If you are looking for ways to help your daughter easily transition from middle school to high school sports life here is a list of ideas to try.
As moms, it can be difficult to think of our babies as teenagers, young adults with only 4 more years to prepare to be on their own. When your daughter moves into the High School level of team sports, it can feel like a crash course in letting go.
When you know what to expect when your daughter moves into HS level sports, it can help make the transition a bit smoother for both of you.
Here are some things to expect at the high school level so you aren’t taken completely off guard.
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Communication is essential for an easy transition from middle school to high school sports life for girls.
Now that your daughter is in high school, all of a sudden she has direct communication with her coach for updates in practice schedules, game changes, and expectations. This will be one of the growing pains of greater independence, learning good communication skills.
This is one of the biggest changes/differences in high school sports for both players and their parents. Coaches aren’t communicating directly with you anymore and you will need to get all this information second hand. Your child will be the one keeping you in the loop. GASP!
Communication on team practices, games and updates will be filtered directly through your daughter. It is up to you to explain the importance of keeping you in the loop of changes to schedules. Especially if you are her ride. This was the biggest change for me. I felt the first year like I didn’t know what was going on.
If your kid is not the best communicator, it will be essential to develop this habit, or you will find yourself heading to the wrong field, forgetting they have a practice and need to be picked up earlier than a game, or a number of other scenarios that can occur when you don’t know the schedule (or changes) communicated by the coach.
Away game locations may be a pest to locate. Sometimes the field is not at the away team’s high school. Get clear communication on where you should be going if you plan to attend away games.
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, sorry. We needed to rely on our daughters to let us know what’s up for the week. SCARY! But somehow we learned how to be on the same page and check-in with each other. You will too.
If for some reason your daughter cannot attend a practice or a game, she needs to communicate that to her coach, so it better be a dang good reason. “I don’t feel like it today” usually will not fly. She’ll learn that really quick. It’s great for teaching responsibility.
She will need a phone for communicating with you and her coach and her teammates.
Your daughter will most definitely need a means of communicating with her parents, coaches, and teammates. A smartphone that shows her location will be most helpful when you are wondering where she at any given time.
Especially when it’s time to pick her up from school after an away game, and you want a sense of how close to the school her bus is.
She will also be communicating with her teammates which can be a lot of fun for the girls to participate in group chats with her teammates. Esp the upperclassmen.
Oh, by the way, fundraising/booster life will become more important at this level. PARTICULARLY for girl sports that are unfortunately not as evenly funded as boy sports at this level. See what you can do to help your daughter’s sports booster organization.
You may feel like you are no longer her #1 and that’s a good thing.
Your kid will no longer expect you to be at every game. And it’s okay. Of course, you want to be there if you can, but if work schedule gets in the way, as it very well might if you work a 9-5 and most of their games are at 3:30, you won’t be able to be at each and every one. This is part of the growing up for them and their growing independence.
You won’t be the #1 taxi driver to and from practices and games. YIPPEE!
They will sometimes travel on the team bus. And you will be expected to pick them up at school when they get back from away games. This can be more complicated if you rely on her to come home on the school bus. There is not usually a late bus that runs late enough to bring them home after games or long practices. Definitely consider this and plan to carpool if necessary.
They might need a ride to the practice field or the game field if it is not connected directly to their HS’s school campus. See if they can catch rides with other teammates.
They will likely have practices or games every day of the school week directly after school. Which means you will not see them in the afternoon during the sporting season.
That means that she will arrive home FAMISHED, please have your menu plan game tight.
She is 100% responsible for the preparation of her gear.
She needs to be 100% responsible for her gear and the equipment necessary to participate in practice and games because they usually occur directly afterschool.
If she has not learned the fine art of preparing her gear, packing her bag, or washing her uniform, now is the time to teach her.
You certainly will not want or be able to run to school to bring her one shin pad or face mask she forgot under her bed that morning. That will get old really quickly.
