Why Bridgedale Academy

IF your goal is maximizing your son’s development as an athlete and as a hockey player, and to give him the very best chance to fully realize his academic and athletic potential, then you’ll want to consider Bridgedale Academy.

Academics:

1) Bridgedale Academy offers a "classical school education." This is the type of education that families spend upwards of $50,000 per year at some boarding schools to get. It is also the type of education that for literally centuries has been provided to the "upper crust" of society.

2) Compared to schools that follow the Common Core (i.e. which is all public and Catholic schools in Illinois), well ... there is no comparison. Common Core is the latest national initiative for a one-size-fits-all curriculum - it is a boondoggle and a national tragedy in the making.

3) The American public education system (also used by most private schools) is modeled after the Prussian Education System. We encourage you to research this. You'll find that it was intended to educate the citizenry of Prussia/Germany to prepare them for careers that would benefit the nation, while also imbuing the masses with loyalty to the Prussian state. Now, this is not altogether a bad thing, but it is indeed instructive to point out that the Prussian ruling elites sent their OWN children to private schools to get a classical school education, so that they would be prepared to be the nation's leaders as adults (i.e. and not merely be subjects of the state).

4) Bridgedale is not the only school around offering a proper classical education, but it is the only one I'm aware of that combines such an education with elite athletic development, and obviously the only one for hockey players.

5) Every single Bridgedale student, and all the Bridgedale parents, have said that our academics are more challenging than their prior school's academics, and it doesn't matter what school they were at last year, whether private or public.

6) Despite the fact that the academics are more challenging, ALL our students say they like/love this about Bridgedale, i.e. because they are LEARNING more than they did before. There is of course homework, yet most of our students get their homework done during our after-school supervised study period.

 

Athletics:

1) These are critical years in your son’s development as an athlete and hockey player. Each year that goes by now in which he doesn't receive the type of athletic training we can offer him at Bridgedale is a "critical" lost opportunity.

[This first point deserves some explanation. Of the age levels that we train at Bridgedale, it is the youngest (i.e. the 10-year olds) for whom the greatest potential for the development of athleticism still exists. And it is a cold reality that no human being ever gets to somehow "repeat" next year the developmental year that he could have had this year. Sports science informs us that it just doesn't work that way. Either the young athlete has maximized the development of his athleticism during each year, or he hasn't. And so for a Minor Bantam, the crucial-to-their-development Peewee Minor and Major years have already gone by, never to be recaptured. Sports science also confirms that this "window of opportunity" for the development of athleticism begins to close as puberty takes hold, at around 15-17 years old depending on the athlete. After that, it's pretty much only a matter of developing physical strength and/or "honing" an existing skills set (and of course gaining experience through competitions for those lucky enough to keep moving up the pyramid). But laying that foundation of general athleticism, upon which hockey's skills set is built, must come earlier.]

2) Bridgedale’s on-ice training sessions comprise 70 minutes on-ice each school day. Our student-athletes train not only for their physical skills set but also for a better conceptual understanding of how to play the game (i.e. hockey sense). There is also a 45-minute off-ice session that follows the on-ice each day for agility, strength and athleticism training.

3) Daily athletic training is extremely valuable and healthy for young boys. In our opinion, ALL schools should be offering as much athletic training as Bridgedale Academy does (i.e. even if not with on-ice hockey training). Boys are boys and have "little boy energy" that absolutely NEEDS an outlet. And it is the stronger, more competitive athletes among the boys who need that outlet the most. But this last point notwithstanding, it is now our belief, and our contention, that ALL boys should get as much daily exercise AT SCHOOL as we provide at Bridgedale. Yet virtually none do.

4) All else being equal, Bridgedale's student-athletes are more energized, more alert, stronger, more focused, and have greater stamina (and therefore less inclined to be fatigued) than other boys their age. Despite (or perhaps because of) the almost military-like regimen that Bridgedale student-athletes keep in their daily lives, we have virtually zero kids who are yawning or can't keep their eyes open in class. 

5) This last contention is just as true in competition, i.e. in comparison to other hockey players. Since Bridgedale opened its doors in 2013, we have made a concerted effort to watch as many of our student-athletes’ club team games as possible. And we have been amazed by the excellent "decision-making" that the Bridgedale boys (both AAA and AA) have demonstrated at the ends of shifts. As a rule, the very first thing that goes when an athlete becomes fatigued is his ability to think clearly. And this tends to lead to poor decisions and critical turnovers, especially late in shifts and/or late in games. This is true even at the NHL level. Yet in all the games we've watched, we have yet to see a Bridgedale boy show mental fatigue (or physical fatigue for that matter), irrespective of whether it’s late in a shift or late in a game. Not once.

Bottom line: Every young player should have the opportunity to make the most of every school year, both academically and athletically. 

Bridgedale Academy offers them this opportunity!