As freshmen, one of the most exciting yet nerve wracking moments is trying out for the sports team offered every season. However, the competition is tougher, the expectations are higher, and the amount of skill required is greater at the high school level.
The difference between middle school and high school sports is, without a doubt, substantial and oftentimes daunting to those not used to the high intensity. The mental and physical strength required to endure the vigor of a high school sport, particularly those of varsity teams, is much higher than expected of middle school teams.
As expected, the difference in skill between veteran upperclassmen and freshmen was something mentioned by both Gabriel Myong (9) and Justin Chung (9). However, both understood that skill would ultimately come with time, practice, and experience as they grew as athletes, and instead noted that the vigor and intensity of the sports was the main difference between middle and high school athletics. “The middle schoolers tend to have plenty of skill, but not as much speed and strength,” Gabe added. In agreement, Justin explained that in high school, sports are “a lot more intense and fast paced,” going further to say that “the competitiveness is incomparable” between the two.
In addition, Renee Chang (9), a player on both JV volleyball and basketball, revealed that the biggest adjustment she had to make was the concept of trying out to get on a team as well as the dedication and responsibility needed to take part in high school athletics. “You have to be a lot more flexible” with your schedule, she added, “because it takes up a majority of your time.” From 6:00 AM morning practice to missing school due to away games, overnights, and overseas conferences, being a part of a sport at the high school level definitely requires both passion and commitment.
The aspect that really stood out to all three freshmen, however, was how seriously sports were taken in high school. Renee explained that in middle school KAIAC, the team was made on a first come first serve basis, and so adjusting to the idea of week-long tryouts and cuts each night was “a lot more tough.” Adding onto that idea, both boys revealed that the level of competitiveness increased by a tenfold, especially considering around 70 boys turned out to basketball tryouts in which only 24 positions were open. Not only that, but the competition between schools is also greater, which was something the freshmen had to familiarize themselves with. Justin even added that the players, the coaches, and even the fans have a stronger desire to win.
Though stepping into the gym on the first day of tryouts as a timid freshman can be quite tough, for those interesting in playing sports at a more competitive level, I would highly recommend you do so. As a returning varsity basketball player, I have never been more grateful to have a bond so close with the people that you share your passions with and a place to escape all of the academic stressors from school. The adjustment into high school sports might be challenging, but give it some time and you will for sure reap the benefits of being on a team at the JV or varsity level.