Fair Grove Athletes Balling in Club Sports
April 5, 2023
Throughout the school year, there are many sports at Fair Grove that also offer club alternatives that athletes can participate in to get more involved and experienced in the sports during the off season.
Playing a sport on a club team offers an opportunity to play with other athletes at a higher skill level. Due to it being a club team, the athletes are exposed to high levels of competition, and for the athletes to develop skills in-game that are hard to achieve without that experience of playing on a club team.
Jaelah McDannald (12) plays travel softball on a team out of Springfield, Missouri. She has been on this team for 10 years, while playing softball at Fair Grove for the past four years. McDannald shared that participating in a travel softball team has allowed her to improve drastically in the school alternative of softball, saying that the competition is much higher, as well as the skill level is higher. McDannald stated, “If you want to win you have to get better.”
Playing on a club team allows for athletes to meet other players who also play the sport, and develop closer bonds with their teammates that they might not have originally developed. Greta Arnett (10) has been playing volleyball for eight years, and has been doing club volleyball for three years. She plays at Apex in Springfield, Missouri where she practices twice a week for around two to two and a half hours. She stated, “My favorite part about playing club is meeting new people as well as coaches. The players I play with are from surrounding schools, which later in the regular season, I will play against them! Playing club volleyball has helped me in so many ways. I get to have that experience and playing time, outside of playing in the regular season at FG.”
Blake Winterberg (11) has been participating in club basketball during the summers with All-Missouri Attack, a team of talent from the North Arkansas and Southwestern Missouri area. Winterberg began playing school basketball the first year that it was offered, in the seventh grade, at Hickory Hills Middle School, and has continued to play even after transferring to Fair Grove High School at the start of his Junior Year. All-Missouri Attack practices twice a week, but many athletes on the team also workout individually throughout the week.
Like McDannald, Winterberg appreciates the competitive nature of playing on a club team. Winterberg states, “I think playing for a club team adds an aspect that you don’t get from not playing it. It’s just a completely different atmosphere from school ball and an experience you can’t get without playing AAU. AAU gives you the opportunity to play against the highest level of competition and develop in-game skills that are hard to achieve without the experience.”
Some athletes that participate in club sports, do not play the school counterpart of the sport. Although Nevaeh Lahey (10) plays club volleyball with 417 Athletics, she does not play volleyball for Fair Grove High School. She has been playing club volleyball for over five years every Tuesday and Thursday, improving each year. Lahey commented, “My favorite part of it is meeting new people every season. and getting to work with a different team every year. I feel like I’ve improved through the years with the club and have become better than the season before.”
Playing on a club team offers new experiences and opportunities within the sport that an athlete plays, and is definitely an option for athletes to consider if they are passionate about the sport, and are interested in playing at a higher and more competitive level.