Many prep schools struggle to balance the importance of JV as well as varsity sports. At Nobles, athletics are held to high standards, and the community takes their sports teams very seriously. Although varsity teams tend to receive more recognition than JV teams, the athletic department does its part to provide both teams with the proper resources to succeed. JV sports tend to be successful at Nobles, but do they prepare players for varsity?
Ben McPherron (Class I) played JV Soccer, JV Basketball, and JV Lacrosse during his freshman year. McPherron describes his JV experiences as some of the best sports experiences he has had at Nobles, but he did not feel they prepared him for varsity. McPherron is now a contributing member of the boys varsity basketball team and will continue his basketball career at Bowdoin College. To achieve the skill set and fitness level for varsity basketball, McPherron trained outside of school. “In order to prepare for a varsity sport you need to do your work on your own time,” McPherron said.
Some students, such as Anya Cheng (Class III), believe that, depending on the sport, JV teams have the potential to prepare players for varsity. Cheng has played on JV Field Hockey, JV Hockey, and JV Tennis. Field hockey, Cheng said, is an athletic program that sees players move from JV to varsity often. Hockey, on the other hand, sees little movement from JV to varsity. To sum it up, Cheng said, “I think the common thread for all of the JV teams that I’ve been on is that they are definitely focused on having fun and also improving your skills, but it’s not as intense as a varsity program.”
The athletic department wants all teams to succeed, but, above all else, they value team culture despite the level. Athletic Director Alex Gallagher said, “We care most about kids being in a healthy team culture, and we want every kid to have that experience no matter what level they play at.” The appreciation for team cultures at the JV level was evident through the athletic survey. On average, JV players rated their sports experiences as 4.6 on a scale of 5. Not only does the athletic department strive for each team to develop a close-knit, welcoming culture, but JV athletes have validated this culture through the survey.
Gallagher also touched on the resources that the athletic department provides for JV teams specifically. “For the kids that are playing JV with the hopes of making varsity, we absolutely have the responsibility to put the coaches in place and to give them the resources necessary to develop their game the best that they can,” Gallagher said. JV coaches are dedicated to improving their team and helping their players grow. They plan practices that will promote team bonding and allow players to adopt a solid skill set in their respective sport. Gallagher also mentioned how fortunate the community is to have knowledgeable and committed coaches at sub-varsity levels.
Lastly, while there is movement between JV and varsity teams, it can be limited due to sports recruits. Because Nobles is a private school, varsity coaches are able to encourage talented athletes to attend Nobles with hopes of them being key contributors on their teams. “I think we have a lot of coaches who really do care about the way the game is taught at sub-varsity levels of their programs, but they also have the desire to bring in new players to add to the depth and the talent that exists in their program on an annual basis,” Gallagher said.
By Julia Palumbo, Copy Editor, March 2019