The Case Against School-based Sports
02/12/2014 3:30:27 PM
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We had a thread on her last year about whether clubs would someday displace school-based sports that was interesting. The article linked below discusses whether youth sports SHOULD be in schools. It's kind of long, but it's interesting and worth a read. Thoughts? [url=http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/the-case-against-high-school-sports/309447/]The Case Against High School Sports[/url]
We had a thread on her last year about whether clubs would someday displace school-based sports that was interesting. The article linked below discusses whether youth sports SHOULD be in schools. It's kind of long, but it's interesting and worth a read. Thoughts?

The Case Against High School Sports
02/12/2014 11:24:19 PM
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I can definitely understand how removing sports from schools would re-establish a greater emphasis on academics (as it should be). However, the one thing that a lot of the articles never say is that we (the USA) is almost the only country in the world that tries to educate every single kid in pretty much the same way (we think they should all go to college, etc.) However, most all of the other countries mentioned in the article do NOT do that same. Many of them have different tests or standards that have to be met for a student to continue in their education. IN other words, if you don't perform high enough on certain exams or in certain areas, you don't go on to the the upper level of high schools or go on to college....you learn a trade or go to an apprenticeship, etc. If we even did this, our grad rates would go up. We constantly compare ALL of our students to their CREAM OF THE CROP. If you look at the BASIS schools that were mentioned, we scored just as good or better. This is because of it being some of our top kids, not just every kid that walks in the door. I hope this makes sense. I think that there are other things in our education system that cause us issues besides sports. I do completely understand that sports are very expensive though. That part made a TON of sense.
I can definitely understand how removing sports from schools would re-establish a greater emphasis on academics (as it should be). However, the one thing that a lot of the articles never say is that we (the USA) is almost the only country in the world that tries to educate every single kid in pretty much the same way (we think they should all go to college, etc.) However, most all of the other countries mentioned in the article do NOT do that same. Many of them have different tests or standards that have to be met for a student to continue in their education. IN other words, if you don't perform high enough on certain exams or in certain areas, you don't go on to the the upper level of high schools or go on to college....you learn a trade or go to an apprenticeship, etc. If we even did this, our grad rates would go up. We constantly compare ALL of our students to their CREAM OF THE CROP. If you look at the BASIS schools that were mentioned, we scored just as good or better. This is because of it being some of our top kids, not just every kid that walks in the door. I hope this makes sense. I think that there are other things in our education system that cause us issues besides sports. I do completely understand that sports are very expensive though. That part made a TON of sense.
02/13/2014 10:53:11 AM
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@BCrumbo It is definitely an interesting conversation. I often think of the argument from the angle of scholastic sports vs. club sports, which one will win the long run. But this article considers scholastic sports vs. scholastic academics, which is honestly probably the more appropriate conversation for educators. There is momentum for school sports in the US because they own such a large percent of athletic facilities and have traditionally included the most well-prepared coaches. It will be interesting to see if more schools make these kinds of decisions there will be a chipping away of the validity of scholastic sports. If more school sports die off, then state federations will lose strength and more club alternatives will arrive. Time will tell. Traditions are strong, but they aren't what they once were. Soccer, basketball, and many other sports already have examples of quality athletes operating outside of the school system. Mary Cain, while an unusual talent, withdrew from the traditional system long before she had too. Several other top kids (Alana Hadley and I recall another top female XC runner from Foot Locker South who did not compete in school season). I know in the Nashville area quite a few of the top distance kids work out primarily with a club coach but still compete for their school. The culture shifts... The shame is that opportunities lost will happen most frequently at the low socioeconomic end and in sports that have a tendency to be secondary.
@BCrumbo

It is definitely an interesting conversation. I often think of the argument from the angle of scholastic sports vs. club sports, which one will win the long run. But this article considers scholastic sports vs. scholastic academics, which is honestly probably the more appropriate conversation for educators.

There is momentum for school sports in the US because they own such a large percent of athletic facilities and have traditionally included the most well-prepared coaches. It will be interesting to see if more schools make these kinds of decisions there will be a chipping away of the validity of scholastic sports. If more school sports die off, then state federations will lose strength and more club alternatives will arrive.

