Less than a month after middle school baseball started in Jackson-Madison County Schools, the district started something else this week to help in sports development in the lower grades.
Arlington Elementary was the host on Tuesday night for the official jamboree of the first-ever season of elementary basketball in JMCSS.
For the next few weeks, seven elementary schools in Jackson will each put a boys’ and girls’ team on the court to begin play.
“For years, our teams when they’ve made it to state in whatever sport they play, many times they fall to teams from East Tennessee that are more skilled,” said Shemon Reaves, the principal at Arlington. “And one of the reasons they’re more skilled is because a lot of school districts make sure there are coaches working with the children early in elementary and continuing that in middle school, which makes the high school teams better.”
The reasoning behind that is because when athletes who’ve been playing in school or travel or recreation leagues get to high school, they usually don’t have to spend as much time on fundamentals.
But that’s one thing that’s held a lot of teams in JMCSS back is working on fundamentals as freshmen when other high schools are able to work on more complex parts of their respective games, giving them an advantage in skill and strategy when they play teams from JMCSS.
Middle school baseball and elementary basketball are ways the district is trying to counteract that, while also adding other positive aspects to the initiative.
“If a student plays sports for a few years, they learn lessons like persistence, teamwork, hard work and accountability,” Reaves said while discussing elementary basketball to the JMCSS Board during its work session on Monday night. “So hopefully this will lead to even more positive outcomes off the court as well from the students who are participating in this.”
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org