Get herself really organized the night before at bedtime so she doesn’t forget essentials the next day.
She will want to get into the habit of preparing all her gear at night before bed so she is not scrambling and forgetting anything critical the next morning before school.
I have several checklists your daughter can use to checkoff she has all her equipment ready to go. You can find these here in the resource library. It will soon become a habit she will master by sight. This is good for her to learn responsibility and independence.
This habit will serve her very well throughout her sports career and will translate to her academic and work life in the future as well.
Be open to making new friends and teammates
If your daughter suffers a bit from social anxiety it may help to spend the time talking her through being open to making new friends with teammates.
She might find that her circle of influence is expanding once she gets to high school and meets upperclassmen who share her love of the sport.
This is so great for her daily experience in school and extends well beyond the season to the rest of the school year.
Balancing sport with other interests
Balancing sport with school, work commitments, and extracurricular lessons like music or art of whatever else she is into will be her main challenge.
During the season of her sport, she’ll likely have daily practices or games so she 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 her reading.
On top of that, if she works a part-time job, and has music lessons or dance or the other hobbies she used to enjoy, she will already be feeling the pressure of limited time.
Speaking of a job, your daughter may feel pressure about getting work shifts in. How can you support them in this season? Could she work on weekends only as an option?
Work with your daughter to balance the desire to do it all with the limited time and energy she 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, volunteer work, or just breathe and focus on her academics.
We haven’t even talked about time for friends or (aghast, relationships!!!). She will feel the pinch if she does fall, winter, and spring sports. It might become too much.
So talk with your daughter about being realistic with her time and let her make some smart choices on how to manage it.
She might feel some pressure to get schoolwork and other commitments done after school. They may have less time for socializing with you like they did when they were little. Don’t take this too hard or feel like she is not interested in your mommy-daughter relationship anymore.
Be intentional in this season to take her out on a couple of Mother-Daughter Dates to keep the connection between you two strong and to give her a private opportunity to talk about things that might be troubling her.
You will be changing doctor, dentist, orthodontist’s appointments on the regular because a game or practice will surely interfere with the appointment time if it is directly after school. Keep this in mind and look ahead in your calendar to make changes whenever possible.
This is one of those areas where having a shared family digital medical calendar will help your daughter know what appointments are coming up and what are potential conflicts with her sports schedule.
Schoolwork is #1
Remember, only a SMALL FRACTION of girls get full athletic scholarships to D1 or D2 schools. So the most important thing she needs to focus on is her schoolwork.
Be realistic with yourself first, and with her on her priorities. Even if she gets 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 both were counting on a sports scholarship? Yikes.
Make sure your athlete is developing her academic skills and has sufficient time to devote to her schoolwork first and foremost.
Drop things if it gets too busy to avoid overwhelm or if she’s in over her head.
To wrap this up, don’t be afraid to slash commitments including sports for a season if your daughter shows signs of getting in over her head.
Sport is Beneficial to her high school experience, but not at the risk of a mounting pressure that affects her mental or physical well-being.
So here is a recap on how to easily transition from Middle School to High School Sports
To help your daughter transition:
- Remember, communication is essential
- She will need a phone for communicating with you and her coach
- She needs to learn how to pack and stock her bag/gear
- She should get herself really organized the night before at bedtime so she doesn’t forget her essentials the next day.
- Be open to making new friends/teammates
- Balancing sport, school, work commitments, and extracurricular lessons like music or art of whatever else she is into.
- Schoolwork is #1
- Drop things if it gets too busy to avoid overwhelm or if she’s in over her head.
I hope that the transition from middle school to high school goes smoothly for your daughter and for you, mom.
You can do it and so can she! Congratulations to your girl for making the team!
Check out these other helpful articles:
- This one was for you, now send your daughter to her own article to help her prepare for high school sports life: Advice for girls preparing for high school sports life.
- Top 10 Fall Sports High School Girls Play
- 9 Benefits of High School Sports for Girls
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.