Preparing for a high school sports career can be daunting. You might find yourself taking more than a few deep breaths over time, but you can do this, and it is totally worth the effort!
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When preparing for high school sports, good communication skills are essential.
You are in high school now. All of a sudden, your coach is going to contact you directly for all your team updates with practice schedules, game changes, and expectations. Your parents are pretty much left out of the loop.
Listen, this might be different from what you’re used to, but don’t worry. It’s cool. As long as you keep your parents in the loop of all the changes to the schedule and what is coming up for the week ahead, your parents will adjust to that major change.
Your family can decide what that looks like but for me and my girls, they put their games, practices, etc on our family digital calendar, so it is always updated. This was always on my phone so I could look to see when and where the games were and vs which team. The location of games etc was on there too so I could map my way to their games.
This was important for me because when it wasn’t updated, my momma senses would begin to get worried and I couldn’t plan pickups effectively.
When the location of an away game is in a weird location that is not exactly what would be the obvious thought, my daughter would send me a map of her location once she got there so I could go the right field.
This happened a lot for softball games because they were often not at the high school they were versing but some other obscure location. This is really helpful and your parents will appreciate knowing where you are in the event of an emergency too.
Be good about communicating information to your parents.
This is one of the biggest changes/differences in high school sports for both players and their parents. Coaches aren’t communicating directly with your parents anymore and so it’s on you to pay attention and pass it on the information.
If you are not the best communicator, it will be essential to develop this habit, or you will find your parents getting mad because they missed half the game because they were heading to the wrong field, forgot you had a practice and needed to be picked up earlier than if you had a game or a number of other scenarios that can occur when they don’t know the schedule or the changes communicated by the coach.
I know my daughter’s coach let all the girls know the changes to the schedule via group text message. Parents were not going to get added to that chat. But somehow my daughter learned how to keep me on the same page and checked-in with me. You will too.
If for some reason you cannot attend a practice or a game, you will be responsible for communicating that to your coach, so it better be a dang good reason. “I don’t feel like it today” usually will not fly. You’ll learn that really quick. Sports and being a teammate is a commitment.
So if you don’t already have a cell phone or even better a smartphone, now is the time to ask your parents for one. Don’t make them regret it so be really responsible for the use of it.
Plus, a smartphone that shows your location will be most helpful when your parents are wondering where you are at any given time.
Especially when it’s time to pick you up from school after an away game, and they want a sense of how close your bus is are to the school.
You will also be communicating with your teammates too, which can be a lot of fun.
You are becoming more independent. That is hard on your parents. If you can remember to take care of your phone (don’t lose it or crack it), keep it charged, and be responsible with it both at school, during games, and in your free time, your parents will appreciate how you are growing. Make good choices.
At the high school level, you are 100% responsible for preparing your gear.
You need to be 100% responsible for your gear and the equipment necessary to participate in practice and games because those usually occur directly afterschool.
If you have not learned the fine art of preparing your gear, packing your bag, or washing your uniform, now is the time for you to learn.
Your folks will certainly not want or be able to run to school to bring your one shin pad or face mask you forgot under her bed that morning. That will get old really quickly.
Preparing for high school sports means getting yourself really organized the night before at bedtime so you don’t forget essentials the next day.
You will want to get into the habit of prepping all your gear at night before bed so you are not scrambling and forgetting anything critical the next morning before school.
I have several checklists in the resource library you can use to checkoff you have all your equipment ready to go. It will soon become a habit you will master by sight. This is good for you to learn the art of responsibility and will make your parents really proud.
This habit will serve you very well throughout your sports career and will translate to your academic now and work life in the future as well.
Be open to making new friends and teammates
If you suffer a bit from social anxiety it may help to spend the time talking to your parents or a friend about ways to be open to making new friends with teammates.
You might find that your circle of influence is expanding once you get to high school and meet upperclassmen who share your love of the sport.
This is so great for your daily experiences in school and extends well beyond the season to the rest of the school year.
Be open to making friends. It will be worth it.
Balancing sport with other interests
Balancing sport with school, work commitments, and extracurricular lessons like music or art, or whatever else you are into will be your main challenge.
During the season of your sport, you’ll likely have daily practices or games so you will need to juggle that with coming home around or after dinnertime, to then do homework, study for quizzes and tests, work on long term projects and do reading assignments.
On top of that, if you work a part-time job, and have music lessons or dance or the other hobbies you used to enjoy, you might start feeling the pressure of limited time.
Talk to your parents about balancing the desire to do it all with the limited time and energy you will have during the season.
This may be one of those reasons girls, in my opinion, should have at least one season off from sports to ease up on the pressure of time and be able to take up other interests during the year, or just breathe and focus on schoolwork.
We haven’t even talked about time for friends or (aghast, relationships!!!). You will feel the pinch if you do a fall, winter, and spring sport. It might become too much.
And also why most athletes consider their teammates to be some of their best friends because of the bonding and time they spend together during the season.
So be realistic with your time and make some smart choices on how to manage it.
Schoolwork is #1
Remember, only a SMALL FRACTION of girls get full athletic scholarships to D1 or D2 schools. So the most important thing you need to focus on is schoolwork.
Be realistic with yourself first, and with your priorities. Even if you get looked at for scholarship recruitment, they will pick the better student when comparing two girls with equal athletic ability.
Nevermind the horror of a career-ending injury. What if you were counting on a sports scholarship? Yikes.
Make sure you develop your academic skills and have sufficient time to devote to your schoolwork first and foremost.
Drop things if it gets too busy
Drop things if it gets too busy, to avoid overwhelm, or if you are in over your head.
To wrap this up, don’t be afraid to slash commitments including sports for a season if you show signs of getting in over your head and cracking under the strain. Speak with your coach, a favorite teacher, trusted advisor or your parents if you feel like you are highly stressed. They may have some advice to share that could help.
Sport is beneficial to your high school experience, but not at the risk of a mounting pressure that affects your mental or physical well-being.
So here is a recap on how to prepare for high school sports
- Remember, communication is essential.
- You will need a phone for communicating with your parents and your coach.
- You need to learn how to pack and stock your bag/gear.
- You should get organized the night before bedtime so you don’t forget your essentials the next day.
- Be open to making new friends/teammates.
- Balancing sport, school, work commitments, and extracurricular lessons like music or art or whatever else you are into will be the toughest part.
- Schoolwork is #1.
- Drop things if it gets too busy, to avoid overwhelm, or if you are in over your head.
I hope that preparing for high school sports life goes smoothly for you! You will have a great time. Congratulations on making the team!
Other posts you’ll love:
- 9 Benefits of High School Sports for Girls
- Top 10 Fall Sports High School Girls Play
- and for mom: How to Easily Transition from Middle School to High School Sports
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.