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soonermomma

Questions for competitive sports parents...

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We are HUGE sports people. We love watching sports or going to sporting events as a family. One of my daughters is a natural athlete and is playing competitive softball. I am not kidding you when I say at 6 years old, almost 7, she is already being recruited by coaches in her age group. It's the craziest thing I have ever seen! So one of her coaches said something today about her playing high school ball (which is years and years away) and it got me thinking about a few things. We are in Oklahoma and there isn't a law here that allows you to play sports through the public schools. So, my question is, if you have a child (not saying mine will) that you think has a chance to go beyond high school sports, like playing at a college or pro level is it better to put them in public school for the sports program and to get them seen by recruiters? If so what age does that need to happen by?

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I have actually considered this. (Just in the manner of, what situations would make me consider putting DD in school.)

 

I came to the conclusion that I would consider putting DD in school for sports. There are some sports that you pretty much need to play in high school in order to play in college (I'm not sure about softball, someone else would have to speak up about that..) Also, community options for playing team sports can go away once a child reaches high school age, and 4 years of not playing would pretty much cancel out the slim chances of walking on to a college team. AND, on top of all that, scholarships are based on high school stats and what the recruiters see.

 

Given all that, if I have a child that realistically had a chance of playing college/pro sports, AND have the drive/desire, AND had strong academics, AND had strong enough morals that I would feel safe putting them in high school, I would mostly likely let them go. (That's a lot of ands. :lol:)

 

It would probably be best at the start of 9th grade. For one, because I've heard of people having trouble getting homeschool credits recognized when enrolling in public school. Also, it goes back to play time. When will community teams end? You don't want to have a large gap of two or three years in between playing, skills could be lost. Plus, recruiters don't just notice the seniors. They start looking earlier than that. I had a friend in high school who heard from football recruiters the first time our sophomore year in high school.

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It depends on the sport. Softball, baseball, basketball are primarily recruited from select/travel team tournaments. Oldest ds did not have to play his sport in high school if he didn't want to, due to the level of travel team he was on.

 

If you decide to homeschool through high school, you will need to make sure that whatever program you choose is accepted through the NCAA clearinghouse.

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I have a tennis player and a recently retired swimmer.

 

My tennis player would like to play division 1 tennis. Assuming he has no serious injuries, tha is a reasonable goal for him. Though high schools have tennis teams, kids are really recruited based on tournament play regionally and nationally. Many competitive tennis players home school. Many who attend school do not play on the school team because it is often not the best use of training time and makes travel difficult.

 

I would say though, based on my experience, to be careful about making academic decisions based on sports. It is a factor, but not the driving force - especially for a child so young. I have seen many a young prodigy lose interest or have injuries, and the landscape can be very different at 16 then it was at 6.

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. So, my question is, if you have a child (not saying mine will) that you think has a chance to go beyond high school sports, like playing at a college or pro level is it better to put them in public school for the sports program and to get them seen by recruiters? If so what age does that need to happen by?

 

For the vast majority of sports outside of football, college recruiters are not interested in high school team sports at all. In fact, many of the elite players are told by their club coaches not to play for their high school teams because the level of play is poor, and the travel coaches do not want to risk unnecessary injuries.

 

My youngest brother received a full ride to a top DIV I school for baseball. He was recruited his junior year during the summer travel baseball season. The college recruiters were not interested on iota in his regular season high school stats, only the travel league stats.

 

My two boys are high nationally ranked tennis players, and both plan on playing tennis in college. The only data point college coaches and admissions officers are interested in is a player's "star" rating. Star ratings are calculated based solely on U.S.T.A. tournaments. High school matches are irrelevant.

 

Don't be like me and let the NCAA Clearinghouse scare you. I was very concerned last year thinking that I had to use an "accredited" program in high school in order to meet the NCAA homeschooling requirements. This is not the case.

 

I was extremely relieved after speaking with the homeschooling advisor at the NCAA Clearinghouse and being told that I could continue to homeschool as I always had. You just have to make sure that the resources that you use for high school are at the high school level or above.

 

College Confidential has a sub-forum for athletic recruits that is full of useful information that you may also want to investigate.

 

Enjoy your athletic adventure with your dd!

