Beyond Sticks believes that sport is about more than the game. It is about the life lessons you take with you after you put down the stick, or cleats, or whatever your sport may be.
Even if we didn’t focus on character building and leadership, we know it happens through sports. But at Beyond Sticks, we also know that bad sportsmanship, ego and bad attitudes can also prevail unless coaches and players are deliberate and intentional in how we learn.
Therefore, we incorporate our “Play Beyond the Game” philosophy into all we do. How:
- Development Academy has short cool down activities that focus on a different skill each week-such as visualization or self-fulfilling prophecies.
- Camps have Play Beyond the Game sessions that teach mental toughness, the difference between deliberate practice and regular practice, teamwork, self-awareness, and embracing failure to succeed, among other themes.
- Our partner club, Southeast Storm, has yearly workshops by the Positive Coaching Alliance and all our coaches have specific Play Beyond the Game duties outlined in their contracts along with professional development on positive coaching.
- Our non-profit Parent run Loudoun County League embraces our Positive coaching alliance partnership and works with our coaches on positive coaching.
In the summer, we really get to refine our PBG sessions, and help the female athlete become better stronger and faster on the mental side of the game.
What do our Play Beyond the Game sessions look like?
You don’t even have to be a part of our programs to play beyond the game: check out our weekly 2016 Spring PBG Drills
or see our Play Beyond the Game Articles:
- Write your own Sock Note
- Why Girls should be coached differently than boys
- Ways girls should be coached the SAME as boys
- When Coach Chrissy fell in love with hockey
What will our Summer PBG sessions look like?
Just like you, we are always looking to keep the good and improve upon the rest. For our 2017 summer programs, we will cover similar concepts, but add new games that drive the point of playing beyond the game home. Our 2016 curriculum assigned a theme each day to integrate the mental side of the game into our athletes play. For 2016 returning athletes will build upon those words and focus on new ways to improve their leadership potential, teamwork, and mental toughness. All players leave camp with our trademarked Play Beyond the Game booklet to reinforce these principles throughout the year.
We won’t release our 2017 principles yet, but check out what we focused in previous years!
Our 5 “Play Beyond the Game” principles for 2015:
FOCUS: Get your mind in shape along with your body. Players will learn how to set realistic effort goals for their practices and games, and how to remember what their goals are. Play Beyond the Game counselors will also teach the girls the importance of visualization and how they can use it to be successful.
FAILURE: Push through your current failure thresholds and learn how to let go of mistakes during play. Girls learn the positives of failure and how they can overcome it to improve upon their mistakes. They will work with other campers to understand how to help not only themselves through failure, but also their teammates.
TEAMWORK: Utilize your team to minimize individual weakness and foster team strength, and how to prevent “girl drama” from killing it. During this leadership session, girls will take an adaptive DiSC test in order to learn more about themselves and other personality types they work with. Players will learn to value the role of all personality types and understand the importance of a diversity of characteristics on a team.
TEAM SPIRIT: Support your teammates, celebrate your victories, and overcome your losses without compromising your sportsmanship. Girls will learn the importance of cheering for their team, without concern for what the other team is doing. We encourage our players to “control what they can control,” by not focusing on the actions of opponents, parents, or referees.
PLAYING TO WIN: It is sport isn’t it? We finish camp with how to put it all together to create a goal-setting plan that will get the result you and your team want: a well-earned W for the books.
Where do the sessions come from? We use a modified version of Resources Unlimited’s DiSC sessions, the NCAA’s Student Leadership Conferences, research from Harvard, West Point, The Character Lab, The Positivity Project and current team-building activities for our content. We have tinkered all our resources to give girls the opportunity to apply confidence, conflict-resolution, and goal-setting concepts to school sport scenarios. As we’ve grown our programs have become more interactive and fun!
For example, what do you do when drama holds your team back? Let’s find out by building a marshmallow tower! What do you do if you’re feeling a lack of confidence? Let’s do a camp wide “Bingo” to get to know one another! How can you set realistic goals based on what you know about yourself? Let’s do it through an egg drop!
Our sessions make intangible concepts possible and applicable. All players take a version of a personality test to help them know their own strengths and weaknesses, which helps the girls better understand themselves and those they work with. Take a free version, much like the one at camp, to check it out!
When are sessions held? Beyond Sticks has sessions during camp, but we rarely sit down. Unlike boring classroom sessions, we make sure to add fun and interactive parts to all lessons! We believe exceptional athletes are able to self-assess and learn to focus on the mental side of the game.
If I’ve been to camp before, is it repeated? Last year we threw eggs off buildings, built with marshmallows, and destroyed some paper plates moving across a “river.” Sounds fun, but will we do it all again? Well some of it is so popular we do! But there are always new lessons built in. We have completely new lesson plans that get teams and players interacting with others, thinking about themselves, and goal setting for the future.
Is it simply boring classroom work? Absolutely not. Players get up and interact with others, make action plans, participate in group discussion, act out situations, and occasionally listen to their coaches talk about how to apply what they learn to the fields of play.
What does a typical session look like? All players take the personality test and “grade” themselves to find out their leadership style (there is no such thing as a good or bad grade on this test though). For 2017, we will look into including a new personality test to help players understand themselves. We break into understanding how to use this test, and then use it to discuss team culture, mental toughness, problem solving, or other issues important for teenage girls. Sessions last approximately forty-five minutes.
Want to see some how a presentation looks? Download a section of 2013 presentation for the session on “Avoiding Girl Drama“.
What are the personality styles? We assign the different personality types certain superheroes, but check out what we base our 4 Personality Styles on! Every person is given a primary style and secondary style as a tool for learning about themselves and others. You can also take a free version, that is not exactly like our test (ours is more accurate and created by professionals), but will give you an idea of how it works.
Where can I sign up? You can register for our summer camps HERE or register for youth camps through the Potomac School.
How did the leadership training come about? Founder Christine (Lewis) Summers was first exposed to this style of training while acting as the National Student Athlete Advisory Committee Chairperson. The training through the NCAA made her more confident when speaking in public and helped her understand how to manage different personalities, including her own. The training was life-changing for Coach (Lewis) Summers, but her biggest wish was that she had received the training earlier so she could better deal with the issues of confidence, team atmosphere, and goal-setting in high school.
Upon founding Beyond Sticks, Coach Chrissy trained for and became a certified DiSC facilitator. DiSC is the program still used by the NCAA at National Student Leadership Conferences. Using the DiSC personality assessment as a starting point, Beyond Sticks has adapted the curriculum used by the NCAA and Fortune 500 companies specially for female field hockey athletes. Through a few tweaks and years of running camps, Beyond Sticks and Coach (Lewis) Summers hope to give younger athletes the top level training most are only exposed to as college athletes.
What’s next for Play Beyond the Game?
Last spring, we worked on a new Play Beyond the Game project with Columbia University. This spring we are expanding to a charter school in DC! Two times a week, student athletes and our coaches coach young girls from a local charter school in field hockey. In the second half of the season, we will be in a classroom to work on Play Beyond the Game sessions like teamwork, conflict resolution, teamwork, and mental toughness.
Register for one of our programs and see our Play Beyond the Game sessions in action!