Ossining Athletics Department

Program Philosophy


Interscholastic athletics in the Ossining School District is a component of the health and physical education program and therefore is an integral part of the district's total educational program. Athletics should be a broadening experience in which harmony of mind-body functions is created through striving for physical and mental excellence. This value-building experience should be offered to as many students as possible. A well-coordinated program is vitally important to the morale of the school and our community.

Everyone involved in the delivery of athletics possesses a unique opportunity to teach positive life skills and values. Therefore, this educational experience demands highly qualified coaches. Desire, dedication, and self-discipline need to be developed in order to ensure the commitment and personal sacrifice required by athletes. Making such a commitment helps to nurture integrity, pride, loyalty, and overall character. The final outcome is a better citizenry carrying these values throughout their life.

It is the nature of athletic competition to strive for victory. However, the number of victories is only one criterion when determining a season's success. Guiding the team to attain maximum potential is the ultimate goal. To this end, the coaching staff must teach student/athletes to prepare their minds and bodies in order to reach maximum potential, and then to be modest in victory and steadfast in defeat.


Varsity competition is the culmination of each sport's program. Normally, seniors and juniors make up the majority of the roster. Occasionally, a sophomore and infrequently a freshman may be included on the team providing that evidence of advanced levels of physical development, athletic skill and appropriate socio-emotional development is demonstrated. It is possible but rare for a middle school level student to be included on a varsity roster. Selection classification occurs more frequently in sports commonly classified as "individual" (track, golf, swimming, etc.).

Squad size at the varsity level is limited. The number of participants on any given team is a function of those needed to conduct an effective and meaningful practice and to play the contest. It is vital that each team member has a role and is informed of its importance. The number of roster positions is relative to the students' acceptance of their individual roles in pursuit of the team's goals. While contest participation over the course of a season is desirable, a specified amount of playing time at the varsity level is never guaranteed.

A sound attitude and advanced level of skill are prerequisites for a position on a varsity team, as is the realization that a varsity sport requires a six-day-a-week commitment. This commitment is often extended into vacation periods for all sport seasons. While contests and practices are rarely held on holidays and Sundays, the dedication and commitment needed to conduct a successful varsity program should be taken seriously. The varsity coach is the leader of that sport's program and determines the system of instruction and strategy for that program. The communication among the modified, junior varsity and varsity programs is the responsibility of the varsity coach. Preparing to win, striving for victory in each contest and working to reach the group's and individual's maximum potential are worthy goals of a varsity level team.


The junior varsity level is intended for those who display the potential of continued development into productive varsity level performers. Although team membership varies according to the structure of each program, sophomores occupy the majority of roster positions. In certain situations, juniors who are expected to make contributions at the varsity level will be considered for junior varsity participation. Also, freshmen may be included on a junior varsity roster, as well as middle school students who have satisfied all selection classification requirements.

At this level, athletes are expected to have visibly committed themselves to the program, team and continued self-development. To this end, increased emphasis is placed on physical conditioning, refinement of fundamental skills, elements and strategies of team play in addition to socioemotional development. Junior varsity programs work towards achieving a balance between continued team and player development and striving for victory. The outcome of the contest becomes a consideration at this level.

The realization that practice sessions are important is a premise that is vital to a successful junior varsity team and player. For all team members, meaningful contest participation will exist over the course of a season; however, a specified amount of playing time is never guaranteed. Participants at this level are preparing themselves for the six-day-a-week commitment that is expected at the varsity level. While contests and practices are rarely held on holidays and Sundays, practice sessions are sometimes scheduled during school vacation periods. With the goal of becoming a varsity athlete clearly in sight, a high level of dedication and commitment is expected at the junior varsity level.


This program is available to all students in the seventh and eighth grades. Sport activities offered are determined by the existence of leagues, student interest, and the relationship to the high school program. At this level, the focus is on learning athletic skills and game rules, fundamentals of team play, socio-emotional growth, physiologically appropriate demands on the adolescent body, and healthy competition.

At the modified level if the number of students trying out for a team creates a situation that is difficult to manage, poses a safety problem or is problematic because of facility considerations, reducing team size may be necessary. Ultimately, the number of teams and size of the squad in any sport will be determined by the availability of 1) financial resources, 2) qualified coaches, 3) suitable indoor or outdoor facilities, and 4) a safe environment.

In order for the desired development of the adolescent athlete and team to occur, practice sessions are vital. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association publishes regulations by which practice sessions are governed. Occasionally, practice or contests will be scheduled for Saturdays. Opportunities for meaningful contest participation for each team member will exist over the course of a season.

Exceptional seventh and eighth graders may be permitted to try out for a junior varsity or varsity team under the State Education Department Program called Selection Classification.