Time will tell. Traditions are strong, but they aren't what they once were. Soccer, basketball, and many other sports already have examples of quality athletes operating outside of the school system. Mary Cain, while an unusual talent, withdrew from the traditional system long before she had too. Several other top kids (Alana Hadley and I recall another top female XC runner from Foot Locker South who did not compete in school season). I know in the Nashville area quite a few of the top distance kids work out primarily with a club coach but still compete for their school.

The culture shifts...

The shame is that opportunities lost will happen most frequently at the low socioeconomic end and in sports that have a tendency to be secondary.
02/13/2014 11:20:19 AM
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Here's why articles like this can often sound like sensationalized nonsense. The article tells us that US kids are more obsessed with sports than their foreign counterparts, and yet we're also told that US kids are more obese than their foreign counterparts. Anyone can create faulty generalizations by cherrypicking from the extremes.
Here's why articles like this can often sound like sensationalized nonsense. The article tells us that US kids are more obsessed with sports than their foreign counterparts, and yet we're also told that US kids are more obese than their foreign counterparts. Anyone can create faulty generalizations by cherrypicking from the extremes.
02/13/2014 12:45:34 PM
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@theMike You make a very good point about facilities. In fact, I would say that maintenance and access to facilities is one of the main things that keeps sports rooted in our school system. And of all the sports, I can't think of a single one that is more dependent on school facilities than track and field. Almost all tracks in this country are owned by schools. If school sports went away, how long would track survive here? As for clubs, I view most non-revenue sports school teams as simply school-sponsored club teams anyway. Most of us receive little to no funding from the school and operate on fees and fundraising. Other than the use of the school facilities and coaches' salaries, there isn't much support actually coming from the school. Football and basketball might be different, but this is what I'm seeing in our sports. BTW, my posting of this article shouldn't necessarily be construed as me agreeing with it. I just think it's an interesting and valid conversation to have.
@theMike

You make a very good point about facilities. In fact, I would say that maintenance and access to facilities is one of the main things that keeps sports rooted in our school system. And of all the sports, I can't think of a single one that is more dependent on school facilities than track and field. Almost all tracks in this country are owned by schools. If school sports went away, how long would track survive here?

As for clubs, I view most non-revenue sports school teams as simply school-sponsored club teams anyway. Most of us receive little to no funding from the school and operate on fees and fundraising. Other than the use of the school facilities and coaches' salaries, there isn't much support actually coming from the school. Football and basketball might be different, but this is what I'm seeing in our sports.

BTW, my posting of this article shouldn't necessarily be construed as me agreeing with it. I just think it's an interesting and valid conversation to have.
02/14/2014 9:52:08 AM
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@BCrumbo It is just an interesting thing to think about. As much as the status quo is entrenched I think that this is something that could dramatically change in a hurry if a few of the chips fell. If a state budget or local district budget is going deep in the red I could imagine a politician making the case that no tax dollars are spent on athletics. Then some schools would be able to handle it and would continue to operate on fees and fundraising, but some other schools would not. Even though your program (and my program) and many others run mostly financially independently, I am confident that lots of programs are nearly 100% dependent on their budget coming from the school. Once the expectation changed that schools "have to" provide sports it would get much easier for others to follow suit. If that started to happen the club programs would realize the great opportunity to grow (and make more money). They would start to recruit more heavily and would be more direct competition against the school sports even during the school sports season. Then some athletes at the schools that offered sports would drop the scholastic sports and opt for the free market of clubs. Surely, if this started to happen the state associations and local schools would try to protect themselves, likely by being more restrictive and forcing athletes to choose one or the other... Time will tell. A class action suit here, some more concussion issues there, changes in the NCAA...
@BCrumbo

It is just an interesting thing to think about. As much as the status quo is entrenched I think that this is something that could dramatically change in a hurry if a few of the chips fell.

If a state budget or local district budget is going deep in the red I could imagine a politician making the case that no tax dollars are spent on athletics. Then some schools would be able to handle it and would continue to operate on fees and fundraising, but some other schools would not. Even though your program (and my program) and many others run mostly financially independently, I am confident that lots of programs are nearly 100% dependent on their budget coming from the school.

Once the expectation changed that schools "have to" provide sports it would get much easier for others to follow suit.

