Time for much else with team sports

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Time for much else with team sports
By Bluejay (Bluejay) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 06:55 pm: Edit

I've been reading all the various posts of kids as they report (list) their activities. I'm not sure how they fit all of that in in a 24 hour day. At our school all sports demand a daily time of 2hour practice and much later for game/meet days. On average home around 6:00 pm. Weekend practices also and maybe a game. No way a kid could work a 15 hour part time job plus be on the yearbook, volunteer, class president etc and oh take 5 AP courses. Can students in your areas accomplish so much if they participate in a varsity sport each season?

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 07:51 pm: Edit

That is where the boarding school or the prep school comes into the picture. It provides a community and schedules all of these things. S's school is strong on the arts both performing and visual. They are also big in sports. S is a tri captain this year and also very active in the performing arts scenes, still does lots of community service and works on weekends. Last year he left school half days on Thursdays for a job, missed Friday and worked all of that time including the weekend. And most of the courses are AP level after sophomomore year. He took the AP Environmental Studies, Biology, English Comp, American History last year. Will be taking the Literature, Calculus and Art History this year, and his load is considered light as more typically a kid would also be taking another AP science (in his case Physics), Foreign language and Government (or econ or stats). His counselor really wanted him to continue another year of language but he was adamant about his schedule.

My other son was not only a 3 sport athlete but he trained year around for his main sport. Also was in Orchestra and Drama, the Literary Board, and lots of community service. He also worked 4 hours a week at a gym giving lessons and 2 1/2 hours delivering newspapers at his school.

The girls were not as athletic but they participated in at least one sport, often two, were active in art, drama, music, yearbook.

Because my current highschooler goes to a boarding school as a day student, he gets home around 10 pm most nights because of rehearsal for the performing arts. The performing arts rehearse after dinner. So he goes from sports to dinner to library for enforced study to rehearsal. He reads on the way home and then does work for about an hour to an hour and a half at home. He is then up at 6 am and catches a van at 6:30 to get to school by 8 am. his classes run till 2:45 and then he has an hour to study, get together in study groups, meet with teachers until sports practice begins. Practice ends around 5:30, dinner is at 6 and rehearsals are typically at 7 or 7:30. His winter and spring sports do not have weekend matches so when the season is on he has Tuesday night games and that is a scratch for anything else. During football season, he cannot work weekends or do anything that compromises Friday night or Saturday games. I am going nuts trying to schedule a few auditions--it is going to be very tight.

He seems to thrive in such a schedule. He tends to get into trouble during down time. As long as things are happening and he has a place to go, he does well. He cannot be trusted to "hang around" for very long as he will find something to do and it is usually something foolhardy and risky. It has gotten him into much trouble.

I have seen public school kids every bit as busy but it generally involves more driving around. The advantage of his school is that it is a one stop shop for us. All private lessons, activities are through the school and it provides round the clock supervision as they well know him and there is always someone on duty. The only reason he is not boarding is that I am afraid he would be kicked out because of his hijinks during any down time.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 10:30 pm: Edit

Yes, it can be done. Of course it only should be done cause the kid wants to do it. My kids do fit this kind of lifestyle. They want to do these things and we have chosen to support them in this busy life. For my kids, it is a lot like Jamimom's except mine do not go to private (we don't have private school here) and it involves a ton of driving and long distance.

You spoke of doing three varsity sports and the committments those entail. Believe me, I know! My oldest who is about to start college, did three varsity sports and yes, they go til dinner time just on daily practice days but get home very late into the evening when there are games/matches/races, plus weekends for these. If that were all she did, that would already be a lot. She also took the hardest courseload available and then some, including acceleration, indep. studies and so forth. She took lessons on two instruments and was in both band and jazz band. She took two dance classes per week, including a repertory troupe. She also was a very active student senator, which involved meetings before school and much time on her own leading policy initiatives. Same with Class Council meetings before school each week. She also held a part time job seasonly. As well, she was an assistant teacher in the elementary school twice per week one semester. She got anywhere from 3-5 hours of homework per night and worked at least ten hours on the weekends on homework. Some of her sports involved all day Saturday and Sunday as well. She loves these activities but is also a very motivated student who excels academically. It sounds like a stressful life and it is not easy but she loves what she does and is aiming to continue many of her activities in college (they were not done to get into college). She also has done a lot of musical theater and travel experiences. We live in a rural area and the travel to these activities can involve on average 100 miles per day, some days less, some more.

