Pros and cons of club and high school sports
Q & A on experiences with dual-sport athletes
How can students benefit from being on a school team, rather than a club team?
Athletics Director Jennifer Burks:
The benefits to being on a school team is it is tied with the education of the whole student. That’s why it is called education athletics. Part of that is that they are learning the sport, and they are also learning how sports can help them in their overall lives; help them learn leadership skills and sticking with what they are doing.
Head girl’s soccer coach John Roberts:
There’s a lot of ways they can benefit. The biggest thing, in my opinion, is you’re playing for your school, you’re playing in front of your peers. As far as playing wise, I think that the competition they play in high school is more like the collegiate level than the club level because it’s a lot more physically demanding. The high school schedule causes you to feel that physicality of the sport.
TP: What differs in terms of relationships among teammates?
Head girl’s volleyball coach Fred Mann:
“[With club teams,] there is a certain amount of unity, but with a high school team, there is a sense of family. You practice more often. Your season is three months longer and you practice every day, so there’s a common cause. It is like you are a family: you’re working together.
JB: [High school] builds a huge sense of camaraderie that is different from when you are in club. When you are in club, it is really just about the sport and that particular club. Here, you are representing an entire school… You have a student body that is behind you: thirty-five hundred kids that want you to do well.
TP: What are the downfalls of being a high school athlete who may not be able to afford to join a club team?
JB: “Club is extremely expensive, so I think in certain sports, it is difficult to get recruited or not by playing club, unless you are a really special athlete. It is unfortunate, but I understand why a lot of recruiters go to the club season: a lot of that is because during our season, they are also in season. For the club season, it is easy for them to recruit because it is not their season.
FM: “You’ve got these big clubs, and they go to these big tournaments, where the big coaches are and watching. It is tough that there are kids who cannot afford to play on these big clubs because they’re expensive, but from my experience, coaches have a way of sniffing out a player. if I’m a college coach and I hear about a kid who is a phenomenal athlete. The can’t play club or a club that doesn’t travel, they will find her.