If that started to happen the club programs would realize the great opportunity to grow (and make more money). They would start to recruit more heavily and would be more direct competition against the school sports even during the school sports season. Then some athletes at the schools that offered sports would drop the scholastic sports and opt for the free market of clubs. Surely, if this started to happen the state associations and local schools would try to protect themselves, likely by being more restrictive and forcing athletes to choose one or the other...

Time will tell. A class action suit here, some more concussion issues there, changes in the NCAA...
02/15/2014 11:16:50 PM
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certainly for the short term this would have a very negative impact on our sport, but as I see schools, school districts and state organizations move to increasingly inane rules and reduced support I'm not so sure this would be a bad thing for our sport in the long term. I also see a potential positive in that if a kid shows real talent they can easily get paired with a good coach. Under our current system they are stuck with the coach at their neighborhood school unless they choose to move or in some cases they can afford to send their kid to a private school. Jordan Hasay for example got very lucky, her HS coach was excellent but how they ended up paired up is pretty much dumb luck. As the prof already mentioned, soccer is going to this model(officially), basketball is moving this way and some sports (like gymnastics and swimming) have pretty much gone to the club model. I know there are still pockets of those sports left in high schools but it's pretty much a club sport, especially at the top. Each of those sports is doing well, at least at the elite level, so this might not be all bad.
certainly for the short term this would have a very negative impact on our sport, but as I see schools, school districts and state organizations move to increasingly inane rules and reduced support I'm not so sure this would be a bad thing for our sport in the long term.

I also see a potential positive in that if a kid shows real talent they can easily get paired with a good coach. Under our current system they are stuck with the coach at their neighborhood school unless they choose to move or in some cases they can afford to send their kid to a private school. Jordan Hasay for example got very lucky, her HS coach was excellent but how they ended up paired up is pretty much dumb luck.

As the prof already mentioned, soccer is going to this model(officially), basketball is moving this way and some sports (like gymnastics and swimming) have pretty much gone to the club model. I know there are still pockets of those sports left in high schools but it's pretty much a club sport, especially at the top. Each of those sports is doing well, at least at the elite level, so this might not be all bad.
02/16/2014 1:34:52 AM
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@CoachMark When you say say soccer is going to this model officially, do you mean the proliferation of spring competitive teams, etc.... In my opinion, if sports at schools go to being club-based, the kids on the lower socioeconomic tiers will lose out and that would be a shame.
@CoachMark

When you say say soccer is going to this model officially, do you mean the proliferation of spring competitive teams, etc....

In my opinion, if sports at schools go to being club-based, the kids on the lower socioeconomic tiers will lose out and that would be a shame.
02/16/2014 8:17:34 AM
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Re: Nashville kids paying a club coach yet competing for their school That "club" coach does coach at a high school, as well. How many high school kids can afford his fee? In my area kids get excellent coaching from well-trained, motivated teachers, people whose mission involves teaching kids both in the classroom and on the track or field or court. There's a world of difference between a pure sport coach and a teacher-coach.
Re: Nashville kids paying a club coach yet competing for their school

That "club" coach does coach at a high school, as well.

How many high school kids can afford his fee?

