April 23rd, 2021

Alexandra Middle School’s sports institute kicks, tees, faces off this fall

By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on April 8, 2021.

A gym class at Alexandra Middle School in Medicine Hat runs through some track and field drills in this September 2020 file photo. The school's sports institute program will begin this fall.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

ktaniguchi@medicinehatnews.com@@kellentaniguchi

Beginning in September, Alexandra Middle School will be offering its high-performance sports institute to students of all skill levels.

The program will focus on improving students’ athletic abilities that translate to a number of sports. These abilities include strength, flexibility, agility, functional movement, nutrition, sports and performance psychology, recovery and injury prevention and culture of sport.

“Our vision is to create an environment and a culture in which all student athletes can reach their full potential,” said Todd Samuelson, principal and AMS and the project and institute manager for the sports institute.

“We’re really stressing the inclusivity of it. This program is designed for any student who has a love of sport and wants to excel. It’s for the dancer, the AAA hockey player, the football player, really any sport a student might be interested in, regardless of ability or level.”

The program starts in September and will run for the entirety of the school year.

“Students that are in it will receive two hours every other day of instruction around sport development,” said Samuelson. “And in addition to that, we are willing to work with outside coaches – if a hockey coach or a swim coach would like us to focus on certain areas during their time with us, we can do that as well. There will also be opportunity for those students that are really sport specific to work on some sport specific skills.”

Gymnastics, dance, hockey, baseball and golf are among the specific sports the program is prepared to help with.

The institute has also partnered with Badlands Training Centre and will have access to their facility, mobility and fundamental movement expert Tom Wilde, as well as strength coach Megan Hilgendorf and sports therapist Janay Gregory who will help students in the program.

“I’m really excited about the team we have put together here … we have a very well-rounded and talented team to meet the needs of our student athletes,” said Samuelson.

He says depending on interest they are looking to cap each grade level, Grade 7-9, at 26 students for the program. However, some spots will be set aside for students who may not be able to afford the program.

“We feel strongly that finances should not be a barrier to this program,” he said. “A portion of each class will be reserved for families that are in need and we will be approaching various community members and business to help us out with that and sponsor student athletes. We do not want to turn any students away just based on low-income.”

It will cost Grade 7 and 8 students $700 and Grade 9 students will have an extra $35 fee which gives them access to Medicine Hat High School teachers and the facility. Staff at MHHS will work with students as they prepare to transition to the high school level.

Samuelson is excited the school is able to offer the program and says it’s something people have been asking for.

“We’ve heard from community members that there’s a desire to offer a sports academy or sports institute,” he said. “So, we as a staff wanted to offer something that was diverse and inclusive and would meet the needs of any athlete to make them better not only as athletes, but better students and better community members.”

Pre-registration is now open under the “Interested?” tab on the AMS Sports Institute’s website.

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