Importance of school sponsored team sports?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by DallasStar, May 21, 2013.

  1. DallasStar

    DallasStar DallasStar

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know that being athletic is important for the AF Academy, but just how important are actual school team sports?

    We have a daughter who is young, but determined that she wants to attend the Academy. Academically, she is right where she probably needs to be for her age. She is in middle school (8th grade), attending a magnet school focused on STEM, and is on their GT track. She has taken Algebra, Geometry and is currently in Algebra II. All her other academic classes are Honors level as well. She makes excellent grades.

    She has tried many team sports, and hasn't really enjoyed any of them. She is athletic, however. She has taken Karate since she was six years old and is on target to get her black belt before she is finished with high school, or soon after. The Karate school doesn't do competitions, however. They prefer to focus on their skills than competing. She also studies fencing, and has been asked to join the fencing school's competitive team next year. This will give her a sport, just not a school sponsored sport.

    So is it important that she has 'lettered' in a school sport, or are non-school activities weighed equally?

    Thank you for reading.
     
  2. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is based off what I have learned during my application process. I cannot confirm anything as full fact, but I will do my best to give you an answer based off of my experiences.

    The application review is done in a "full person" sort of way. So ask your self, if you saw two identical applications, one with fencing listed as a school sport and one with it not, would it really make much of a difference? Many students get involved in out of school sports such as travelling teams. Others that are home schooled have no choice but to get involved in out of school sports since they do not have any to begin with!

    In my opinion, the sport needs to belong to somebody (such as a travelling team or athletic association) but not necessarily the school.

    Also, has she tried track? Track has a great way of demonstrating physical ability. It is not quite a team sport compared to say, wrestling, but other things on an application can show team work such as volunteer work or club activities.
     
  3. lisah

    lisah Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    2
    As far as I can tell...there is no NCAA Div1 Karate teams.

    The USAFA DOES have a formidable Div1 fencing team. She is at a great age to start fencing competitions at the local and state level. She does not need to be on a high school team to do this. Check into the local fencing salons. She can work toward National rankings...and thus would be highly competitive for a recruited spot on the fencing team.

    There are an impressive array of Div1 fencing colleges: Yale, Harvard, Ohio St, Penn St, U of Penn, Cornell, Notre Dame, Stanford.....

    en guard!
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,544
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    First I can't give you an official or even semi-official answer to your question. Are non-school sports considered? Yes. Are they considered equally? Perhaps, perhaps not. Here's what they look at in sports participation. Athleticism? Check. Teamwork? Team Sport? Check. Consistency (all 4 years of high school)? Check. Competition? Check. I fenced a bit in college. I know its actually a tough sport. Was for me anyway. But it's not going to check, at least, the teamwork box. It's probably not going to get real high marks for athleticism but I may be wrong about that one. I'm sure there are other aspects, like leadership, that I'm not considering here. Just my $0.02. YMMV.

    All that being said, your DD shouldn't do a sport just to do a sport. It needs to be something she's interested in.
     
  5. lisah

    lisah Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    2
    oh, golly sakes...I gotta respond to the question of fencing as 'athleticism'.

    It is at once an aerobic and anaerobic beast. Plus..the mental and strategic side cannot be denied. ("Physical Chess")

    There is also a strong component of team-sport. How doya think the NCAA school rankings occur? Currently, I believe Ohio St is #1 this year. The 'team' are men and women competing in three weapon categories. Points from YOUR bout add up for the team. There is strategy re: who to 'send-in' against any particular opponent, any particular weapon. There is strategy and research to understand your opponent and their strengths/weaknesses, etc. it is quite the intellectual sport...perfect for the military mind.

    yup, it appears to be a genteel sport (white knickers and all), but it can be vicious. BTW, the tip of the fencing blade is the second fastest object in the Olympics (vs bullet).

    try not to draw blood......!
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,852
    Likes Received:
    342
    Hi!

    I have worked with many candidates that were athletes in school and many that were athletes outside of school. Some were successful, some weren't successful.

    It really seemed that where the sport/activity "was" played little in the overall decision of USAFA: the fact they were involved, had the "entire package" and were an "all around candidate" seemed to be the most important.

    So...if karate is her thing, then have her fully involved: sparring, forms, training younger members of her dojo, etc. It'd be great if the school went to competitions; check the area to see if there are any "open" competitions accepting ranked students. If that's not possible, then do the demonstrations for schools, etc., and get the community service into the picture with it!

    And that will help build the package...

    LOTS of ways to make the most of all situations!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. AFRet

    AFRet USAF (RET)

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    In our situation, I would say high school sports, specifically varsity level, was EXTREMELY important - apparently the deciding factor. There are so many variables, but varsity sports seems to have clearly made the difference in our large school which had three extremely qualified and 1 barely qualified USAFA candidate. Out of the three extremely qualified candidates, the only one with a varsity sport was appointed. The other two had other sports (including one with freshman and JV HS sports) and well above average CFAs, but were not appointed. The barely qualified candidate also had a varsity sport and was appointed after initially being offered prep school.
     