In my area kids get excellent coaching from well-trained, motivated teachers, people whose mission involves teaching kids both in the classroom and on the track or field or court. There's a world of difference between a pure sport coach and a teacher-coach.
02/16/2014 10:31:00 AM
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The thread has moved onto a slight tangent and away from actually discussing what's being addressed in the article. That said, I think the article is pure nonsense, so I guess I'm glad we've deviated, haha. Mark, I think it was theMike who first brought up the new soccer model where I believe everything is getting more centralized and geared toward creating national teams. I've heard people talk about how soccer kids are discouraged from playing scholastic soccer and encouraged to participate year-round on the club level, but I haven't met anyone (yet) who's actually faced that kind of thing. As I've said before, although I think club soccer, club field hockey, etc., are great experiences for kids who enjoy those sports, club sports typically operate on the carnival game booth model. Parents spending tons of money for their kids to play club soccer in the hope of some college scholarship is no different than spending $20 at the carnival booth to toss rings onto milk bottles in the hope of winning a $10 stuffed animal. As soccer moves more and more toward that type of system, I think we're all worse off. I do agree with Mark though that club sports serve an important competitive role (no pun intended), but I wouldn't go so far as to say club sports make our sports better off in the long run. Like others, I think it'd be a sad day if we ever moved completely over to club-based athletic programs and no scholastic sports. In order to survive, schools and governing bodies will hopefully take on this shift to club-based athletics by providing a better product. One reason kids turn to club teams is the assumed access to good coaching, but any lack of good coaching in the scholastic setting is a problem with administration. If teachers can't cut it in the classroom, they get released or relocated, but in HS sports, nothing happens to ineffective coaches. When it comes to the role of administration in creating a quality athletic environment within Track and Field, Fern Creek will always be one of the best examples. At FC, the principal made quality a priority and FC went from rags to riches performancewise. If administrators hold their coaches accountable to a high set of standards, then coaching would improve and there'd be no need for kids to pursue club teams. If rulemakers were more focused on making athletics a vibrant, high quality experience and giving local schools more oversight while being less focused on empire-building and change for the sake of change, then coaches would be increasingly free to operate in ways that enhance the scholastic athletic experience of most kids. Having said that, I don't see much change a'comin. There are always those glimmers of hope and the shining examples of great administrations doing positive things, but in my opinion - the typical response of too many administrators is to push for more rules, not less, and demonize those that they see as their "competition", rather than actually attempt to understand and even adopt qualities that make that competition successful. I also suspect that the snake oil salesmen who run at least some of the clubs will continue to dupe enough parents into believing that the club system is the Wonka Golden ticket to a college scholarship. Hopefully I'm wrong on these counts, and HS sports make a comeback nationwide.
The thread has moved onto a slight tangent and away from actually discussing what's being addressed in the article. That said, I think the article is pure nonsense, so I guess I'm glad we've deviated, haha.

Mark, I think it was theMike who first brought up the new soccer model where I believe everything is getting more centralized and geared toward creating national teams. I've heard people talk about how soccer kids are discouraged from playing scholastic soccer and encouraged to participate year-round on the club level, but I haven't met anyone (yet) who's actually faced that kind of thing. As I've said before, although I think club soccer, club field hockey, etc., are great experiences for kids who enjoy those sports, club sports typically operate on the carnival game booth model. Parents spending tons of money for their kids to play club soccer in the hope of some college scholarship is no different than spending $20 at the carnival booth to toss rings onto milk bottles in the hope of winning a $10 stuffed animal. As soccer moves more and more toward that type of system, I think we're all worse off.

I do agree with Mark though that club sports serve an important competitive role (no pun intended), but I wouldn't go so far as to say club sports make our sports better off in the long run. Like others, I think it'd be a sad day if we ever moved completely over to club-based athletic programs and no scholastic sports. In order to survive, schools and governing bodies will hopefully take on this shift to club-based athletics by providing a better product. One reason kids turn to club teams is the assumed access to good coaching, but any lack of good coaching in the scholastic setting is a problem with administration. If teachers can't cut it in the classroom, they get released or relocated, but in HS sports, nothing happens to ineffective coaches. When it comes to the role of administration in creating a quality athletic environment within Track and Field, Fern Creek will always be one of the best examples. At FC, the principal made quality a priority and FC went from rags to riches performancewise. If administrators hold their coaches accountable to a high set of standards, then coaching would improve and there'd be no need for kids to pursue club teams. If rulemakers were more focused on making athletics a vibrant, high quality experience and giving local schools more oversight while being less focused on empire-building and change for the sake of change, then coaches would be increasingly free to operate in ways that enhance the scholastic athletic experience of most kids.

Having said that, I don't see much change a'comin. There are always those glimmers of hope and the shining examples of great administrations doing positive things, but in my opinion - the typical response of too many administrators is to push for more rules, not less, and demonize those that they see as their "competition", rather than actually attempt to understand and even adopt qualities that make that competition successful. I also suspect that the snake oil salesmen who run at least some of the clubs will continue to dupe enough parents into believing that the club system is the Wonka Golden ticket to a college scholarship. Hopefully I'm wrong on these counts, and HS sports make a comeback nationwide.
02/16/2014 9:43:03 PM
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@Toggle No, really official, the national governing body of youth soccer made the decision about 2 years ago that the preferred path for soccer was to go through the club system not the school system. They are moving to a tiered academy system. You start with your local club, then top kids from each area will get pulled together to train at a regional academy. I think they are planning on three or four levels up to the national age group teams. Today few college coaches go to HS soccer games to find recruits, they go to big club tournaments. In some areas of the country almost all the top kids play strictly club soccer, school soccer is left for the less talented kids. There are even a handful of "private soccer high schools" places where the kids get a HS diploma but the focus is on soccer. I know this because I used to coach soccer as well at Track and our younger son played soccer from age 6 and is now playing college soccer.
@Toggle