My other kid also has ECs every afternoon, night, and weekend, on top of the most demanding courseload as well, including acceleration. She used to do sports but no longer does. But she takes 13 hours of dance classes, including two repertory troupes, acting lessons, voice lessons, two instrument lessons, jazz band, chorus, select choir, and is always involved at any given time in a theatrical production which involves mucho hours per week. All these activities involve a great deal of travel time, on average 100 miles per day. My daughter is auditioning for a show this week that is 50 miles from our house, and requires four days per week rehearsals on top of everything else I just mentioned and the fact that we also travel to that city on a different day for voice lessons. The hours in their day are long but they seem to thrive on these things, as Jamimom's kids seem to as well. One must be organized with schoolwork and learn to work in car rides and stay up late. My older one, the past two years, drove herself but had to give up car rides for homework time on her laptop. I seriously am starting to think her college schedule will be easier cause she won't have to put in seven hours in class on top of the ECs and the heavy duty homework. It seems easier to me! We shall see!

I don't think a kid should take any of this on because someone wants him/her to. But if your child loves the pursuits and is also very motivated to do well academically, it can work out well. In my recent graduate's class, I venture to say that all of the kids in the top 10% were also varsity athletes! And in fact, the val and sal each played three varsity sports, as did a couple of the kids right up there with them. So, it is refreshing to me that these accomplished students were also accomplished outside the classroom as well (need not be sports of course).

So, it is not that unusual. Tiring? yeah, but they are happy and beg to do it. My older one, at sixth grade graduation, in a presentation she had to make to her parents (each child did this one at a time), she mentioned that I would be out of a job when she got her license. True! But now I am really out of a job (with her), now that she is leaving ;-( for college and I won't even be attending her events anymore! Ok, ok, I'll quit that as I still have this other one's schedule to taxi to and she does not yet have her license!


By Bluejay (Bluejay) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 07:07 am: Edit

Thanks for the exhaustive replies! I'm amazed but also still a little baffled. At our school there is no way that a student could play a varsity sport and be in let's say the spring musical. Neither the coach nor the director would allow that. The practice times/rehearsal are the same. A student must pick one or the other. The less time consuming activities that meet once a week are more doable if the meeting is let's say is during the "sports study hall" before practice. I assume too your kids have very flexible employers who will let them adjust their work schedules and music teachers who teach past 9:00pm at night.
You all have more energy and (probably more gas money!) than I do. I guess we will stick to the idea of committing to a few activites and a rigorous course load. No way that this type of schedule would work for us. I see how the boarding school day supports the kids more. In the public school situation, do you drive the kids back and forth, do they have their own cars, how does all of this fit into your own work schedules? You parents and kids are pretty amazing to pull this all off. More power to you.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 07:39 am: Edit

I agree it can all be done but takes organization, brains and motivation on the part of the student.Being a great achiever is a wonderful thing. But also there are some who chose not to put our children on this tract despite high grades, IQ and athletic ability.Some see the long hours that come with an honest high income and and chose a modification of the 'striving' attitude.(I know this comment seems out of place on C.C. but just thought to add it!)
Of course, more power to the fabulous achievers! They will be our future leaders!With the power comes the responsibility!

By Bluejay (Bluejay) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 08:00 am: Edit

Good points. I agree that to attend the private school, pay for the private lessons etc obviously costs money and not all can afford that. These kids have that financial support, extremely devoted parents, and of course that internal drive that never seems to quit. My thoughts are that even with all of above, in our area there are not enough hours in the day to commit to that schedule with the demands made by coaches, teachers, employers, directors and oh yes, parents! Lucky for me because I would never encourage it. It does give me pause though to realize just what our kids are up against in terms of the EC's of this caliber of student. Our kids have the scores, GPA, AP courses but only solid, required committment to 4 or 5 activities. Not sure how that will stack up in the admissions process.

