Our school has many student athletes who keep up with the fast-moving pace of school as well as their athletic careers; however, many of our student athletes train and practice extensively for their sport by participating in not only school sports teams, but also out-of-school sports teams.
Although students practice the same sport within school as well as out of school, there are distinct differences between practices, as sophomore varsity lacrosse player Samantha Diadema who also plays for her out-of-school club team, the Barracudas, explained.
“Depending on what kind of travel team you play for, [club sports] will get more intense because you are playing in front of college coaches for recruiting,” Diadema said.
In out-of-school sports teams, more commonly known as club teams, students compete in showcases and tournaments where college coaches usually scout and recruit high schoolers for their college sports teams.
Junior varsity soccer player Gabrielle Scarlett who also plays for her club team, South Florida Football Academy, agrees that club sports are very demanding. Scarlett has been playing soccer for thirteen years and has recently committed to Northeastern University for soccer as well as became apart of the Jamaican National Soccer Team.
“Club soccer is a lot more intense because most of the girls I play against have been playing soccer their whole lives,” Scarlet said. . . . “People get recruited in club more than in high school so it adds more pressure on the player.”
Mrs. Karen Stearns, the athletic director for Heritage, and Coach Aven, the baseball coach, expanded on the difficulty of handling in school sports as well as out of school sports. They explained that soccer is a unique sport in that “[Soccer] tends to run their seasons almost parallel [to the college soccer season],” Mrs. Stearns said, which means that during the off season for school soccer (while club soccer still continues) scouts tend to come and look more at the club soccer teams since their season is off as well.
“It’s really difficult for those student athletes to juggle this because it’s a big toll on their body first of all, and a difficult time commitment having both of their coaches, their club coach and school coach, trying to work really closely together to make up work for them,” Mrs. Stearns continued.
In school and out-of-school sports teams both require immense amounts of dedication and work. If an athlete plays on an in-school team in addition to their club team, it just gives them more opportunities to eventually become scouted.
Junior varsity baseball player David (Kolbe) Aven who also plays for his club baseball team, Elite Squad, believes school sports requires more time and dedication than club sports.
“There is definitely more commitment and pressure in school because we practice five days a week and want to go as far as we can. However, for the out-of-school team, which is during the summer, the games are more laid back,” said Aven.
Although Aven knows there are more college recruitment opportunities in club sports, he still acknowledges that in-school sports play a large roll in appealing to colleges as well.
“[Baseball] is tied in together, and what I mean by that is if you go out and scouts see you in a showcase and like you, they will only see you for that one weekend so you may do well, but if you come back and don’t lift, don’t run, and don’t play as much and then you go and struggle in high school . . . that will cost you your scholarship. I’ve seen it . . . and even after they have signed, there’s ways for these colleges to get rid of you. So at the end of the day this is about the athlete.” Coach Aven said.
High school baseball has similar schedules as college baseball; therefore, during the off season for school baseball, high school baseball players go to showcases and tournaments with many other schools in order to be seen by scouts, Coach Aven explained.
Scarlett agrees that playing for in-school sports teams is stressful as well.
“There comes the pressure of winning every game because, if you lose a game, that could affect you making it to regionals or states,” Scarlett said.
Some students might have certain preferences on how they want to dedicate their time to either in school sports or club sports; however, the extra practice and playtime in both school and out-of-school sports make positive contributions towards student athletes’ sports careers.