Considering other issues raised on the forum over time, are high school sports worth it?
I wish we had some dad opinions on here – some of them seem to feel very strongly about athletics in general. What about moms who were high school athletes? Can you share how you feel about it and how you’d handle it with your homeschooled kids?
The time commitment it grueling. The experience isn’t particularly positive. So is it worth it? How do you make that judgement for your child?
I’m not a sports girl – I don’t get it at all – and I recognize I need other perspectives. I didn’t grow up in a really sporty family either. Lots of nerds and introverts! I’d be so happy if you all shared your experiences with high school sports and in particular boy’s high school sports.sarah2106Participant
Only you can know if it is “worth it” for your family. For our family we do like sports. I grew up being homeschooled but swimming on the city team as well as the public highschool team. It went well for me swimming on the highschool team, but will my kids follow that path… likely not.
I much prefer private, city, or “club” sports. I feel that the commitment level is more positive, from parents and athletes. I also feel that because more parental involvement and commitment from the athletes there seem to be less “issues”. There will always be “issues,” people are people, and some a bit too “intense” but over all I prefer the non school related athletic activities.
I feel there is a lot to learn from athletics! Self discipline, how to win and loose graciously, how to encourage team mates, work together even if you don’t want to, challenging and pushing yourself even when it is hard, completing what is hard, the lifelong physical benefits of learning exercise can be fun… So many lessons that have helped me as an adult were learned when I was young on a team in the pool. 🙂
Yes, some groups are very competitive, but if you keep looking there are so many options. At a local church in our area there is a couple who are both experts in taekwondo. They run classes for kids through adults, starting each class with prayer and Biblical devotionals (not just brief but 15-20 minutes talking on the Biblical topic), they talk often of learning self control so that God can better use us where he gifts us, they give 75% of the paid fees to specific missionary groups… but when it comes down to competitions they are fierce competitors. They have a great balance of competition but not too “intense”.
My husband played sports in highschool (basketball and soccer) and his experiences were quite positive, but we also know that school now is often quite different than school then, and also varies by area a lot! My nieces play sports through their schools and it has been very positive. They also play club level sports, so often the highschool team is not as good as what they are used to, but even that has been positive because it has taught them that even if their team is not the “best” that they have to encourage and help each other and that even if not winning they can still have a lot of fun and learn a lot!
I really enjoy sports, as does my husband, so our kids participate, for us it is worth it; but works for one family is not the solution for all families 🙂sarah2106Participant
As for time commitment it can also vary a lot!
Some sports have crazy schedules but only for 3 or 4 months, some are year round, but not as intense year round it also depends at what level the athlete wants to compete at.
Growing up I spent 10-12 hours per/week at the pool year round. Some of the elite swimmers spent 20-30 hours/week at the pool year round (they were swimming for nationals and college scholarships). Some kids who swam only for the highschool team swam 6 hours/week for 3 months and then were done for the season and would return for 3 months the next year.
Other sports are similar. Some people do them year round, others do them for a season.
About cost, I have found that can depend on region. In our area swimming is a less expensive sport, but where one of my siblings lives it is $$ sport. Soccer is also very affordable in our area and requires very little gear investment, flag football is a lot of fun too and does not have much of an investment in gear because it is not contact.living4truthParticipantjeaninpaParticipant
We’ve been fortunate to have the option of homeschool athletics for our kids. They’ve been involved in soccer, basketball, track and volleyball. The coaches have been parent volunteers. It has been a HUGE blessing to us, and I can honestly say that it would have been difficult to get through the teen years without it. Our boys especially, needed the physical activity and needed the impetus to come from someone else.
Now, if I would have had to put them into environments where the influences from both coaches and teammates would have been detrimental, I’d have to think long and hard about that.missceegeeParticipant
Claire, we’re contemplating letting dd14 try out for the local hs baseball team for next year. Up til now, he has played either Rec or travel ball successfully. I have mixed feeling about playing for a ps. Our ds8 also plays ball for two teams. Both boys are very talented, but not superstars.
Some random thoughts
- My boys NEEDS lots of physical exercise. They play outside daily. They have chores, but organized baseball is a different kind of outlet.
- My boys are very competitive and want to excel.
- I DO believe organized sports have value. Leadership. Discipline. Fitness. Just to name a few. Yes there are other options, but this works.
- I DO NOT mind competitive sports. Competition isn’t evil. Some folks go too far in both directions. DS disliked playing for coaches who were all about “participation” and so did we as parents. We’ve all seen an over the top competitive coach/kid/parent. This can be ugly. In travel ball, there have been teams that cheat or lie about players ages (we played a 13u team once where 3/4 of the players were pushing 6’+ and 180 lbs with full beards. I’m sure the majority were 15+ unless they flew giant man boys in from all over.). But there is even value in those things. People do cheat. And lie. And steal. And ___. None of that is in our control, but our reaction and actions are.
