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Club Sports – Competitive and Travel Teams

There are always a few players who stand out, players who have a real passion for the game and love to play and win. How do athletes and/or parents know when it’s time to move up and play in a more competitive sports league?

  • The player has a high interest level in a particular sport and practices on her own or with friends

  • The player is the best or one of the best on her team and seems bored with the recreational competition level

  • The player sees higher-level players and wants to be like them

  • The player is mature enough to commit to more frequent practices and more strenuous training

  • The player likes competition

The rule of thumb is, let your gut guide you. Don’t push an athlete into trying out for a competitive team just because you want it. Some players are ready as early as age eight and some aren’t ready to move up until age 13 or 14.

Talk about the opportunity and gauge you or your child’s feelings about tryouts. There is always a risk that you/she won’t make the team. Find out what your/her commitment level is. Is the response, “If I don’t make the team, I’ll quit” or is it “If I don’t make the cut, I’ll find another team”?

An athlete should also understand that she is trying out by herself. Her best friend may not make the team. If she’s trying out because others want to, make sure she’s really ready. Sometimes a group or team wants to move up together. Some players may be ready while others aren’t. This situation often results in an unproductive and frustrating experience for both the players and the parents.

What will be asked of the player and the parents?

  • Regular attendance at all practices and games. If a player cannot attend, she should notify the coach as soon as possible.

  • Players need to arrive ON TIME.

  • Proper attire. Higher-level athletes dress accordingly.

  • Responsibility for equipment and uniforms. Players should learn to take care of their equipment and uniforms and bring them when required.

  • Financial responsibility. Parents should budget in the extra costs and take care of expenses in a timely manner. Most teams present a list of costs to the team at the time of registration. Some teams get sponsorships and fundraising to provide financial help to some families or to help defray costs.

  • Maintain standards of behavior. Players and parents must control their actions and words. The level of play in competition becomes more physical as players move through the age groups and skill levels. Players must learn to keep their emotions under control on the field. Parents must remain calm and allow the coaches to address any issues with players and referees.

  • Have fun. Even though competitive teams emphasize league standings over fun, if players aren’t enjoying the sport anymore because of the pressure, it may be time to go back to recreational play.


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