No, really official, the national governing body of youth soccer made the decision about 2 years ago that the preferred path for soccer was to go through the club system not the school system. They are moving to a tiered academy system. You start with your local club, then top kids from each area will get pulled together to train at a regional academy. I think they are planning on three or four levels up to the national age group teams.

Today few college coaches go to HS soccer games to find recruits, they go to big club tournaments. In some areas of the country almost all the top kids play strictly club soccer, school soccer is left for the less talented kids. There are even a handful of "private soccer high schools" places where the kids get a HS diploma but the focus is on soccer.

I know this because I used to coach soccer as well at Track and our younger son played soccer from age 6 and is now playing college soccer.
02/16/2014 10:22:47 PM
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@CoachMark I guess I had not realized that this move had been made. With track, I think it would hurt the sport tremendously in our state if it went to a club type thing. It might thrive in your bigger metro areas, but in the more rural areas I think it would just fade away. I know it's not the original topic (and I agree with PROFESSOR, I think the article doesn't hold water.
@CoachMark

I guess I had not realized that this move had been made. With track, I think it would hurt the sport tremendously in our state if it went to a club type thing. It might thrive in your bigger metro areas, but in the more rural areas I think it would just fade away. I know it's not the original topic (and I agree with PROFESSOR, I think the article doesn't hold water.
02/17/2014 5:45:39 AM
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@Toggle I think it's easier for club soccer to proliferate viz. club track, because the "fixed costs" are a lot lower in soccer. Anyone can start a club soccer team, find some fields and hold practices or host tournaments. In Track, someone has to put out a ton of money to build a track, purchase field event equipment, hurdles, etc. Unless a club track team can access a HS or college track facility, the club has nowhere to practice or host meets. When HSs in western KY, including some of the top programs in the State, can't even get their school districts to install just one nice all-weather track in their area, I seriously doubt many club teams will ever get it done.
@Toggle
I think it's easier for club soccer to proliferate viz. club track, because the "fixed costs" are a lot lower in soccer. Anyone can start a club soccer team, find some fields and hold practices or host tournaments. In Track, someone has to put out a ton of money to build a track, purchase field event equipment, hurdles, etc. Unless a club track team can access a HS or college track facility, the club has nowhere to practice or host meets. When HSs in western KY, including some of the top programs in the State, can't even get their school districts to install just one nice all-weather track in their area, I seriously doubt many club teams will ever get it done.
02/17/2014 9:18:45 AM
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@CoachMark In other words, the governing body for youth soccer basically stated, "We want to keep your parents money rather than use tax dollars which they have already paid for school programs." All with the promise that they will provide college opportunities that are not available in high school although the students do go to high school for academics which is also the essence of getting in to college. As long as the parents buy in to it, and pay the increasingly higher fees to be part of the pyramidal programs (note the more elite name, the higher the costs) as well as spending enough money to travel to tournaments all over the country and play up to four games in a weekend (college coach comes out for the championship games when the kids are only running on adrenaline after a full weekend, what impression do they get?) A few years ago a state coordinator for youth soccer was hired by a private school. Joke among the other high school coaches was that he came in to the new coaching position with a Roll-O-Dex of 20,000 possible players. Those making the statement about their own pyramid program are just protecting their own pay check or ego. Otherwise you wouldn't see advertisements for soccer tryouts for clubs, and the following week the same club looking for additional coaches because they are over run with numbers, but hadn't planned on being "elite" for everyone, but they are not going to turn away the money.
@CoachMark
In other words, the governing body for youth soccer basically stated, "We want to keep your parents money rather than use tax dollars which they have already paid for school programs." All with the promise that they will provide college opportunities that are not available in high school although the students do go to high school for academics which is also the essence of getting in to college. As long as the parents buy in to it, and pay the increasingly higher fees to be part of the pyramidal programs (note the more elite name, the higher the costs) as well as spending enough money to travel to tournaments all over the country and play up to four games in a weekend (college coach comes out for the championship games when the kids are only running on adrenaline after a full weekend, what impression do they get?) A few years ago a state coordinator for youth soccer was hired by a private school. Joke among the other high school coaches was that he came in to the new coaching position with a Roll-O-Dex of 20,000 possible players. Those making the statement about their own pyramid program are just protecting their own pay check or ego. Otherwise you wouldn't see advertisements for soccer tryouts for clubs, and the following week the same club looking for additional coaches because they are over run with numbers, but hadn't planned on being "elite" for everyone, but they are not going to turn away the money.
02/18/2014 12:52:04 PM
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The KHSAA is actually much less restrictive than some other state associations. In Michigan, for example, official practice for track & field doesn't start until March 15. Until that time, coaches may only work with three athletes per day using sport-related equipment (blocks, hurdles, throwing implements, etc.) This severely limits the level of coaching that athletes can get in the off-season, driving many athletes to club coaches who can work with them in the fall and winter. Some of these coaches have the athletes' best interests in mind, help them peak for the outdoor season, and are respectful of the athletes' school programs. Many have their own agendas, having their athletes race a full indoor season since there are several meets throughout the state each week. These athletes often return to their school teams in March injured, tired, and/or looking forward to the summer when they can go back to their club teams. Our system has its problems, but at least it doesn't have this one.
The KHSAA is actually much less restrictive than some other state associations. In Michigan, for example, official practice for track & field doesn't start until March 15. Until that time, coaches may only work with three athletes per day using sport-related equipment (blocks, hurdles, throwing implements, etc.) This severely limits the level of coaching that athletes can get in the off-season, driving many athletes to club coaches who can work with them in the fall and winter. Some of these coaches have the athletes' best interests in mind, help them peak for the outdoor season, and are respectful of the athletes' school programs. Many have their own agendas, having their athletes race a full indoor season since there are several meets throughout the state each week. These athletes often return to their school teams in March injured, tired, and/or looking forward to the summer when they can go back to their club teams. Our system has its problems, but at least it doesn't have this one.
02/18/2014 9:31:39 PM
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@professor Someone has to build those soccer fields, I know one Louisville area club that has well over $1M tied up in land and fields! On the other hand, look at Track in Jamaica, top Track athletes in more than just the sprints and most of their tracks are dirt, many not even very smooth. I also know of one of the top MS teams in the state, no track at all, they practice in a parking lot. If you want it bad enough you can make it happen.
@professor

