The Phillips Academy is one of the founding members of the Bay Area Non Public Schools Sports League. Our sports and physical education program provides students with productive and interactive opportunities to improve self-esteem, social interactions, sportsmanship, teamwork, and leadership skills in a safe and comfortable environment.  Sports practiced and played include basketball, flag football, softball, soccer and cheer, all of which help our students experience the challenges and joys of participating in teams. Every student earns the privilege of joining a team by demonstrating good sportsmanship.


Athletic and Physical Education Program offered to 6-12th grade students:

Fall Season

  • Soccer (coed)

  • Flag football  (coed)                                       

  • Cheer

Winter Season

  • Basketball (coed)

Spring Season   

  • Softball (coed)

  • Cheer


The Phillips Academy regularly competes with other non-public schools. Throughout the year, students participate in games and tournaments. Team sports gives our students the opportunity to develop collaborative skills, while reducing stress and generating school spirit and a sense of community. Parents also join in the fun as they cheer for the home team! 


The Phillips Academy is building a robust sports program because sports allow students to build and demonstrate strong motor skills, strategies, and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities to maintain a level of physical fitness to improve health and performance throughout their lives. Sports program students are required to learn physical fitness concepts, principles, psychological and sociological concepts, and strategies that apply to the practice of physical activity. Our goal is to instill in our students a lifelong appreciation for sports, teamwork, and camaraderie.


Sports and Children with Special Needs

All children, including those with special needs, can benefit from the exercise, energy release, and pure enjoyment of playing sports. About 18% of children in the U.S. have a disability or chronic condition. Special needs children are sometimes not encouraged to exercise because their parents or guardians fear they'll be hurt. But physical activity is as important for special needs children as it is for any child.

Participating in sports can help instill a sense of self-confidence and improve skills in relationship building and working as part of a team. Further, physical activity helps in weight management – a common problem among today's children and teens.

Benefits of Regular Physical Activity are Many:

  • Better overall fitness

  • Improved cognitive benefits

  • Better control of weight

  • Healthier bone density

  • Better emotional and psychological health

  • Improved social skills

  • Improved motor skills

  • Improved self-esteem

  • Reduced risk for diseases such as diabetes


Types of sports for Special Needs Children

Just about any sport or activity can be modified to allow special needs children to get the cardiovascular, flexibility, and strength-training benefits that allow kids to stay healthy and fit. Children in a wheelchair, for instance, can play basketball or tennis. Children without the use of limbs or those with mental disabilities can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding.

Sports and activities especially good for special needs children include:

  • Swimming

  • Bicycling

  • Soccer

  • Football

  • Handball

  • Gymnastics

  • Bocce

  • Weightlifting


Some sports don't need any modification. For instance, the buoyancy felt in the water while swimming offers a sense of freedom for wheelchair-bound children. Other activities can be modified to make them a better fit. Therapeutic riding programs can help children learn to ride a horse with proper instruction. These programs use special devices to keep children safe, whatever their special needs might be. Competition-level participation is available, as well, with a variety of wheelchair sports teams and leagues. Also, the Special Olympics network of games and competitions are available to enthusiastic athletes.

Getting Started with Sports

Parents of special needs children should encourage participation in sports and physical activity in general. Don't approach sports as something they can't do, but rather guide them toward participating in sports in which they can enjoy while achieving a sense of success.

See to it that your child gets a complete physical exam to be certain that he or she is healthy enough to play the desired sport. Also make sure that the coach understands your child's disability. He or she needs to know how it might affect the way your child plays or takes instruction. Parental insight helps the coach properly communicate and work with each child to make sports participation the positive, safe, and healthy experience it should be. 


Medical Reviewers:
Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Moloney, Amanda Jane (Johns), PA-C, MPAS, BBA