How to Start a Homeschool Sports Program

by Jerry McCall

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Whomp! Swish! Crack!

Homeschool sports are a big hit unless you don’t have a team. So why not begin one! Beginning a homeschool sports program may not be as difficult as you think. Here are a few steps to start your own.

Step One: Why?

Why sports? Why homeschool sports? These are important questions to answer. Athletics give students an opportunity to learn, develop, and excel through competition. They also learn some valuable lessons about training and teamwork. Write your own purpose statement for your program. It will help keep you on track and those who join your program.

Step Two: What Sport(s)?

Choose the sport you want to sponsor. You’ll probably want to begin with just one sport and one or two teams.

The most popular homeschool sport at the present time is basketball. It’s being played by both girls and boys from elementary school through high school. Girls volleyball is gaining in popularity as is boys baseball. There are also programs with flag football, track, golf, tennis, and bowling.

Step Three: Intramural or Interscholastic

You need to consider whether you want your teams to be competitive (interscholastic) or purely recreational (intramural). Both have their place and can be valuable for student athletes.

Intramural competition is a more relaxed environment and offers students within the organization the opportunity to play against each other. Most homeschool programs begin with intramurals for the first year or two. Some fundamentals can be taught at this level and players can scrimmage against each other.

Interscholastic competition provides students an opportunity to test their abilities against students from other programs. Interscholastic competition can build a sense of community among the students in your program and gives students a chance to compete for conference, state, and even national championships.

Step Four: Getting Started

First, find a place to play. You can try church gyms, Christian schools, public schools, or community centers. You may have to schedule practices at odd times when gyms aren’t being heavily used, but interested players and parents are usually glad just to have a chance to play.

Next, find your players. Make phone calls. Put announcements in homeschool newsletters, church bulletins, etc. You’ll probably need a minimum of six players for basketball so you can at least play three on three. Volleyball and baseball probably need a few more players. You may need to collect a registration fee from each player to cover any expenses from equipment, practice jerseys, or gym rental.

When you practice, spend at least some of the time working on skills of the sport. Some students may have a lot of experience in the sport, but everyone needs to go over the basics. If you are a coach by default and you don’t know a great deal about the sport, seek help. Ask for advice from other coaches, read books, and watch videos. Books and videos can be obtained at your library or online at websites such as http://www.syskos.com/coach.htm

Step Five: Making the Jump

At some point you may want to jump up to interscholastic play. Go watch other games of other homeschool teams or local Christian schools to see if you can be competitive with them. Then schedule a game. You might lose badly in your first few games, but don’t get discouraged. Both you and your players will be learning and maybe sometime you can help educate some other new teams! Form a new homeschool team? It will take some time and some effort, but you can do it! So what are you waiting for? Get in the game!

www.geocities.com/Heartland/Garden/4555/ahrd2003/sports.html