At Christian Brothers Academy, we offer a wide range of athletic programs at many different levels. In some sports, however, it is impossible for us to field teams at all levels. In sports such as girls swimming, we do not offer junior high programs. In these sports, junior high students may try out for the high school team if they pass the State Education Department’s Athletic Placement Process (APP) test. This test is made up of five components, from a physical maturity test to an endurance test, each designed to help determine a student’s ability to compete against older boys and girls. The test is not an indicator of an athlete’s skill in a particular sport, but rather a measure of whether a child can physically withstand the rigors of competing in a sport at a higher level. If a child cannot pass the APP test, it should not be considered a failure or inability to achieve at the higher level but rather viewed as a safety precaution against your child being put at risk of injury.
In sports where junior high programs are offered, it is strongly encouraged that seventh and eighth graders compete at that level. In fact, it is required that seventh graders compete on those teams. We feel that it is important for seventh graders to compete on teams with their peers, when possible, to interact and form friendships with fellow classmates. Exceptionally talented eighth graders, however, may be eligible to try out for a high school team. First, they must be recommended by the high school coach, and then they must achieve the APP standards for that particular sport.
Parents should be mindful that although a junior high student may possess the skills to compete on a high school team, there are several other factors that should be considered before allowing your child to take the APP test. First, there are social implications. When your child competes on a high school team, he/she is removed from interaction with his/her peer group. This could make it difficult for a child to relate to fellow classmates and force him/her to socialize with teammates that may be at a different maturity level. Also to be considered is the increased time commitment for JV and Varsity sports. As athletes move on to the higher levels, practices are held more frequently, at later times, and on weekends. It is often necessary for athletes on these teams to give up some outside activities to devote the necessary time and effort to the sport. Are you and your child ready to make that increased commitment? Finally, why? Please remember to keep athletics in the proper perspective. Very few athletes will eventually make a living playing a sport professionally, and even if your child is going to earn a college scholarship, it will make very little difference whether he/she played JV or Varsity as an eighth grader. When a gifted athlete reaches high school, it is certain that he/she will be competing at the highest level offered where he/she can be successful. Whether or not that advancement should take place in junior high is a matter that must be evaluated on an individual basis. Should you choose to have your child take the APP test, please print out the appropriate permission forms and have your child bring it with him/her on testing day.