.”