School sports focus on teamwork instead of individual players

May 18, 2020 — by Lihi Shoshani

School sports aren’t as popular in the student population since many don’t have enough time to improve as a team


Sophomore Ishaan Bhandari stayed up late April 13 to edit together a video of the sophomore boys on the JV basketball team exercising to background music. His school coaches wanted to bring the players together as well as make sure they were working out during the quarantine.

School sports place a much heavier emphasis on team building compared to club sports, primarily due to the shorter season consisting of fewer games, which allows less time for giving each player individual attention. 

During the fall and spring, Bhandari plays basketball on an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) travel team, Top Flight Elite, but during the winter, he plays JV basketball and connects with his friends more.

“I love the competitive nature of sports and fighting to be the best,” he said. "School sports help more with building team chemistry. I also play a lot smarter and make less mistakes because our team record matters more.”

JV girl soccer coach Joe O’Heir has been coaching at Saratoga for six years, along with club, and has seen the benefits of school sports.

“I believe deeply in supporting high school athletics and I want to give the athletes at Saratoga High the opportunity to be professionally coached and supported,” O’Heir said. “Competing in high school sports was one of my best life experiences and it is important to me personally to give it back to the student athletes at Saratoga.”

He focuses on creating team cohesion in order to allow the team to be as competitive as possible during the short school season. 

Freshman Eva Ruemmler, who plays on the Saratoga Spurs soccer team, said that when she joined the JV soccer team, she had to quickly adjust to a new team and position and get to know new players.

“I particularly enjoy the social aspect of school sports,” Ruemmler said. “Because a new team is formed every year, I find it enjoyable to meet new people who have the same interests as me.” 

She found a large difference from club sports as she could play in a more fun environment with players she’s never met before.

“It was a good experience for me to play with new players and learn their styles of play,” Ruemmler said. “I like to socialize with new people and I definitely enjoy the more competitive spirit.

Also, club sports have much different methods than school sports when coaching and pushing players to be the best. Ruemmler noticed that her club coach, KP Mchombo, prioritizes individual players’ techniques and offers mini sessions outside of regular practice while school coaches rarely focus on individual players except to direct them to their positions on the field.

Club sports usually have a much higher level of intensity that’s evident during practices. Ruemmler finds that there is much more running in her club practices rather than technicalities with specific drills.

She also feels she individually improved more on her club team than she ever did for school.

“I have been playing with my [club teammates] for longer, so I feel I know how they play better than I do with the people who play school soccer,” Ruemmler said. “It’s easier for me to connect passes because I feel more confident when playing club.”

O’Heir said most of this is because of the difference in the number of players trying out. 

“On the club side, the structure of the tiered system allows you to work with players of similar ability levels and you do not have limitations on the player pool as the players can come in from anywhere,” O’Heir said. 


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