Someone has to build those soccer fields, I know one Louisville area club that has well over $1M tied up in land and fields!

On the other hand, look at Track in Jamaica, top Track athletes in more than just the sprints and most of their tracks are dirt, many not even very smooth. I also know of one of the top MS teams in the state, no track at all, they practice in a parking lot. If you want it bad enough you can make it happen.
02/18/2014 9:46:44 PM
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@official I don't really disagree that there is an aspect of protectionism but here is the flip side: 1. Very little of your tax dollars are getting spent on Track, this thread alone has numerous examples of that. 2. Maybe the biggest issue has been the quality of coaching. Numerous school districts assign the math teacher to be the soccer coach because he or she played soccer in HS. All the clubs have to adhere to minimum qualifications for coaches. The higher the level and the older the age group the higher the level of training the coach has have. The national association tried for years (decades) to get NFHS's to develop minimum standards for HS soccer coaches but they refused "too expensive."
@official

I don't really disagree that there is an aspect of protectionism but here is the flip side:

1. Very little of your tax dollars are getting spent on Track, this thread alone has numerous examples of that.

2. Maybe the biggest issue has been the quality of coaching. Numerous school districts assign the math teacher to be the soccer coach because he or she played soccer in HS. All the clubs have to adhere to minimum qualifications for coaches. The higher the level and the older the age group the higher the level of training the coach has have. The national association tried for years (decades) to get NFHS's to develop minimum standards for HS soccer coaches but they refused "too expensive."
02/19/2014 7:44:37 AM
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[quote=CoachMark]@professor Someone has to build those soccer fields, I know one Louisville area club that has well over $1M tied up in land and fields! On the other hand, look at Track in Jamaica, top Track athletes in more than just the sprints and most of their tracks are dirt, many not even very smooth. I also know of one of the top MS teams in the state, no track at all, they practice in a parking lot. If you want it bad enough you can make it happen.[/quote] @CoachMark Call it a hunch, but I've got a feeling that if you calculate the cost of "building" soccer fields vs building a track facility, there's a good chance the track facility just might be more expensive.
CoachMark wrote:
@professor

Someone has to build those soccer fields, I know one Louisville area club that has well over $1M tied up in land and fields!