By Garland (Garland) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 08:23 am: Edit

Bluejay: don't worry too much. It would be pretty much as impossible to do all that at our school, too. My S eschewed sports, because there was too much overlap with all his music activities. What he did, he did well, and had the scores, GPA, etc. He also had some down time, which for my kids (who are not like the super-achievers, definitely not Type A) is necessary. He was accepted into a very selective university, despite this. Excelling and participating in everything is great for the kids who want to, but not absolutely necessary. It's more important, I think, to throw yourself into what you're most interested in, and demonstrate that in the application.

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:00 am: Edit

It's impossible to do that at my school as well, and since i am one of four siblings, it makes it even harder, i play one sport, do a few weekend things i'm involved in, and that keeps me busy, people at my school have to make decisons between the spring musical and their spring sport, the elite singing group or their winter sport, even if i wanted to be more involved, i couldn't be becuase everyone in my family is involveed in something, and both my parents work, my mom teaches mentally retarded children and my dad is the director of a company, and he doesn't get home till 6 or 7, so it's very hard if you go to a public school

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:37 am: Edit

Bluejay, that is why S is in his private school--because of the performing arts conflicts. My older son did not get involved in drama when he would have loved to do so because of his intense participation in sports. He decided not to join the highschool team senior year, in part because he wanted to do some performing arts. He was able to strike a deal with his school but that is rare. He was at a private school but this one does make you choose between the arts and sports to a large degree as most schools he attended did. He did participated in community theatre, church theatre, where ever he could but the intense interest that the younger one has was not there so it was not as big of an issue. He would just find venues that fit his schedule. He was also a good enough athlete that he could adjust the practice schedule more than many kids could but he did get into some hot water at times.

I agree with Garland. The most successful kids I see who get into the very top schools are not all into a spread of activities like mine. They do tend to focus on a couple of activities and do them very well. For all of the time S2 is spending on sports, it is not going to be much of a factor in his college admissions as nearly every school on his list has an audition component. The 5-10 minutes he presents himself will pretty much be the deal for him. And his athletic schedule is an impediment for scheduling his auditions and preparing for them. His yelling as captain has terribly strained his voice, and I am anxious about him getting hurt. And the sport will add up to a big nothing on his chances to get in. But he wants to do this, and will not likely ever do this again in his life. Time enough to focus on a narrow band, and when he does that, he needs to want to do so. He knows he will drop the sports in college, though he is could be participating athlete in all three sports.

There are kids that do the sports or the music or the drama or arts outside of the school, and only participate in the school's activities when they can fit it in their schedules. S's school has several kids who are in elite orchestra, one in a prestigious dance troupe, two who professionally act and two Olympians. These are just the ones I know about off the top of my head. They do not participate in the school versions of their specialties as they feel they are beyond that. They participate very little in school activities but I doubt it will hurt them in their college pursuits. The intensity of their participation allows their activities to be a major hook for them and with decent grades and scores, they will go pretty much where they choose to go in college. If you are not at that level, it becomes dicey how to split the time and there is really no good answer about that. I am still juggling this question even as I pay a fortune because I felt that his school did ameliorate the stituation somewhat.

By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:53 am: Edit

My daughter, who was very like Soozie's in the number of her commitments during high school, never could find the time to give theater a try... even though she always wanted to. At her high school it was logistically impossible to be in a play and be a varsity athlete at the same time. Her school did block time for school clubs into the student schedule, which was helpful. Outside volunteerism, music and a part-time job took place on the weekends and after team practices. To be honest, I don't know how she pulled it off. Her activities could be grouped into little areas of interest and she enjoyed them but in my opinion it was a grueling schedule.

