High School Vs. Club Sports-Which is Right For You?

The Yorba Linda High School’s Women’s Basketball team celebrating their great win in the 1st round CIF game.

YLHS Women’s Basketball

The Yorba Linda High School’s Women’s Basketball team celebrating their great win in the 1st round CIF game.

Giana Mejia, Photojournalist

There has always been a widely discussed topic: high school sports or club sports. While both options have great advantages and disadvantages to them, it’s important to take into account your goals for your athletic career. The different exposure, college recruiting, coaches, price range, and competition are all things to be considered when comparing both options.

 

At the beginning of every athlete’s career, the player and their parents choose whether they will play club or not. Club sports are competitive teams that often travel to play in high-level tournaments. Depending on the club, it can help train you for college recruiters who often attend tournaments for scouting. Club sports are more focused on developing players to play more in the future, whereas high schools focus on making it to playoffs and states. High school sports still focus on improving players, but in club sports, there is no main goal, so they mostly work on the skills of the individuals and as a team.

 

Another point to consider is that club sports last all year long, while high school sports only last for a season. Committing to a team all year long requires much dedication. Many club teams are expensive, so it is a large devotion to show up and train weekly for a year. In high school, teams may train during the off-season, but it’s typically working out to stay in shape rather than actual training.

 

Considering the competition and exposure, the high school team competes more locally, which lacks exposure to different competitions and players. However, it can be better for competing since teams are placed in divisions that best fit them. This makes the actual playing aspect of it a better experience because teams aren’t just winning easily or being quickly blown out. Clubs typically compete in different tournaments, where some teams can win extremely easily, so the games seem almost unfair.

 

Some high school athletes feel pressured to join club sports from the fear of falling behind or being seen as less skilled. Club sports are not for everyone and can be very stressful for young athletes. Since it requires lots of time and constantly traveling, it can cause players to fall behind or miss school. Since players are demanded a lot and put under high expectations, it can cause players to lose confidence or feel overwhelmed.

In high school sports, it is easy for your sport to become your identity, but it also shows a sense of school pride. However, in club, it provides an opportunity to play for college coaches, but the expectations are higher and are more cutthroat.”

— Nikki Villanueva (12)

 

Typically, student-athletes play club when their high school sport isn’t in season, so they don’t have to just choose one; however, playing both can be very time-consuming, and it requires dedication to the sport. Nikki Villanueva (12) notes, “In high school sports, it is easy for your sport to become your identity, but it also shows a sense of school pride. However, in club, it provides an opportunity to play for college coaches, but the expectations are higher and are more cutthroat.” If you plan to play at a higher level like college or professionally, a majority of college athletes report that they played club sports (NCSA Sports). Club sports are still a good experience and provide different opportunities for players even if they don’t want to play in college. However, since it’s such a big commitment, playing in high school is still a great opportunity for players. They are able to play on a team with their classmates and compete in games applicable to their level. If their team does well, they can make it to the playoffs and eventually make it to state. This is a reward that is not available in club sports. Whether it is playing in a club or high school, it’s best to look at the big picture and determine what best fits you.