As September approaches and summer comes to a close, many high school students have started preparing themselves for the upcoming school year. High school athletes have to be particularly cognizant of their groundwork (especially incoming freshmen since they have yet to enter H.S. life) if they have any plans on trying out for a fall sport.
The Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA) sanctions nine different sports for the fall, 5 girls and 4 boys, with most state high schools participating. They include:
Cross Country Cross Country
This year all nine are allowed to start their official practices this Wednesday August 11th. If an athlete misses this official start date (freshman), there is still a chance that they can try out for a team as long as they show some initiative by contacting the athletic department and/or coach to see if that possibility exists. This needs to be done promptly as coaches start evaluating athletes pretty quickly and many may not take kindly to someone who does not demonstrate a high level of interest and motivation by taking this initiative.
For all sophomores, juniors, and seniors who miss tryouts, well..., you better have a solid explanation for why that happened. This will not be looked on very positively by many coaches, unless, of course, there were some extenuating circumstances.
Other important pieces that athletes will need to have completed before they are allowed to participate on an athletic team are:
Physical - along with the completed form if required by the school.
Athletic Code/Permission Card - signed by both the athlete and parents.
(And please read and understand that you are giving your word that you will abide by this code - that is how coaches and the school will view your signatures. Abiding by this code speaks volumes about one's character.)
Participation Fee - which can range anywhere from around $25.00 to over $200.00 per sport (depending on the district).
The first two, Physical & Athletic Code/Permission Card, will need to be completed and turned in before tryouts; however, the fee payment is usually required before the first competition.
The first contest dates for each sport do vary a little depending on the sport. This year's schedule is listed below:
Boys and Girls Golf: August 16th
Boys Soccer and Cross Country
Girls Tennis, Volleyball,
Swimming and Cross Country: August 23rd
Football: August 27th
I have long argued the positive benefits of competitive athletic sports participation (especially when the "right" lessons are taught) and would encourage parents to support and guide their adolescents toward some level of involvement while they are in high school.
If nothing of interest is offered in the Fall season, there are still a variety of other options open to students during the upcoming Winter and Spring seasons. This is in addition to the many groups and clubs available through many high schools' activities department, usually connected in some way with the athletic department.
Take the time to thoroughly investigate the plethora of opportunities available to today's high schoolers, the positives that can come out of these experiences are life-long in nature.