School Sports vs. Club Sports
School Sports vs. Club Sports. U8 soccer club teams are commonplace these days. In our rush to specialize, kids have started playing club sports at younger and younger ages. When my middle daughter was in 6th grade, she was in her first year of club soccer and she desperately wanted to play for her middle school team as well. It felt like a lot of soccer to me and I was worried about the toll it would take on her body. At the time it seemed impossible to fathom how we could fit anymore practices or games into her very busy schedule. She eventually wore me down and I allowed her to do both, at the same time.
And it turned out to be a great decision.
She and two of her buddies made the 6-8th grade team and it was one of the best experiences she’s ever had.
I should also note, we are fortunate to have an amazing club coach who supported his team playing school sports and told the kids to choose their middle school soccer game over their club practices when they overlapped.
Here are 7 benefits of playing school and club sports
1. SKILLS/ENDURANCE INCREASED: Kids played soccer twice as much for almost two months, so their skills noticeably improved and they had more endurance.
2. CONFIDENCE BOOST: For my 6th grader and her friends, making a team that included good 7th and 8th grade players was not an easy feat.
3. PLAYING NEW POSITIONS: They were able to try positions they don’t typically get to play on their club team.
4. INCREASED PHYSICALITY: They had to play against a lot of 8th graders, which increased their mental and physical toughness and now the bigger and stronger girls their own age don’t seem very big or strong.
5. PRIDE OF SCHOOL: It becomes a more personal event when your classmates and peers can watch you play and you get to experience something along with them that you’re passionate about.
6. NEW FRIENDSHIPS: Playing with older or younger girls created bonds and friendships with different kids from their school that they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.
7. MENTORS: For my 6th grader, one of the best experiences was getting to know the older players. They were supportive and kind and became great role models and mentors to my daughter and her friends. Something I hope she will do for the younger players next year.