COACH CANDICE ALLEN, Larchmont Charter School, Selma
Cross Country Coach, Track & Field Coach, Teacher
"Building a strong rapport with my students in general has always been crucially important to me, not just with the cross-country team. Once each child feels I actually and truly know them, and will always try to connect with them on their specific level, not even the sky is the limit in terms of how they’ll perform or the amount of effort they will give me. That is what I love about Larchmont, we all devote ourselves to knowing the ‘whole child’."
- Coach Candice
At FIYA (Foundation for Interscholastic Youth Athletics), we believe in the power of school sports.
The values, the virtues, and the life lessons that can be taken away from interscholastic athletics can strengthen a school’s community beyond belief through the bonds between students, their coaches, and their families. The athletic field is just an extension of the classroom, and in that spirit, our philosophy is that our youth coaches must be encouraged to teach our young athletes: responsibility, independence, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership so that they are better prepared for everyday life.
Coach Candice Allen is a FIYA participating Division 2 Cross Country Coach, Division 2 Track & Field Coach, and 6th Grade Teacher at Larchmont Charter School, Selma. (Division 2 in FIYA is for 6th Graders and Below) We’ve selected to feature her in our FIYA community because Coach Candice demonstrates day in and day out the positive characteristics of which we expect from our coaches and administrators who participate in our programs. FIYA Features is our opportunity to express not only our gratitude for members of the community like Coach Candice, but to showcase what positive coaching and mentorship looks like. We hope that by highlighting her character and successes, more of our coaches will embody the philosophies, attitudes, and behavior that she brings to FIYA.
After watching Coach Candice and her Larchmont Charter team participate in the FIYA Cross Country Season this past fall (2018) and in the current FIYA Track and Field Season, we were impressed by the respect, sportsmanship, and togetherness displayed by her program. Coach Candice plays a big part in the way her students compete, and she's a core example of a positive youth coach: she gives her attention and efforts to every child on the team, she emphasizes good character and teamwork, and she's preparing her students not only for the next level but for their lives ahead.
Not only did they have many successes in both seasons, but they also behave in a way that makes everyone else’s experience better both on the track and on the cross country courses. The Larchmont athletes take the time to shake every competitors hand after each race, they cheer for every winner at our end ceremonies, and they always know how to have fun. It’s not always about winning and losing, but about the experience you take away from these opportunities in school sports that will benefit our athletes in the long run. Larchmont is definitely creating a better experience not only for themselves but for everyone around them, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. We hope this serves as a reminder that when you participate in FIYA or in sports in general, it’s not just about you and your team but the way you play, the way you act, and the way you treat others, completely affects everyone else’s experience in the program. Other FIYA coaches have recognized and applauded Larchmont Selma’s presence in our programs, and we hope that their positive influence can continue making an impact on other teams, students, and coaches in FIYA for years to come!
Great job, Larchmont and Coach Candice!
We had the chance to ask Coach Candice a few questions to give our readers and community some depth to who she is as a coach, as a role model to our student-athletes, and as a person. Hopefully just by her answers, you too can see why she is an individual that positively represents not only her own school, but is a positive representation of what we like to see in our organization.
Here is what she had to say:
Q: Did you play any sports growing up and if so, is there a specific coach that impacted your life during those years and beyond the field?
A: I most definitely played sports growing up, both team and individual. More specifically, basketball and I participated in track & field. Playing sports brought me out of me super shy shell. I was, and still am in some settings, quite the introvert. Being involved with sports pretty much forced me into a more confident, outgoing person.
Q: How long have you been coaching and what first got you coaching?
A: I have been coaching for over ten years. I teach, 6th grade pre-algebra & history, so naturally I love being around young people. I love sports and received an opportunity to coach four basketball teams one summer and loved it! Now I’m stuck.
Q: Do you have another role at your school / community besides being the Cross Country Coach?
A: 6th grade teacher, cross country coach, track & field coach, oh and I host our school’s Lip Sync Battles ☺
Q: What's your philosophy on coaching youth sports in general and how did it lead you to success this season in FIYA Cross Country?
A: My philosophy on coaching is meeting/developing my young ones at their specific levels, being as involved as possible, getting out there with them (not just giving out instructions, lecturing, etc.), and basically being a big kid at heart. I’m firm, yet fun.
Q: In FIYA our Cross Country and Track & Field programs are co-ed. What is your philosophy on coaching a team with young boys AND girls together and the importance of it?
A: My philosophy doesn’t change at all. My girls always feel comfortable and even empowered running with/against my boys at practice. Some of my boys don’t want to race my girls! ☺ It is important, especially at this age, that they feel a sense of equality, eliminating the stereotype that “boys are better at sports than girls”, and they are able to build long-lasting friendships.
Q: What do you love most about having a middle school Cross Country program and why?
A: Well first off, I don’t consider my 5th and 6th graders middle school but what I love most about offering cross-country at our school is it’s an equal playing field. Everyone can run.
Q: You and your team demonstrated such a close knit relationship, and it always looked like you were having fun (which can sometimes be hard for a sport that only involves running for kids!). What do you think is the significance of having that be a part of your school/sports culture and how do you think that affects your kids' experience in playing school sports?
A: Thank you, and yes we are very close and have fun all the time. Building a strong rapport with my students in general has always been crucially important to me, not just with the cross-country team. Once each child feels I actually and truly know them, and will always try to connect with them on their specific level, not even the sky is the limit in terms of how they’ll perform or the amount of effort they will give me. That is what I love about Larchmont, we all devote ourselves to knowing the ‘whole child’.
Q: What's the best advice you can give to the rest of our coaches in FIYA in regards to coaching youth sports and positively doing so?
A: Advice? It’s really simple, only do it if you love it because the kids will know, parents will know. And get out there and be silly with them, make mistakes in front of them, I mean … just care.
Q: Do you have any favorite stories (positive or success stories for example) on a student athlete or from your school as a whole that came from participating in FIYA XC?
A: Too many to count … Let's see, last year at one of the meets, the D1 athletes were running and I always stay to watch because those were once my D2 loves. They were on their second lap when I saw a student I had the previous year. He hadn’t seen me before the race began but caught a glimpse while making his turn and literally ran off the path, directly to me, just to give me a hug and then went on his merry way. That was a touching moment.
Q: Why do you choose to participate in FIYA's programs?
A: I believe our soccer and basketball teams play in different leagues but also play in FIYA. We keep coming back because we like it! Consistently friendly staff members and the events are always organized.
Q: What's you favorite part/thing about FIYA's Cross Country Program? And what would you like to see in FIYA's Cross Country program in the future?
A: My favorite element about the FIYA program IN GENERAL, for ALL meets/games, would be the organization and also having these events at various locations so it’s easier for some families to attend at some point during the season.
Q: What do you think the benefits of school sports are? And specifically for Larchmont, how has sports enhanced its school experience, and what have been the benefits of having school sports (or in this case Cross Country) offered to your students?
A: Having sports at Larchmont has brought students/families together that would have normally never crossed paths and that is a beautiful thing. Whether that be through carpooling, snack duties, or just sitting together while cheering on our amazing runners, it’s been wonderful to witness.
Thank you Coach Candice Allen for your commitment to your school and for positively contributing to the betterment of our FIYA community! We appreciate your energy, attitude, and the impact you make on everyone's experience around you in the FIYA programs.