- DS currently has a coach who knows baseball but doesn’t look at the stats. DS should be higher in batting order, playing a different position, but a “favorite boy” of the coach has that spot despite not earning it. Lesson – keep playing hard and do your best because your actions aren’t dependent on theirs. It’s frustrating and may lead to not playing for this team again, but while there DS will do his best. That’s teamwork in action.
- Yes sports take time. So do music, art, cooking. Whatever. We just have to choose what we’re willing to spend ours on.
- Pickup games of ball do not exist any longer where we live. It’s sad, but true. So if you want to play baseball, organized sports are the only option.
- I read the linked blog and can agree with some points, but not all. Entertainment figures aren’t always great role models, but my boys don’t play bc of them nor look at them as life role models. They enjoy the entertainment. Perspective matters.
- That blogging mom has 14 kids so her experience will in most ways not resemble mine with 4. She had a child with cancer, that, of course, colors her experience in a way that I can’t imagine. It would be extremely challenging or even borderline impossible to have so many kids involved in a team sport or an individual one, I’d guess.
- our family does not participate in social media – fb, snapchat, etc. that will not change until my kids are adults. However, they have seen friends with it and honestly don’t want to participate any longer. Coaches have managed to get info to us without it just fine.
The bottom line for me, personally, is I like control. Am I willing to give up a bit for a hs team? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll have to decide soon. I do see many positives along with the negatives.
We are not extremely athletic, but a couple of my dds have gotten very involved with ballet. At higher levels, it can be 3 or more days per week. I have pretty much let them set the pace–if they want to, I try to make a way for them to do it, and for those who didn’t, I didn’t force it. There have been natural times to drop out for those who wanted to, and times when they had to push through because it would let everyone down if they stopped then. I consider it good exercise and they learn a lot in various situations with it, but I don’t consider it worth forcing if a teen isn’t interested.
Wow, I appreciate ALL these perspectives. Thanks everyone.
I do not know what we will do next year regarding our participation in the high school lacrosse team here. We certainly will participate in club sports in the fall. In our experience this past year there is a WORLD of difference between those two types of organized sports.
I agree with those who find value, for boys especially, in organized sports. Our son has played almost year round since elementary school in one sport or another. He’s athletic and happiest when he’s physically pushed outside his comfort zones.
It may sound really silly to admit here, but for the sake of others and honesty, I will – this high school sport participation really stressed me out. I developed physical symptoms, which I have NEVER done before, because of the stress related to it. I’m so embarrassed to admit it. I think this fact weighs heavily on my thoughts for next year.
To be fair, not all programs in public high schools are run the way this one is. This program is fairly new (less than 10 years old) and suffers with a lot of things – contract coaches who are not school system employees; a lack of experience on the part of the coaches in working with high school boys; disorganization in relaying information timely and consistently to parents and players alike; a very loosely structured boosters (parent) organization that lacked coordinated organization; the use of social media apps by players to communicate team details to other players; poor relations and communication between the school’s athletic director and coaches, players and parents.
We shall see … I’m glad to be done for a while.
I should say too that TIME wasn’t our issue per say. It was environment, influence, organization, atmosphere, etc. We get that sports take time from our history with sports and we’re okay with that aspect.missceegeeParticipant
Claire, I have no wisdom. My ds14 wants to play baseball for the local high school next year in 9th grade. He’s played baseball since he was 4 in both fall and spring and currently plays travel ball. He’s super athletic and good, but not superstar good. I have the same concerns as we consider it. My understanding thus far is that the coaching is good and we do know a number of kids at the school, but I’m still wavering.BenitaParticipant
Two of our daughters have taken ballet for years. They are usually the only homeschoolers and all of the other girls go to public school. They are now in company level and dance about 15 or more hours a week. They also travel about 4 times a year to festivals. My oldest has gone out of state for parts of the summer twice to attend intensives. Last year she lived in D.C. at the campus of American University for 5 weeks and took the metro everyday and did her own shopping while attending The School of the Washington Ballet. She was 17 then. My younger one has danced at some other studios in state in the summer and has met lots of other girls from different schools.
I feel like we have given them foundations and worldview and these experiences are part of preparing for true cultural engagement when they are off on their own. This way they are still under our protection and influence and they are slowing wading in. I feel like these “dry runs” will prepare them to be less shocked and more able to handle the culture they will eventually be released into. I do not claim to know if this is truly the best for everyone. All kids are different and can handle different things. I do know that my teens and young adults are doing okay at engaging the culture and while we have our moments, they are really solid in their beliefs and their values.
I hope this encourages someone. I do think the key is in laying a good foundation many years ahead of this transition.
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