On the other hand, look at Track in Jamaica, top Track athletes in more than just the sprints and most of their tracks are dirt, many not even very smooth. I also know of one of the top MS teams in the state, no track at all, they practice in a parking lot. If you want it bad enough you can make it happen.


@CoachMark
Call it a hunch, but I've got a feeling that if you calculate the cost of "building" soccer fields vs building a track facility, there's a good chance the track facility just might be more expensive.
02/19/2014 11:56:18 AM
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Interesting discussion and many valuable insights about club vs school based programs by all parties in particular the utilization of soccer and how it has been transforming the way the system works. Having a daughter that competes in both arenas (soccer/track/cross country) I find it interesting that no one has addressed the importance of a strong state athletic governing body to help establish direction and compliance in these discussions. If a strong state athletic governing body does exist, I believe both school based programs and club based programs could both help progress the athletes. When using soccer as an example, there is no doubt that the advent of the competitive clubs in Kentucky have helped improve the skill level of players much like historical optimist leagues have done but with better formal knowledgeable instruction (with it comes a cost). However, the club system also creates it's own problems due to the fact that there is not a strong state governing body. To my knowledge there is not a single female soccer team at any age level in Kentucky playing in the top two soccer levels nationally (sure there are a few clubs playing in the quality MRL league but there are two higher leagues above this)and only one male team to my knowledge in the state competing at these levels at any age level (I maybe wrong but there are very few). In addition, most high level soccer teams do not even play their games in the state of Kentucky due to the lack of facilities and complexes (Sure Elizabethtown(my opinion the best)/Bowling Green/Owensboro all have decent accomodations for soccer but are primarily used for state cup events and these complexes are a business into themselves). The closest club to Kentucky competing at these elite levels is Ohio Elite out of Cincinnati and the St. Louis Soccer league teams. Both of which have a few players from Kentucky competing on their club teams due to their ability to have teams that play at the highest levels. If the club teams were directed by the state governing body to allow their best players to progress to one team or create multiple state teams based upon skill level, then Kentucky would also have teams playing at these elite levels but sponsored by the state governing body. Instead, each club has 3 or 4 elite players playing for their respective club which diminishes the athletes ability to progress, excel, and get noticed. In this regard, there are also several school based soccer programs that face the same issues that are occurring on the club level. Many school based soccer programs have 3 or 4 elite level players (some of which play club soccer and some of which do not play club soccer). These players should also be afforded the same opportunities to progress and excel and with a strong state athletic governing body the opportunity could exist. For this reason there are many school based programs that have competition schedules just as competitive as a lot of the club programs and have instructional coaching just as good as the club teams. That being said, many club team coaches are also school coaches.
Interesting discussion and many valuable insights about club vs school based programs by all parties in particular the utilization of soccer and how it has been transforming the way the system works. Having a daughter that competes in both arenas (soccer/track/cross country) I find it interesting that no one has addressed the importance of a strong state athletic governing body to help establish direction and compliance in these discussions. If a strong state athletic governing body does exist, I believe both school based programs and club based programs could both help progress the athletes. When using soccer as an example, there is no doubt that the advent of the competitive clubs in Kentucky have helped improve the skill level of players much like historical optimist leagues have done but with better formal knowledgeable instruction (with it comes a cost). However, the club system also creates it's own problems due to the fact that there is not a strong state governing body. To my knowledge there is not a single female soccer team at any age level in Kentucky playing in the top two soccer levels nationally (sure there are a few clubs playing in the quality MRL league but there are two higher leagues above this)and only one male team to my knowledge in the state competing at these levels at any age level (I maybe wrong but there are very few). In addition, most high level soccer teams do not even play their games in the state of Kentucky due to the lack of facilities and complexes (Sure Elizabethtown(my opinion the best)/Bowling Green/Owensboro all have decent accomodations for soccer but are primarily used for state cup events and these complexes are a business into themselves). The closest club to Kentucky competing at these elite levels is Ohio Elite out of Cincinnati and the St. Louis Soccer league teams. Both of which have a few players from Kentucky competing on their club teams due to their ability to have teams that play at the highest levels. If the club teams were directed by the state governing body to allow their best players to progress to one team or create multiple state teams based upon skill level, then Kentucky would also have teams playing at these elite levels but sponsored by the state governing body. Instead, each club has 3 or 4 elite players playing for their respective club which diminishes the athletes ability to progress, excel, and get noticed. In this regard, there are also several school based soccer programs that face the same issues that are occurring on the club level. Many school based soccer programs have 3 or 4 elite level players (some of which play club soccer and some of which do not play club soccer). These players should also be afforded the same opportunities to progress and excel and with a strong state athletic governing body the opportunity could exist. For this reason there are many school based programs that have competition schedules just as competitive as a lot of the club programs and have instructional coaching just as good as the club teams. That being said, many club team coaches are also school coaches.
02/20/2014 10:06:10 AM
Coach
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Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 344
@official I think at the local level much of what drives club sports is money, but the decision by US Soccer to push their decision seems to be about creating a better national team. I might disagree with their tactics, but I genuinely believe that they think they are doing what is in the best interest of the sport. I do agree with @Breadhead09 that a big flaw in HS sports is that schools do not consistently hire qualified coaches. If a club has a lousy coach they will lose, no one will want to play for that team, and the team will shrink/change coaches/be replaced by a new better program. However, since students are tied to schools if a school hires a lousy coach they have basically made the decision that kids in that school will not be a success in that sport at the scholastic level. And when schools repeatedly hire lousy coaches then those athletes aren't even really exposed to the sport in a legitimate way. Certainly there are exceptions, great athletes that come from lousy programs, but it should be no surprise that good athletes in certain sports seem to come from certain schools. Good coaches reveal the talent that athletes have. I also agree that we are fortunate that our state association seems to be far more thoughtful than may others. But, I think, some state associations and even local school districts create rules to save money or to level the playing field (by bringing the top down and not the bottom up) that will eventually undermine scholastic sports. @creekcc makes some great points about MI. MI schools are not able to attend Eastern Relays (or Arcadia and the like) even though we have teams that cover more ground to get here. I can't understand any way that makes the sport in MI better. It just makes the HS sport less attractive than the club version of the same sport. I am sure the argument is about cost savings or parity, but it is not good for the sport at the highest level. It isn't good for the best kids in MI. And it isn't good for coaches that just want to make the sport bigger and more fun for their teams.
@official
I think at the local level much of what drives club sports is money, but the decision by US Soccer to push their decision seems to be about creating a better national team. I might disagree with their tactics, but I genuinely believe that they think they are doing what is in the best interest of the sport.

