Curtis Vizza, left, and Rob Stevenson, who coach football and teach at John Barsby Secondary School, are the masterminds behind the school’s new Mastery and Performance program that will teach students physical literacy. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo high school launches sports mastery program

Mastery and Performance program now offered at John Barsby Secondary School

Student athletes can take training to a new level this fall with John Barsby’s first Mastery and Performance Program.

The program is the brainchild of John Barsby Secondary School teachers and football coaches Curtis Vizza and Rob Stevenson, who are leveraging lessons learned in the football program and their own strengths to build a series of courses that offer university-level strength, speed, agility and developmental training to athletes of all kinds.

There will also be the chance for young people to develop sports-related passions, like sports management, coaching and journalism.

“The timing is great. The new curriculum board-authorized courses and our extra-curricular program have meshed in a very innovative way to create an unmatched opportunity for the students to follow their athletic passion to its fullest extent,” said Stevenson at a recent education committee meeting.

He said the goal is for young people to find an activity they like doing and be all they can be within it, but to also, in the long term, create a generation of leaders across “not just the athletics spectrum, but the spectrum of life.”

Students can take sport-specific physical education and then go into the performance facility, “train up their game,” compete and leverage their hard work to find successes, said Stevenson.

Within the program, students are expected to do work around fitness and physical literacy, learning for example proper nutrition, physiology, how to allow their bodies to recover and to evaluate themselves. They are also expected to use technology to build a website and look at video analysis; do community outreach in elementary schools and have the chance to develop passions in sports-related fields.

Principal Deb Marshall is excited and said the program takes sport to the next level while encompassing people’s passions and the direction they want to go and it allows them to look beyond where they are, at the whole picture.

“It’s a three-year process and we’re really only into the physical aspect of it at this point,” she said. “We’re hoping from there we will develop into students’ other passions so they are part of that performance and mastery within that given context and that they will take the skills they are learning from there and apply them into other areas of passion, such as culinary arts.”

Vizza said what distinguishes Barsby’s program from others is it’s a multi-sport training institute, trying to meet the needs of everyone as much as it can without students having to pay for the experience.

“I’m overly excited,” he said. “Really just more chomping at the bit to get to work with the kids.”

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