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Anyone have a very talented athlete just quit their sport?

buffmombuffmom Posts: 38Registered User New Member
edited September 2010 in Parent Cafe
My son is going to be a recruited athlete this coming summer (he is a junior) and is thinking about quitting his sport ...too many years of too much work and no "life"... he thinks he doesn't want to stick around and see what the college level will be like.
We can't make him continue if he doesn't want to but we hate to see him give it all up without just seeing what a colllege team would be like. Any suggestions from parents....the sport is swimming.
Post edited by buffmom on
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Replies to: Anyone have a very talented athlete just quit their sport?

  • emgamacemgamac Posts: 307Registered User Member
    D is not a college level athlete but ran track from the fifth grade through senior year in high school. She is currently at a Division One college and the male swimmer across the hall from her has no life, according to her. He is out of the dorm early and in the pool for hours before class. Gym in the afternoon.Class. Pool. Study and repeat. Athletes at her school get no break in the work load or extended deadlines for coursework when then travel. He should decide now if he wants to pursue his sport during his senior year and beyond. It's a tough choice but it is his choice.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Posts: 17,169Registered User Senior Member
    "he thinks he doesn't want to stick around and see what the college level will be like."

    He probably already knows what to expect from college athletics - collegiate athletes often train with their home team during breaks and talk about their life to their younger teammates.
  • blueiguanablueiguana Posts: 7,496Registered User Senior Member
    Swimming's a beast of a sport! I see kids at the hs run totally ragged physically and emotionally from that sport more than another. Not sure why. I'm sure some of it is the 3am wake up calls to swim in February with a foot of snow on the ground before school. Yes, the temperature of the pool is the same as September, however emotionally is is more punishing. This is nothing you do not know.

    Does he have a coach that he's close to that you could talk to to try to gauge his feelings during training? Is there anything you don't know about that needs to be factored in? The coach may also be able to talk to your son and judge if he is willing and/or able to continue on through the recruitment process. At this point your son may simply see a year as an eternity as opposed to a bridge to the next phase. Once he talks to the college coaches, visits the schools, and sees the red carpet roll out, he may develop the steam to finish the year and move on to college level competition.

    The fact that you realize that it has to be his decision and you can not force this speaks volumes. You are an understanding parent who seems to want the best for your son. You are stuck between not wanting him to look back and regret never having time to have fun in hs, vs worrying he will look back and regret that he didn't try to go on and compete in college. Being a parent is hard!! I'm sure you will find the right balance and help guide him in making the right decision for himself.
  • glowormgloworm Posts: 2,271Registered User Senior Member
    One of the reasons my D chose the college she did was because the coach was OK with her not playing her 3rd year due to study abroad. She just told me the other day on Skype that she may not play next year as a senior. I am sad, but what can I do? There will be a different coach when she returns, so that may have something to do with it.

    It is very time consuming to play a college sport.
  • tom1944tom1944 Posts: 5,337Registered User Senior Member
    My niece was an All State athlete in two sports and decided to play neither in college.
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Posts: 17,202Registered User Senior Member
    Happens very, very frequently- especially in swimming. Lots of burn out. Many recruited college athletes (especially non-scholarship ones) quit after a season. I know a Penn swimmer who quite before the first season even started.
  • MyLBMyLB Posts: 1,102Registered User Senior Member
    Definitely been there. This is tough on the parents. Try to keep in mind this is his life, his decision. (I sometimes have to remind myself it's not like he was ever going to be a professional <fill in the sport>.)
  • jpm50jpm50 Posts: 683Registered User Member
    OP:
    This is very common. Give your son credit for coming to this realization before he gets pulled into the college recruitment process.

    If you think you're feeling disappointed now, it's 100 times better than seeing your son be miserable at college giving his life to a sport that he no longer loves.
  • momjrmomjr Posts: 2,134Registered User Senior Member
    I've seen several students who picked a college based on a sport who ended up unhappy. I know it's hard to let go of your dream for him, but it sounds like he's making an informed choice. This will allow him the chance to branch out and pursure other opportunities. It will also allow him to choose a college based on academic and social fit.
  • ADadADad Posts: 4,920Registered User Senior Member
    Perhaps a change of clubs would be worth considering.
  • ebeeeeeebeeeee Posts: 5,199Registered User Senior Member
    DH was a recruited athlete and one of the best in the country at his sport when he was 16. He went off to college on a scholarship. Halfway through he walked away from a practice, went to his room, packed and withdrew from school. The pressure of the sport, combined with unhappiness, combined with some exposure to pros in his sport where it was clear that he probably couldn't go pro added up. If your S is tired of "no life" the college life with sports won't be better :)
    Better to have your S go through this now then later.
  • swanson threeswanson three Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    I am the parent of 3 swimmers, 2 are currently swimming for competitive Div III teams. While I do not know the specifics of your son's situation, I know that in my area it is not unusual for middle school and high school swimmers to practice 16-20 hours per week in addition to their school work and their high school teams. The culture of certain clubs is such that those who don't adhere to the practice requirements can be ostracized. This type of schedule leaves very little time for homework, sleep, and a high school social life. When a student reaches their junior and senior year in high school, the social life picks up and they want to be a part of it.....and they should be.
    My college age son wanted to quit near the end of the season sophomore year. With coach and family support, he finished out the season. To my surprise, he decided to swim again this year and senior year as well. He realized that he did not have to swim, no one was making him, but there were things that he enjoyed about swimming that he did not want to give up. The team aspect of college swimming-traditions, parties, team bonding-can be a lot of fun and really differs from club swimming.
    Your son might want to switch club teams. I know this can be very difficult, especially if the move is to a less prestigious club but I have seen this happen with good result. Find a club that will work with him and help him figure out what he wants to do. He could take the long course season off. Sometimes swimmers who take time off miss swimming and return with a new appreciation for the sport. Lastly, he could quit now, and depending on the school, return to the sport in college. Of course, the latter would depend on how competitive his times are.
  • UMDADUMDAD Posts: 1,377Registered User Senior Member
    D was a potential D-III soccer player and had a few offers from schools that promised academics alway came first.

    She went to a D-I school and ended up playing club rugby - loved it. The camraderie and physical activity of an organized sport without the pressure of varsity and the mayhem that is often IM.

    Many top former athletes find a compatible home in club sports.
  • intparentintparent Posts: 13,839Registered User Senior Member
    My D was a high school volleyball player, captain of her HS team. She talked with coaches at every school she applied to (DIII). In the end she decided not to play at the college level, even though several of the coaches wanted her on their team. She had some knee problems (not enough to require surgery, but enough to keep her off the court for a couple of week) her senior year, and decided not to risk further/long term injury. I think she was also tired of having it dominate her time, and she knew that playing would also dictate a lot of her college friendships. She has found plenty of other interesting activities at college, and has played intramurual volleyball for fun.
  • swanson threeswanson three Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    club water polo!
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