Go big or go home? Not so much when it comes to high school athletics…

Yes, i know, it’s been awhile since I’ve written…spingtime/early summer is a very busy time for our family. One of the topics we often discussed in the car rides to and from practices/games was about high school (my son is just about there) and which is better to attend…smaller or bigger schools in reference to athletics?

My wife and I come from two different sides on this one. I went to a bigger school with a graduating class just shy of 300 kids. I played baseball, basketball, tennis and football in high school and was always good enough to play on the junior varsity but not quite good enough to either make the varsity team or get any playing time. My wife however went to a smaller school…graduating class of about 80 kids. Although she wasn’t involved in sports on the field she kept score for the baseball and basketball teams and has a good working knowledge of small-school sports.

So, why would someone want to go to a big school for athletics? The pluses to it are generally better coaching as well as better talent. If you’re good enough to make these teams and get significant playing time you should improve. And, if you’re one of the “best of the best” the argument is you want to go to a bigger school so you will be seen by scouts for the next level.

The problem with the bigger schools is if you’re not all that good but you want to play sports about your only choice is to play intramurals, provided the school has an intramural sports program.

Now, if you decided to go to a small school there’s less kids coming out for sports, which means more chances to play. And not only in one sport, but multiple sports. However if you’re an elite athlete a small school might not be the ticket because the competition more times than not isn’t as good and more often than not the coaching isn’t as good either. And, you’d be hard pressed to find scouts, etc. at your high school games if you’re at a small school.

So which is better? Well, it all boils down to what type of athlete you are but for the exceptions to the rule the better competition would serve them better at the next level. But for the normal high school athlete a smaller school is a much better opportunity for them to get out on the field. So, ITBHO (in this blogger’s humble opinion) smaller schools are the better fit in terms of athletics.

Disclaimer – we all know sports is a small portion of the equation on where a child should attend school. Student to teacher ratio, school specialties and makeup of the student body and safety while at the school are of the utmost importance. But, since this is a sports blog I’m looking at this angle. Thank you, as always, for reading….



Paul Williams

I am a sports nut who has tried to make the transition from athlete to athletic....err....supporter of my two children and their athletic endeavours. I am also a former sports reporter for The Arlington Times, Marysville Globe, The Skagit Argus and The Coeur d'Alene Press. Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter (@PDub4170).

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