Saint Mary’s athletic department to host clinic
Haleigh Ehmsen | Friday, February 27, 2015
Saint Mary’s athletic department will host over 80 girls from the South Bend area tonight for a sports clinic in celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
Cross country coach and director of student athlete affairs Jackie Bauters said National Girls and Women in Sports Day is celebrated annually during the first week of February. The College’s athletic department received funds from the NCAA to put on an initiative of their choice, and they decided to host a clinic for girls ages six to 12, Bauters said.
Saint Mary’s director of athletics Julie Schroeder-Biek said each of the College’s eight varsity sports teams will host a 30-minute session, and the attendees will choose to attend four of those sessions.
Bauters said student-athletes will lead the sessions. She said about three-fourths of the student-athletes have helped with the clinic in some way, whether they are leading the sessions or have helped advertise them.
Schroeder-Biek said the student-athletes have worked with their coaches to design the 30-minute sessions, though working the clinic wasn’t mandatory for athletes.
“I think it speaks wonders of our student-athletes and their passion for sport,” Schroeder-Biek said. “The students are being empowered to do the teaching and break the skills down through drill.”
Bauters said research shows girls that get involved with athletics are more confident in dealing with potential dangers as they grow up. The program is two-fold, she said.
“For girls that are already involved in sports, [the clinic] will show how you can continue with an athletic career and you can go to college and play,” Bauters said. “For the girls who haven’t been involved in sports, it’s finding a way for them to use their body in a healthy way.”
Schroeder-Biek said the clinic will show girls the fun of sports and the student-athletes will serve as mentors for the young participants in the clinic.
“A lot of times, competitive sports are introduced too early,” she said. “Six year-olds should know the fun of sport and see the social side of sport.”
Schroeder-Biek said the clinic is a perfect fit for the mission of the athletic department.
“We want the [participants] to be exposed to these wonderful role models,” she said. “Our student-athletes play Division III [athletics], where you play for the passion of sport; you don’t play because you’re on an athletic scholarship.”
Schroeder-Biek said while young girls may not get exposure to sports like golf and lacrosse in elementary and middle school, Saint Mary’s has a wide spectrum of sports, including basketball, cross country, lacrosse, volleyball, golf, tennis, soccer and softball.
The clinic filled quickly through advertising on social media and personal contacts, Bauters said.
Schroeder-Biek said the athletic department is interested in making the clinic a regular event in upcoming years.