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By: Amanda Windon (ATC/LAT),  MDS Head Athletic Trainer // MDS Musings Blog 

The athletic department is a group of student athletes, coaches, and administrators who put forth effort to create winning programs both on and off the field. Athletics is so much more than competing, winning games, losing games, and practicing. There are many great reasons to join an athletic program. Read on for four reasons from the MDS head athletic trainer Amanda Windon.

Be Part of a Team
Teams allow an individual to be a part of a group of students who push each other and support each other.  It allows you to try something new, something out of your comfort zone.  You learn how to be a team player and how to support and build each other up by encouraging one another and problem solving. If you lose a game, you get with your teammates to figure out what you can change to not make the mistakes again. You overcome mental obstacles – changing ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can.’   You become part of a team and teams work together.

Workout Regularly
Teams work out regularly via practice or lifting and conditioning.  If you’re concerned that you might not be in shape enough to keep up, that’s ok. Not all team members are always in shape to begin with.   That’s why there are off season conditioning and weight lifting sessions; these sessions help you get into shape or maintain your conditioning.  During the season, you continue to condition to keep in shape.  The body is amazing and you will learn how it adapts to strenuous workouts and practices and how it changes through it all.

Responsibility and Accountability
As a team member, you learn responsibility and accountability. You learn responsibility by making sure you have your practice gear cleaned and prepared for the upcoming practice or your uniforms ready for the game.  Always make sure to pack the necessary items even if you have to take them to school.  You are held accountable if you forget part of your uniform or some of your gear.  The coach might exclude you from playing in a very important game because you forgot your jersey or cleats.  This is a very difficult part of being a member of a team, but it’s one of the most important aspects.

Manager Options
If you feel like you want to be part of a team, but you are not sure you could keep up or the other members are more seasoned than you, there are other options.  The team manager position is very important.  Duties vary from team to team but could include preparing water and setting up practice equipment.  For games, you could keep the stat book. Coaches are appreciative of a manager who enjoys being part of the team and is a hard worker.

Don’t ever feel like you can’t be part of a team. You can be – even if you aren’t competing on the field. Take a look, you might find a passion you didn’t know you had.

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Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, and serves students in Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and other surrounding counties.  MDS is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.