Summer fun

Little girls practices floor hockey with balls, stick and hoops on the floor.The UWL Adapted Physical Education Teacher Preparation Program is one of the leaders of a summer program for students in the La Crosse Area Adapted Sport League. The students are taking part in a summer developmental skills program to sharpen their skills for the upcoming school year competition.

Adapted Sport League athletes train through summer

High school football and volleyball student-athletes aren’t the only ones training during the summer months. Students in the La Crosse Area Adapted Sport League (ASL) are taking part in a summer developmental skills program to sharpen their skills for the upcoming school year competition.

ASL is a school-sponsored, extracurricular athletic program for high school students with disabilities at Logan, Central, Onalaska and Holmen high schools. With three seasons — soccer for fall, floor hockey for winter and baseball for spring — these student-athletes are similar to their peers. They earn sport letters, are led by paid coaches, travel to other schools to compete, wear school uniforms, and have practices and games.

During summer, the ASL Developmental Skills Program keeps these students active while out of school to enhance their skills for school-year team participation. It also provides an opportunity for younger students with disabilities — those not yet in high school — to start learning the skills and concept of the sports.

UW-La Crosse Professor Garth Tymeson, from the university’s Center on Disability Health and Adapted Physical Activity, says the summer program is designed to help students develop gross motor skills and knowledge for soccer, floor hockey, and tee-ball/baseball. Their motor skill instruction includes kicking, catching, batting, dribbling, running, throwing, along with other skills for sports and physical fitness.

“Most importantly, they have fun being physically active.”

“The students participate in games to practice motor and physical skills, increase social interactions with friends and develop skills in a community-based setting,” explains Tymeson. “And most importantly, they have fun being physically active.”

Matt Meyers, La Crosse Central High School ASL coach, agrees that the summer program has many benefits.

“This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes in the Coulee Region to expand their skills over the summer,” says Meyers. “The athletes work on their individual and team skills, as well as develop new friendships with athletes from other schools.”

The program runs from 5-7:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the La Crosse Wellness Center, 2839 Darling Court, through Aug. 2. There is no program the week of July 2-6.

The program is jointly run by the UWL Adapted Physical Education Teacher Preparation Program, local Adapted Sports League coaches and the La Crosse Wellness Center. Parents pay a fee for their children to participate; there is no grant or special funding.