Shortened high school sports year's impact on club sport athletes

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 22:32:33-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The California Interscholastic Federation and Central Section's announcements on Monday of a delayed sports season brought some hope that local sports will be back at least but the end of the year. But, as they knew making the decision for a shortened two-season model would bring challenges, including some for student-athletes who normally play outside of high school as well.

A big note from that decision was the CIF's allowance for high school athletes to continue competing with their outside teams during their high school seasons. Something that has never been done.

For a dual coach, Amy Parker, who coaches girl's volleyball at Liberty High School and at the club level, she recognizes it's all about the balance of the scheduling for those athletes choosing to compete in both.

“I think it's gonna require you know club coaches and high school coaches on both sides to be able to work together and, you know, maybe have to have some communication in, you know, so that you know we're not running our kids ragged seven days a week or how do we go straight from high school practice to club practice two or three days a week," Parker said.

As Parker puts it, the adults will have to come together for the athlete's benefit.

"Do any of us really want to concede practice time? No." Parker said. "But, you know, you don't want them to get burnt out either."

Other sports such as soccer, baseball, softball and basketball also rely on club competitions for college recruitment like the Amateur Athletic Union. An organization North High's Athletic Director and Boys Basketball Head Coach A.J. Shearon has experience with along with college coaching.

“We feel like at North that we have kind of a unique perspective, where we're able to offer kids exposure to where the AAU thing isn't as big of a deal where I'm more concerned when I'm looking at it from the athletic director, perspective is like the volleyball scene, because club volleyball is such a prominent thing in Bakersfield," Shearon said.

“Our kids get recruited from club, you know, they go to club tournaments that's where the college coaches are because our season is usually the same as theirs," Parker said.

Central Section Commissioner Ryan Tos wanted to ensure athletes had options even though he recognizes that it's not the perfect situation.

“We're not going to be able to come up with a plan to fit, nine months worth of sports in the six months without there being some overlap and some challenges, and some choices that people are going to have to make. And so we understand that's unfortunate, but we're also really hopeful that with the idea, a choice, or an option is better than nothing," Tos said.

Everyone is just trying to stay focused on the positives.

“Those little details about hey you know this kid might have to miss two practices a week because they're on a clock practice or a different sports practice. I think we'll be lucky to have those problems at that point," Shearon said.

“Speaking for my kids like they love High School volleyball, it is so different than club and, you know, they love the atmosphere. They love that people get to watch them and their friends are in the stands," Parker said.

"And, yes, sometimes we're going to have to make some decisions about what's gonna, you know, overpower what, but I think in the long run most of the kids if you ask them will be like, ‘Alright, I can handle this, at least I can do both’."