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Prepnet / Speak Out

October 17, 2000

How should high school coaches handle team members who are also playing club sports?

KRISTIN THAWLEY

Irvine, Basketball

Having a lot of experience with this issue, I believe a high school coach should be flexible with players who choose to play club. After all, it's not because the player doesn't like his or her coaching or isn't happy with the team; it's because this person has a desire to get better. High school coaches should embrace and encourage the player to compete at the highest level possible, not chain them to only the high school team. Most of all, the coach should realize the tremendous things that playing club can do for a young athlete. Not only does it make your overall skills and game better, but it opens up college opportunities and scholarships. High school coaches should examine the big picture and realize that for one or two players on a team to play club may not necessarily be the best thing for the entire team, but it's the best thing for those individuals. And as those individuals get better, so will the team.

GABRIELLA SHEFFIELD

Edison, Cross-Country, Soccer;

North Huntington Beach Soccer Club

Coaches on school teams should let players leave early for their club practices, especially if it is the same sport. If they are not leaving to go to the same sport, then they should have to practice with their school team as long as everybody else does. It is only fair because it is the athlete's choice to play two sports.

JACQUELYN FIORENTINO

Sunny Hills, Soccer

High school coaches should make concessions depending on the individual circumstances. An athlete should not be penalized for wanting and being able to play several sports.

CLINT STARK

Kennedy, Golf Coach

It is necessary to have a total commitment from an athlete. As long as the club schedule does not interfere with my schedule and the athlete understands that the sport in season takes precedence, then I have no problem. I cannot have an athlete on the team that picks and chooses when he/she will participate for us. You cannot maintain team discipline like that.

SHARI CROWELL

Edison, Cross-Country, Soccer Booster

My daughter was very up front with [her club and high school] coaches and picked premier club soccer over varsity cross-country, but never misses either practice. Her cross-country coach is supportive and my daughter makes all league meets and any invitationals that don't conflict with soccer.

DAVE WARD

Laguna Beach, Parent

Club sports programs are more demanding and the standard of competition is higher than that of high school sports. Obviously, the high school coaches have an obligation to their school and those students who are 100% dedicated to the school program. However, individual students have to think about what they enjoy most, what is best in their long-term plans and what their prospects might be for recognition by recruiting colleges who visit club as well as high school events.

PETER WEST

Orange County Volleyball Club;

Former Mater Dei Volleyball Coach

Students should have the opportunity to participate in as many activities as their schedules will allow, whether it be other sports programs, academic groups, clubs or social activities. Both high school coaches and club sports coaches need to respect each other's programs and the demands that are put on the athletes. Teams rely on their players to be accountable to their programs, and to place an athlete in a "no-win" situation is not fair to that person. If compromise is not an option, either program might lose that athlete. It is a choice that every coach and athlete must make.

TOM DUGGAN

Private Elementary Vice Principal;

Former Edison Baseball Coach

Either commit or quit is the line [high school] coaches should follow. Club soccer . . . disrupts cross-country and field hockey in the fall, track and baseball in the spring and probably every other sport. You have these egomaniac coaches filling kids with the idea that the only way they can get a scholarship is through their "elite team." Believe me, if the kid has talent, college coaches or professional scouts will find him or her.

ERIC HAINLINE

Santa Ana, Fan

Why should club sport obligations be singled out over any other extracurricular activity? What if the student has a conflict between drama rehearsals and private dance competitions? The correct decision should always be that high school participation in a group activity should never be compromised to the extent that it affects the potential success of the team.

JOE REUTER

Burbank, Teacher

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