Club sports: Are they worth it or not?

Club sports are sports that take place outside of school and typically go on past the standard high school season for the sport an athlete may choose to play. For example, many people, myself included, have played or currently play club volleyball from late fall to late spring. By playing for an extensive amount of time through a club organization, athletes are paying thousands of dollars in tuition costs as well as giving up most, if not all, of his or her free time. But is this worth it for what they are getting out of it? Although some would argue that the amount of money or time lost is not worth it when it comes to anything, I would argue that in the situation of athletics, the answer is yes. 

Not only does playing a club sport give athletes an opportunity to stay familiar with the game after the school season comes to an end, but club sports are giving athletes the opportunity to experience a level of play that the typical high school sport simply cannot give you. Many club teams are given the opportunity to travel all around the state, if not the country, and play in many different tournaments while competing against a wide range of teams, athletes, and talents. This is not to say that high school teams are lacking athletic talent, it is just simply that club teams allow athletes to come face-to-face with new levels of competitive talent in new locations. And by doing so, athletes are finding new opportunities to grow simply because of the new level of play they are facing. Looking back at when my teammates, or even I, first started playing school volleyball compared to just after one club season, the level of growth we have made is almost unreal, and that is simply because of the fact that we were given the opportunity to play with other girls from other schools, against other girls around the state and even the country. 

Because club teams are continuously traveling from place-to-place, as an athlete playing for a club team, you are continuously meeting new people. Now, whether that may be fellow athletes, officials, or coaches, at some point in your travels, you are bound to meet new people. Not only are you meeting new people and creating new connections, but as an athlete traveling to compete at a more competitive level, you are getting your name out there and becoming more known to future factors such as college coaches. By playing a club sport, you are opening up doors for future opportunities that you may not necessarily know. Many college coaches travel to local club competitions to scout future athletes for their college teams. As an athlete, playing, or even being listed on a roaster, at these tournaments may let your name be known to these college coaches. 

Yes, club sports are a lot. I mean, considering the factor that you are paying thousands of dollars and basically signing away just about every last second of your free time, club sports are a huge commitment. But besides these factors, club sports are extremely beneficial to many athletes in many different ways. So a simple answer is yes, club sports are worth it. However, speaking as an athlete who has played both school and club sports, it all depends on what you are looking for in your sport.