BY KAYLA GATES
Trying out for a sports team has become a customary practice in the lives of teen athletes. Although an intense process, undergoing tryouts is crucial to a student’s development as an athlete and a young adult, especially when experienced in a high school setting.
Like most schools, Cooper City High holds tryouts for the majority of its sports teams. The process provides coaches with the opportunity to gain insight on their potential players, assessing their talent and ability to be a team player. Tryouts allow schools to build the strongest teams with the most deserving players.
However, there has been a recent trend among high schools in adopting a no-cut policy. This approach allows any student interested in playing a sport to make a team without undergoing a formal evaluation.
Institutions that have adopted no-cut policies are unable to provide the competitive experience associated with high school athletics. For instance, Hudson High School in Massachusetts, who originally promoted these policies, has since returned to cutting players.
Many athletic organizations point to the system’s benefits toward students. Not only does a lack of tryouts encourage more participation in physical activities, but it eliminates negative experiences usually associated with evaluations. Failing to make a team can foster feelings of disappointment and rejection among young athletes.
However, this is the wrong approach when preparing students for life beyond high school. While athletes may experience temporary benefits in a high school setting, these policies differ sharply from those of the real world.
The National Federation of State High School Associations describes tryouts as “the necessary evil.” While acknowledging the difficulty and emotional impact making cuts can have, the organization understands its importance in the development of students.
When schools fail to cut players from a team, the sport loses its competitive aspect. Athletes don’t have to work hard for a spot on a team, as they are already guaranteed one. While students in these positions may experience a boost of confidence, the feeling comes at the expense of a strong work ethic and competitive nature.
Additionally, no-cut policies create problems for the schools themselves. One issue comes with the quality of athletic programs. No-cut policies have been known to deteriorate a school’s competitive atmosphere. While teams are gaining more players, the talent level has been known to decrease as well.
When considering whether to implement no-cut policies, schools should consider the importance of producing a competitive atmosphere both on and off the field.
Institutions that have adopted no-cut policies are unable to provide the competitive experience associated with high school athletics. For instance, Hudson High School in Massachusetts, who originally promoted these policies, has since returned to cutting players. The Boston Globe reported that students, coaches and parents pushed for cuts in certain sports, believing that the process would make the school’s teams more competitive.
Further, a lack of funding has pushed many schools away from this policy. With no limit on the size of a team, budgets would have to be adjusted to support a large amount of players. Schools adopting no-cut policies might have to add additional teams, which costs money many don’t have.
In fact, The Atlantic found that schools spend an average of $1,300 on each individual athlete. Without tryouts, which would allow coaches to cut down on the size of their teams, schools would be paying more for players with little impact on the success of the program.
Tryouts are a vital aspect of high school athletic programs. Formally evaluating and cutting players has substantial benefits for student athletes and schools alike. When considering whether to implement no-cut policies, schools should consider the importance of producing a competitive atmosphere both on and off the field.
Photo by Cassie Hartmann