One interesting aside to this discussion.....a significant number of my daughter's peers who headed off to college to play a sport have decided to stop after one year because they find that they can't participate in a college level training schedule and take advantage of other college activities. These are not just Div. l athletes. The club sport teams at my daughter's school are filled with many of these ex-college and high school athletes.

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

i would love to be more involved in school, but lacrosse is so time-consuming, many schools want you to start training months before, so even though lacrosse doesn't start till feb., they want conditioning to start in late summer, i would also like to be in mock trial, but it directly conflicts with lacrosse, i'm terrible at lacrosse (okay i'm terrible at everything) so i don't have any college hopes, so if i could scale back on all this conditioning they want, i could be more involved

By Newnudad (Newnudad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:04 pm: Edit

Bluejay - It was doable for my D because she didn't work 15 hours a week! Yes, to varsity sports, and 5 AP courses, and lots of other EC's... BUT...My wife and I decided that if she could do all the other things she wanted to do, we could chip in when she needed money for something... It worked out in the end, because the dollars she got to attend colege far outweigh any dollars she could have made pitching fries.

So, may your Bluejay turn into a Bluebird of Happiness for you... Good luck

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:11 pm: Edit

Any tips on how to help kids with heavy sports schedules manage their homework/study time?

Son is on the JV football team (his choice) and taking all honors classes this year. We have a 45 minute commute each way to his school. Daily practice gets out at 4:45 so the drive will be even longer due to rush hour traffic, game days he won't be home until 7 or so at the earliest.

I'm wondering how the heck he's going to find time to do homework. Any advice for me or him???

By Newnudad (Newnudad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:24 pm: Edit

Carolyn - Easiest way is to take a study hall... something my D refused to do - wanted to take electives. Another option is to read / work whenever possible on the bus or car .. somekids can't do this, I hope yours can! And I hate to say it, but be prepared for some late night bookwork... Our goodnight mantra to our D, as my better half...er.. better 7/8's and I tottered off to bed for the last 2 years was "Don't Stay Up Too Late"!

By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:36 pm: Edit

Like Newnudad's daughter, mine did not have any study halls to speak of and our goodnight mantra to her was similar. Even without a school break of any substance she did try to get through the part of her homework that might be "busy work" during the school day . Easier math problems and what homework required less concentration could sometimes be fit in before team practice. Her meatier homework was saved until the evening and unfortunately, very often late into the night.

From what I have seen, high school athletes tend to develop great time management skills.

By Mdcbk (Mdcbk) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:39 pm: Edit

The ability to participate in multiple activities is definitely limited by the flexibility of your school's programs and dirctors. In the highly competitive district we are in, EC activities are limited to 8 hours/wk. practice, which they take full advantage of. It's possible to participate in many activities, but difficult to excel at each, since the practice times may overlap. My daughter is in the band, orchestra, and soccer, but this is possible only because their seasons don't coincide, and the respective directors are somewhat understanding about conflicts. The football coach I hear is not. My daughter dropped club soccer, because she couldn't fit in the 3-4 hours of homework nightly between band practices, soccer practices, and games. The pressure to compete and excel is crazy. Sometimes I think the kids you hear about joining so many activities really did just that - join. Maybe they were really doing their Calculus homework during that student council meeting?
Elleneast- I agree with you about the college sports. Many professors are not fond of students missing class to play sports. I had an anatomy professor who refused to believe I had a lacrosse game, even though I was fully dressed for it (except for the cleats), and demanded I finish dissecting my cat before I could leave!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:40 pm: Edit

No study halls at my son's school - they carry a full schedule every semester unless they get something out of the way over the summer...which would be pretty much impossible because summer school meets at the same time as summer football training.

I guess he's going to have to get used to the idea of doing some homework before school, during lunch, etc. Don't know about doing it in the car - we'll have to see how that works out! (I keep telling my kids I'm going to buy an RV so they can use their commute time to do homework, shower, dress, sleep, etc. LOL!)

Luckily football is over in early November!

By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:48 pm: Edit

"Maybe they were really doing their Calculus homework during that student council meeting?"

I bet my daughter did that a few times during a lull in the discussion.

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