Athletic Clinics bring young athletes to campus

It’s normal to see Dana Hall Middle and Upper School athletes in the hallways and on the fields wearing their Dana blue and white jerseys. But why would 100 younger girls be on campus over the weekend sporting blue and white? These girls are in grades 1 through 5 and are participants in Dana Hall’s Athletic Clinics.

Led by Dana Hall coaches and current students, the Dana Hall Athletic Clinics are currently offered for field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. The first clinic was offered in fall 2014 and had a turnout of around 120 participants. Clinics occur on Sunday afternoons, typically from around 4:00 to 5:30 PM, and cost $20 per participant. Participants are welcomed into the Dana Hall community and are given a Dana Hall jersey and sports ball.

The clinics often involve a fun theme that everyone gets involved with. Brooke Kennedy ’16, of the Varsity Field Hockey team, enjoyed that “all of the players dressed up in costumes along with [their] coaches” during a recent weekend clinic.

These clinics are a way for students to share the skills they have acquired with younger girls from the larger Wellesley community. Kennedy particularly enjoyed participating in the clinics because she “has been playing field hockey since [she] was as young as [the participants], and it was awesome to see them improve even in the few hours we had together.” Susanna Maheras ‘16 on the Varsity Basketball team helped with a clinic last winter and loved seeing “how enthusiastic and eager all of the girls were to learn.”

Mr. Rob Mather, the Assistant Head of Dana Hall, plays a key role in the planning and execution of the athletic clinics. He works closely with Ms. Liza Cohen, the Director of Communications, to inform the local community about the programs and all that they have to offer. Mr. Mather says that the “goal is always to get families to learn about Dana Hall, and our athletic program is one way that we thought we could do that.”

Following the clinics, Dana Hall ensures that participants and their families are invited to admissions events and events on campus that are open to the public. As Mr. Mather stated, “if a family is interested in Dana Hall, [the clinic] is a great first touch.” Mr. Mather says that he enjoys the clinics because it “always so exciting … to see our students represent our school because they do it so beautifully, and they are instantly, just by virtue of who they are, aspirational for the young girls.”

The Wellesley parent-run field hockey organization, Scoops, has been eager to partner with Dana Hall in the clinics, and girls participating in Scoops attended the field hockey clinic in the fall.

It’s possible that in the future, some of the same elementary-aged girls who have worn their blue and white may become Dana Hall athletes and leaders.

Photo: The Dana Dragon cheers on young participants at the fall field hockey clinic. Photo credit: Adam Richins.

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