The Importance of Playing on a High School Team

It may be more common in certain sports, but there are many athletes who choose not to play on their high school team in order to find a "better" route to their goals. I advise against this. I believe it's very important to play on your high school team. Before I explain why, let's go over the reasons why an athlete may decide not to play on their high school team.

It is common in tennis and golf, where kids decide to train with their personal coach or at an academy, and play in national tournaments instead of playing for their high school. They do this mainly because they believe their high school teammates, coaches, and competition aren't good enough for them. They think it wastes their time. They think it's more efficient for them to train and compete outside of high school.

Basketball players often think the same way and decide to focus more on their AAU team than their high school team. Likewise, some football players care more about camps and 7 on 7 leagues than their high school team.

Whether they do it for more efficient training or for recruiting attention, athletes who place less value on their high school team miss out on the many benefits of high school sports.

For one, by not playing on your high school team (or not caring about it as much), you lose out on the camaraderie and pride of being a part of a team that represents your school and community. High school is supposed to be a fun time in your life, you shouldn't miss this opportunity to create great memories and friendships.

Some people may argue though, that chasing their goals of becoming a college or pro athlete is worth sacrificing the fun memories of being on a high school team. They may argue that they have to forgo high school sports in order to reach their goals. However, I don't believe this is true. In fact, I believe playing high school sports actually helps you reach long term goals better than not playing high school sports. This is for two reasons.

First of all, being a part of a high school team improves your social skills. By playing high school sports, you'll become a more well-rounded person with better interpersonal skills, which will help you in college and for the rest of your life.

Secondly, playing on a high school team improves your leadership skills. College and pro coaches don't just want talented players. They want talented players who are also great teammates and leaders. They don't want players who only care about themselves or who have less experience with being a part of a team.

I believe the benefits of playing on a high school team outweigh the negatives. The gains you make as a leader and as an overall person outweigh the deficiencies that may come with high school sports. But ideally, you should find a way to gain the benefits of high school sports while also maintaining efficient training. You should still greatly care about your high school team, but if you can find ways to improve outside of your high school team that doesn't cause conflict with your high school team, that's fine.

I admit, for some athletes this is impossible. Perhaps their high school teammates, coaches, and competition are too bad and it isn't worth it. Depending on the situation, then it is sometimes better to not play on your high school team, but in most cases, it's best to play high school sports.

If you've been thinking about not playing on your high school team, I hope this makes you reconsider. If you already play on a high school team, I hope this makes you appreciate high school sports more and motivates you to get the most out of it!

Comments