All schools have athletics, but few have a dedicated sports performance program that feeds their athletes from a “Spirit, Mind, Body” standpoint. Such is the case here at CHCA. Run by Director of Sports Performance Adam Atallah (CHCA alum, ’07) and Head Athletic Trainer Joe Lucas of Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, the pair meets each student where they are instead of adhering to a “one-type-fits-all” mentality. Whether you are aspiring to be an elite athlete, or seeking a competitive program setting, CHCA’s Sports Performance Program is custom designed to help our students set and achieve their athletic goals.
“We’re doing something different from any other local school,” says Atallah. “The technology, programming and recovery all allow our coaches to coach smarter and better serve their student athletes.” The sports performance coaching team is one of the only in the region who leverages technology to daily track in-season student athletes on their rest, eating, stress, and studies. Students provide daily input via an app which is in turn sent to Atallah and to the coaches so that they have real-time insight into students’ well-being and readiness for any given practice and/or game day.
Atallah, who has a passion for discipleship, leads Bible studies with current and former athletes. He also grows students’ faith in other ways.
“Whether it’s a short devotion, an encouraging verse on the board right next to the planned workout, or a helpful piece of advice, his love for Jesus shows through his actions,” shares senior Brooklyn Dobyns. “It’s cool to be athletically mentored by someone who shares similar faith values.”
“We are building a Culture of Champions that develops, motivates, and empowers our student athletes to impact the world for Christ,” says Eric Taylor, Director of Athletics. “Our student athletes have embraced the notion of ‘360 Armor,’ suiting up for play in both sports and life.”
Since proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and stress maintenance can vastly increase an athlete’s performance, Atallah and Lucas employ technology to track eating and sleeping patterns. In addition, the school’s lunch provider has created an “athlete’s lunch special” so that all students (even non-athletes) have access to healthy foods.
“We looked into the best recovery methods used by teams in the NFL, NBA, MLS, MLB, and NCAA,” says Lucas. “They provide top-notch options to their athletes and we try to mimic it as close as possible.” Because of CHCA’s partnership with Beacon Orthopedics, Lucas is on-site and available during the school day to assess and facilitate injured students’ recovery during their free bells.
For instance, CHCA athletes now have access to Normatec Recovery System, which speeds up the body’s recovery process, and Matrix S-drive Treadmills – self-propelled treadmills with a fixed incline position and the ability to increase resistance as well as work load.
Athletes getting hurt is a part of life. The difference here is that Atallah and Lucas immediately address injuries to hasten healing. For instance, Heather Wilkowski tells how her son, Jack, tore his ACL at the start of lacrosse season.
“Within an hour of receiving the news from the doctor, Coach A., Joe Lucas, and Mark Lynch [the lacrosse coach] met with Jack and put a plan into action to start the six-month recovery process to get him back to competitive play,” says Wilkowski. “This helped Jack stay focused on his goal of complete recovery. The morning of the surgery, Coach A. called to pray with him. Post-surgery, they pushed him, coached him, and celebrated each milestone.”
Wilkowski maintains that not only did her son emerge from the injury stronger than before, but he also learned resiliency and the importance of community.
“As a parent, nothing means more than when someone is willing to invest in and love your kids like you do,” she says. “I’ll forever be grateful for the way our Sports Performance team stayed so connected and supportive to my son and our family during the entire injury.”
At CHCA, it’s not just about making students stronger and better athletes; it’s about making them stronger and better people so that they may serve the world for Christ!
About the Authors
Adam Atallah, a 2007 CHCA graduate, brings a wealth of experience from the athletic world. He led the client/partner relations at Ignition Athletic Performance Group in Cincinnati. He was the sports performance coach and lead project manager on administration projects for the CEO of Ignition Athletic Performance. He helped design and execute Ignition Performance Certification Seminars, created a new Sports Performance Nutrition division within Ignition and was an NFL Combine Program Coordinator responsible to recruit pro athletes and their agents. In addition, he helped develop and coordinate the opening of two training programs in Florida and Georgia.
Jennifer Murphy serves as Marketing & Communications Director for Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. After a nearly 20-year marketing and branding agency career, she turned toward full-time ministry at the school where her two sons attend and has been in her current role since 2013. She's also a marketing consultant, mentor, and co-author of a blog, Good Word Project. Jen loves spending quality time with family and friends, volunteering at school and church, running, coffee, fashion, and has a heart for listening to, encouraging, and praying for women. She attends Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, where her husband Matt is on staff.