The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

Organized sports played among youth participants are usually in the form of club sports or school athletic teams. It is also likely that those who participate in club sports are also members of their high school teams. Having the opportunity to represent your school at a city or provincial championship engenders a sense of school pride while creating a lasting bond among schoolmates. Clubs sports create an environment where athletes can develop in their preferred sport while competing and training at the highest level.

A competitive high school season could last up to three months depending on the sport. Club sports are usually contested year round, thus enabling athletes to train and compete on a consistent basis. The reality is that club athletes participate in the high school season while training for and competing in their chosen sport all year long. In order to avoid conflicts or putting an athlete in a difficult situation, it is important that coaches on both the club and high school level take into consideration an athletes well-being along with their athletic development.

Smart coaches are always willing to understand and evaluate situations involving their players. Being aware that an athlete is on two teams at the same time may actually help to improve the odds of winning games. It would also minimize any conflicts between the coaches and the athlete-coach relationship.

How do you manage athletes competing on both high school and club teams?

  1. Shorten practices – If they have been to one practice already, shorten practice to minimize over-training, burnouts and injuries.
  2. Manage playing time – A coach wants their best player on the court but if you’re winning by a great margin or visa versa, it’s important to rest those players who need it. Playing minutes do add up and the more tired the athlete is, the higher the chance of an injury.
  3. Rest and recovery – Players need to rest in order to recover properly. If you have a hard practice set for Monday, make sure they did not have two games over the weekend.

Both high school sports and club sports provide different aspects of sport participation. In order to get the best out of the athletes who participate at both levels of involvement, coaches have to be able to accommodate and look out for the well-being of their athletes. An athlete who is able to recover and is well-rested is always more likely to perform better.

References Available from the SIRC Collection

1. Dobosz R, Beaty L. The Relationship Between Athletic Participation and High School Student’s Leadership Ability. Adolescence. Spring99 1999;34(133):215.

2. Guan J, Ping X, McBride R, Keating X. Achievement Goals, Social Goals, and Students’ Reported Persistence and Effort in High School Athletic Settings. Journal Of Sport Behavior. June 2013;36(2):149-170.

3. Harrison Z. TOPIC: HIGH SCHOOL VS CLUB SWIMMING CONFLICTS OR CHOICE. ASCA Newsletter. June 2012;2012(6):12-15.

4. Howie L, Lukacs S, Pastor P, Reuben C, Mendola P. Participation in Activities Outside of School Hours in Relation to Problem Behavior and Social Skills in Middle Childhood. Journal Of School Health. March 2010;80(3):119-125.

5. Mattila V, Parkkari J, Koivusilta L, Kannus P, Rimpel A. Participation in sports clubs is a strong predictor of injury hospitalization: a prospective cohort study. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports. April 2009;19(2):267-273.

6. THOMPSON T. LETTER TO EDITOR HIGH SCHOOL VS CLUB SWIMMING. ASCA Newsletter. September 2012;2012(9):18-20.