Zebra Tales
Maddie '24

Playing Club Sports While Living at School

One of the most common questions I get while attending boarding school as an athlete is, "How do you continue to play club sports?"
Club sports are tricky because I have to balance them with the athletic requirement, two varsity sports, on top of schoolwork. This is made all the more difficult by the fact that I live at school. But do not be discouraged! A significant number of Groton students play club sports, including people who live out of state, and even in other countries.

The first order of business is figuring out when and how to get to practices. Every team I have played for sets practices later at night, after Groton sports have finished, so I make it to one or two practices a week in the off season, without missing anything at school. Because I live near school, my mom takes me to most practices and games. For those students who live in another state or country, it is common to join a club that other Groton students are already a part of so that everyone can carpool! Day students are also an excellent resource because they almost always have access to a car. For example, my Third Form prefect drove me to skills sessions every Monday of fall term because we had the same coach. As a new freshman, this meant the world to me, and Monday nights were something I looked forward to every week. 

Games and tournaments are particularly hard to manage and schedule, specifically because of Saturday classes and Groton sports games. In Lower School, we are required to participate in an athletic activity during all three terms. I play school soccer in the fall, school basketball in the winter, and then a lower commitment activity in the spring while I play club sports. Some examples of what constitutes a "lower commitment" include strength and conditioning, yoga, and thirds tennis. This way, my club sports and varsity school sports do not overlap.

Saturday classes are the biggest hurdle when it comes to playing club sports. For those who are serious about playing in college, it is common to miss Saturday classes a couple times a month when their club sport is in season. I have found that with good communication, teachers are very accommodating. They have shared their lesson plans and lecture notes. I always ask other people in my classes for their notes, and have never had a problem making up for the time that I miss. 

Overall, I can confidently say that playing club sports has not detracted from my experience at Groton, nor has it negatively effected the quality of my education. My advice is to keep an open mind and do not to assume that going to boarding school means you have to give up doing things that you love!