 

ETA: Cross-post with Danestress

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So much of what Danestress said also applies to my dd. I also agree with her second paragraph. A lot can change between now and high school.

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I think that most sports have club/travel teams that could get your child just as much exposure, if not more than, a highschool team. However, I have already thought this through, not on a college recruiting level, but on a do something you love in highschool level. My conclusion is yes, I would enroll my child (thinking specifically of ds) in a good school for sports. Ds wants to play football and highschool is probably going to be his only chance, because Pop Warner happens completely on Sundays around here and that doesn't work for our family.

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Here, a player will probably not make any high school varsity team if they have not already been playing on select/club/travel teams for several years. All the sports are that competitive and athletes are expected to play year round. Recruiters can spend a weekend at a top-level select tournament and see a large pool of talent playing at a higher level of competition than watching high school ball anywhere. I am not saying a player wouldn't get recruited out of high school, but they have just as good a chance, if not better, being seen in he select system.

 

In soccer, the governing body for the top level youth select teams just made the rule that their players can no longer play high school soccer. (I am not sure if this is just in Texas.) That means the absolute elite won't be playing high school at all. I realize it's a different sport, but if playing high school sports was seen as being important for recruiting purposes, that never would have flown.

 

If she is that great of a player when she gets to high school and she continues playing in select ball, she will be seen. Choosing a club wih a decent record of sending athletes to college, that has a high ranking, playe in top tournaments, and coaches that are connected and willing to help promote players will give her a better chance if she can play at that level.

 

The cost for her to play on that kind of team from about age 12 through high school would probably come close to paying for most college educations, though, so be careful about looking at sports as a "free ride".

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I know at least one family that moved their son from private school to public for high school for this reason-he was planning to "major in football", and the private school program was not one where he'd be seen by college/pro recruiters. They left their younger daughter in private school through high school graduation, because she COULD get what she needed there.

 

My DD wants to go to a specific local high school and be on their competitive dance team (they regularly win at NDA nationals). I figure we'll cross that bridge when she comes to it. In my state, it's really hard to transfer in after 9th grade from being homeschooled because often the schools don't want to accept credits, so that would be the point at which we'd transfer her in. And if things are the same when she reaches 9th grade as they are now, dual enrollment is subsidized more for PS kids than for homeschooled ones.

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We also live in a state without a law to allow homeschoolers to play public school sports. We've already decided that my 11 year old will be going to a private prep school for high school, so that he can continue to play both hockey and baseball competitively. For us, it's preferable to having to deal with junior hockey. A friend of Dh's is an assistant coach on both teams and we're very comfortable with the school - two of my kids are actually at summer camp there right now. :)

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Holy crap I just watched that show on TLC last night-- something about cheerleading? Was filmed in Arkansas, which seems to be fertile ground for TLC--- Duggars, Toddlers and Tiaras, now this cheerleading show...

 

Anyway, to dh and I as we watched, it was just SICK how hard these parents pushed, and how much they were wrapped up in their girls' cheer "careers" to the point that they were insisting they play with injuries, etc.

 

I am just blown away by how competitive sports have become, even for very small children. Wow. I mean WOW.

 

Apologies for hijacking, OP-- just had to get that off my chest. As to your question, yes, I would, and have. Not that Molly is a star athlete, or plans on making a career of it, but we wanted her to have the experience and are fortunate that we live where we do so that a kid can have a fighting chance without having been training since birth for their sport. Small high school, pretty friendly atmosphere, not that whole killer mentality. I feel so badly for those kids who really love the sport, but are just shot down at every turn because they came to it "late" (say, at age 10 rather than age 3) or don't have the skills to be a star athlete. Doesn't mean they love it less, but they sure will learn to.... Similarly, I just forsee so many of these kids who are pushed beyond the pale to suddenly HATE their sport, and find their relationship with their parents very damaged. I find the whole industry outrageously skewed, in many instances. Six year olds having to work super hard at a sport because their high school and college career depends on it? Wow. That's an awful lot of pressure at a very young age.

 

Anyway, my very random thoughts-- YMMV. And no, I don't mean to point the finger at the OP or other posters here, or insinuate that she's ruining her child or any other such thing. As I said, my opinion/random musings.

 

astrid

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Well, softball is a sport that a) there is a strong chance even mediocre players can play college ball, and b) travel/competitive teams are where most colleges recruit from.

