As a dad, one of my greatest pleasures was watching my son play high school water polo. I wish it had lasted forever.
It didn’t…and it didn’t even end well. It was one of my most frustrating experiences too.
High school sports can be a great experience for kids and parents. For most kids it’s the end of their organized athletic career.
Sure, there are adult leagues and masters programs. And I wish there were more opportunities for more adults would play.
And there is Junior College sports teams. As a former community college coach, I think it’s a great alternative.
But what can you do to help your child play high school sports? They are extremely competitive and they do cut players. There’s no guarantee that your kid will play…or even make the team.
I spoke to one parent whose son was a pony league all-star. And yet his junior year in high school he couldn’t make the varsity baseball team. That’s some serious competition!
Here are the three keys to playing high school sports:
The Competitiveness of the School
A lot of the success of playing high school sports depends on what school you go to. Some schools are very competitive. Others are starving for athletes.
It doesn’t matter if the school is private or public. I know of extremely competitive schools in both categories in Cthe Bay Area. And the same goes on the other end.
So depending on the skills of your child, pick the appropriate school if you can.
The Sport Your Child Plays
Some sports are crazy difficult to play. Basketball and baseball are always extremely competitive for the boys. And depending on the schools all the other sports can be as well. For the girls, softball and soccer stand out as extremely competitive to me.
Sports teams that are less popular tend to be easier to make. As a water polo coach we would take every athlete that tried out. Even if they could barely swim!
And some sports can take more numbers than others. Swimming, cross country and track and field usually field a lot of athletes. They are less likely to cut athletes.
Wrestling is another one. It’s not a huge youth sport and it’s very difficult. Not every kid is going to want to workout as hard as they do. And it’s only for boys. (OK, there are some female wrestlers but they are very rare.)
So, if your child isn’t able to play the sport they were raised on, try something else. The skills they learned playing youth sports will carry them well on to any sport they choose.
The bottom line is that coaches play a big part in who gets to make the team and participate. Coaches that are focused mostly on winning and success on the field tend not to keep kids that can’t help them win. (Many college coaches are the same way, so be prepared if you’re thinking scholarships.)
Coaches that realize the importance of sport to the development and education of every child will typically find a place for almost every athlete.
We kept kids that could barely swim and had no chance of becoming successful water polo players. But they did improve, learned a lot and had fun. I am sure that they will remember their experience for their entire lives.
I think it was extremely worth while.
Remember when I said that my son’s high school experience didn’t end well. Maybe I was wrong.
Last night over dinner, he talked about how much he loved playing water polo. He talked about how he missed it.
I’m so glad. That was the best thing he could have said.
I hope your child gets to play high school sports.I hope they have an incredible time.