Fitness in the Middle

Written by Joelle Wright on .


Brusly Middle School physical education coaches Emily Naquin and Chris Cummings are focused on making sure that their students leave the gym this year with lessons that will apply to their entire lives.

Naquin, who coaches girls basketball, volleyball, and track at the middle school, as well as serves as the assistant basketball coach at Brusly High School, said she wants students to not only be healthy on the outside, but also feel good internally.

“This year we will use our health curriculum to inform the kids of making better choices physically as well as nutritionally,” she said.

To begin the physical education year, Naquin, along with her colleague Cummings, who coaches football, basketball and track, have been giving each student a physical education test which gives each student a baseline from which to build upon his or her physical fitness. Students have one minute to complete each task, which includes sit ups, push- ups, etc.

It is the hope of the coaches that by the end of the year, students’ scores on the fitness test will rise significantly.

Like any other subject in school, physical education has a specific lesson plan each day.

“In physical education, we dress out, do regimented stretching warm-ups, and have an activity,” Naquin said. “Activities range from playing organized sports to learning about health and nutrition.”

Cummings said that their focus is not all about just playing sports in the gym. He said that their focus will be coming up with health related topics that will teach the students the importance of staying active.

Another goal of the coaches is to prepare future athletes for competition at the high school level when they reach Brusly High.

“P.E. teaches kids how to compete, reach goals, and how to perform in stressful situations,” Cummings said.

Naquin agreed, saying the the class also teaches teaches children discipline.

“Grades have to be made to participate in school sports; therefore, the children must be physically and mentally tough,” she said.

Even if a student doesn’t play sports competitively, both Naquin and Cummings point out that students benefit from P.E. because “being active controls weight, boosts mood and energy, and reduces stress.”

Another important goal of the coaches this year is to inform the students of the benefits of eating nutritious snacks. Many schools offer concession snacks like candy and chips, but it is the hope of Naquin and Cummings that schools begin to offer nutritious snacks that include vegetables and fruits.

Naquin said that lunches in the cafeteria have made a big change nutritionally to provide for healthier meals over the past couple of years.

All in all, Cummings said their main goal in P.E. this year is to have the students come up with a short term physical goal and take the steps to attain that goal.

“If we can make the kids get into a routine of being active and making healthy choices nutritionally,” Naquin said, “they have a better chance of being healthier adults and passing on their good habits to their own children.”


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