I do agree with @Breadhead09 that a big flaw in HS sports is that schools do not consistently hire qualified coaches. If a club has a lousy coach they will lose, no one will want to play for that team, and the team will shrink/change coaches/be replaced by a new better program.

However, since students are tied to schools if a school hires a lousy coach they have basically made the decision that kids in that school will not be a success in that sport at the scholastic level. And when schools repeatedly hire lousy coaches then those athletes aren't even really exposed to the sport in a legitimate way. Certainly there are exceptions, great athletes that come from lousy programs, but it should be no surprise that good athletes in certain sports seem to come from certain schools. Good coaches reveal the talent that athletes have.

I also agree that we are fortunate that our state association seems to be far more thoughtful than may others. But, I think, some state associations and even local school districts create rules to save money or to level the playing field (by bringing the top down and not the bottom up) that will eventually undermine scholastic sports. @creekcc makes some great points about MI. MI schools are not able to attend Eastern Relays (or Arcadia and the like) even though we have teams that cover more ground to get here. I can't understand any way that makes the sport in MI better. It just makes the HS sport less attractive than the club version of the same sport. I am sure the argument is about cost savings or parity, but it is not good for the sport at the highest level. It isn't good for the best kids in MI. And it isn't good for coaches that just want to make the sport bigger and more fun for their teams.

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