 

DD played with two girls who were commited to a Pac 10 team by the time they had entered high school. The scouts are at the tournaments, talking to coaches, watching the girls play from a really early age. However, that doesn't mean that's the only way she can play college ball. My dd didn't start playing competitive until she was 14 even though she'd been playing since she was 7, and was recruited off her high school team (CA doesn't allow hs to play high school sports, but we found a loophole by homeschooling through a charter school). She waited to play competitive for a couple of reasons, the most important being she didn't want to burn out. We saw soo many girls who showed promise and were hyped up when they 9, 10, 11 and played competitive from that age and stopped playing because of injury, pressure, and burnout.

 

If your dd wanted to go on to college and play then you have to be her biggest advocate regardless if she is playing at the local high school or not.

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I would suggest caution regarding some of the comments regarding high school teams not being relevant in the recruiting process. The importance of high school athletics vs club athletics varies tremendously by the sport involved, the level of the athletic institution doing the recruiting, the high school and club coaches (especially with regards to knowledge of the recruiting process and contacts), and sometimes even region.

 

Sports like swimming and gymnastics, which do not exist at many high schools as a sport, will almost universally be unaffected by participation on a high school team.

Football absolutely requires participation, and most sports fall somewhere in between.

 

While many colleges heavily utilize the travel circuits (ie AAU, etc) for part of their recruiting process in sports like baseball and basketball, there often is more communication with a player's high school program than many parents and outsiders realize. DH is heavily involved with travel athletics, and has worked with numerous players who have went on to participate in collegiate baseball and basketball, and their high school careers and coaches had a significant impact on the level each player landed at, with the exception of 3 players (all of whom were top tier D1 recruits). The players recruited at the D3/NAIA levels were most affected by their performances on their high school teams. Often players were spotted through their play on the travel circuit, but the recruitment process was directed primarily through the high school program and coach. College coaches are often forced to deal with travel coaches (again speaking primarily of basketball and AAU), but it often is a slimy business, and college coaches at the mid-tier levels and below will shy away from travel coaches when possible. If a recruit really is at the upper tier, then the AAU coaches will be involved, for better or worse.

 

DH previously worked for an organization that specialized in landing mid-tier players basketball scholarship opportunities with D2 schools and below, and while his group could do the ground work and get a kid a "look", the schools involved always wanted information on the player's high school and would track their progress during the season.

 

Baseball was similar, but the scholarship opportunities are very different (and limited), so the recruiting process was a little different.

 

The sports with less high school competition (swimming, gymnastics) or which have a more limited history in many areas (soccer), will often have better coaching at the club level in many areas, which makes the club/travel opportunities more important than the high school career.

 

Due to keep in mind though that in sports like softball and soccer, there often is no travel season during the actual high school season, which means a player not participating is missing out on contacts and the recruiting process during that time period.

 

Finally, for the OP, please ignore anyone making projections about a child that is only 6-7 years old. A lot can change in a very short time period.

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There are several high school teams here in town that are just for homeschoolers, and they play against other regular high school teams. Although those other teams are usually smaller Christian schools, but not always. I saw some of the big Catholic schools on their schedule as well.

 

I was just looking into this last night and came across an article about a girl who just went to college and is playing basketball. She was homeschooled, so that's kind of what the article was about. I just sort of skimmed it and now can't remember where it was, unfortunately!

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I have two like that. Ds11 and dd8 both play travel baseball& softball. In VA hs kids can't play for public schools, BUT there are some private schools that welcome them on their team. Usually the school is small and to be competitive they seek out talented hsers. One local homeschool senior who plays for a small Christan school had MLB teams fighting over him this spring. He signed with the Dodgers but is going to college first (full ride):D. I plan on trying that with ds next year.Middle school ball starts in 7th grade.

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I am also in Oklahoma. My ds15 plays high school baseball with a local homeschool organization. One of the seniors that just graduated received a scholarship to Baylor as a catcher. We are blessed in Oklahoma to have a venue for high school sports for homeschoolers. I know they have high school softball, football, a shooting team, tennis, and track and field in our organization. I know we have kids travel several hours to play on the teams. If you would like you can pm me and I can get you a link.o

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