  8. John41057

    John41057 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sports

    Hi
    The academy is no different than any other division one university in the fact that they want to put together the best teams possible to represent the academy. If you meet the educational requirements and other requirements but you are also the type of athletic the academy wants in their program. It will go a very long way toward getting an appointment. My DS was a blue-chip athletic and it provided him with many opportunities at several high quality D-1 universities. He wanted to be at the academy and his ability and the fact the coach really wanted him, made it happen. Remember though, my DS still had to excel in high school and in all aspects the academy deemed important. But still his sports got him his appointment. So even if you don't play high school sports, if you are good enough in your sport to be competitive and earn recognition. It can only help your application. Also I understand the academy drafts for all their sports and even band.
    Regards
    John
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    940
    I agree with flieger, as always :shake: Think outside the box.

    Our boys did TKD. Our eldest competed on a state and national level. They both had their black belts within 3 yrs., it shouldn't take 8 -10 yrs to get her 1st degree black belt. That being said, competitive TKD is very competitive. DS trained yr round @5 hrs a week, and this was on top of attending class at least 2x a week. Plus he was required to summer camp...away from home for 2 weeks. At his dojo, all competition team members were also required to also teach at least 1 class a week. This gave him leadership in his file too. In the end he was able to place in his file that he was 2X state champ, and a national champ in TKD with leadership.

    The AFA accepted this as a sport for him, but as I stated competing on this level is intense and like any traveling team sport, expect a lot of time in the car traveling to meets. In competition season, it is typically every Sat., and than if they win states, they are eligible to compete nationally, which can mean traveling a long car ride....we were in VA. One yr it was held in GA, and the next yr it was in MN., the yr after that it was in NC. It can become very expensive. It has been yrs for our boys, but if I recall correctly it was $100 per competition. They also will go through their gear much faster than normal. He went through new gear about 1x a yr. They also wore different uniforms than their school uniforms for the matches. Now add in gas, and if you make it to nationals, hotels, plus monthly TKD, it is several hundred a month during the season. I only say that because not everyone can afford to do it at this level. I think for us it probably avg about 400-500 a month from Mar-Sept.

    Our DS was a lifeguard as his job. The job showed athleticism and leadership. He placed in his profile that he had 23 saves and was in charge of 12 guards. He was also a guard for 3 yrs.

    He did both of these things for a long time,basically his entire hs career, which showed the AFA commitment too, that is something the AFA also likes to see with their applicants.

    Finally, fencersmother's DS was recruited for fencing at the AFA. Thus, that will look good too.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  10. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    0
    For what it's worth, my school did not offer organized athletics of any kind, so everything I did was on my own outside. However, there was a national governing body for the sport through which I could do competitions and not just work on "skills". Now I have my ticket in the 2017 class. I don't know if there is such a body for karate, but if there is, it might be an idea to start competing (isn't that what one trains for anyway?). If your daughter excels in competition, that will only help her all the more.
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Messages:
    900
    Likes Received:
    40
    I agree with Flieger and Pima as well. Get outside the box.

    DS was homeschooled during high school. Kentucky homeschoolers are not allowed to participate on high school teams. However, DS swam competitively from age 8 through 18. He competed at the State and Section Levels with morning, afternoon and Saturday practices and lots of weekend swim meets. It seems like the key is to find a sport and dive fully into it. Focusing heavily on one seems to be much better from USAFA's perspective than trying lots of sports with minimal or moderate participation/commitment.
     
  12. never ever alone

    never ever alone Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    DallasStar - sent you a PM
     
  13. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    I do think USAFA does recognize the importance of teamwork and being a member of a sports team. If she really doesn't like the whole team sports thing, this teamwork aspect of the application could most probably be covered by involvement in school clubs. There is a D1 fencing team at USAFA so getting really involved in fencing during high school could led to being a recruited IC, which certainly wouldn't hurt the application. But, as previously said, make sure she's doing whatever sport because she enjoys it!
     
  14. soccerchic

    soccerchic Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    7
    I found this interesting as a band geek. :redface: Anyone have insight on id this is true or not. Advice?
     
  15. stella

    stella Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0
    band and sports

    We have 'heard' that none of the SAs recruit for band. Involvement can help your application in that you can use band to show a commitment to a long term interest and team work...and sometimes leadership depending upon your role (section lead, drum major, etc.). We have also heard that USUALLY it is not hard to join any of the bands at SAs, even if you don't have much experience.

    We were told also, however, to not do band to the exclusion of sports. For instance, if you march in the fall and cannot do a fall or even winter sport, you should still make time to be competing in athletics in the spring every year. Not only does that help you to be well rounded and fit, but it also shows your ability to get along with a very diverse group of kids as in high school, even today, often there can be a division between band kids and athletes.

    Hope others with direct experience chime in.
    S
     
  16. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    57
    No, SAs do not recruit for band. USAFA has Drum and Bugle Corps which pretty much anyone can join (no experience is really required, just some musical ability) and that is a LOS status club that is a large time commitment (they play for basketball, football, cadet parades, etc, there is a thread with details on here somewhere). For those of us who played other instruments, there is the cadet orchestra (a club that meets once a week and is just to give us all an opportunity to play). The reason I bring this up is that there are a lot of VERY accomplished musicians that attend USAFA. We had a couple piano players who got auditions at Juliard that I know of, along with enough players to create an orchestra where we can pretty much sight read a concert (which due to the limited practice time has been known to happen to some of us...). In that group we had an IC gymnast/french horn player with a double major in math and chemistry, an IC tennis player w/ a math and physics double.

    Other band opportunities include the struggling jazz band (hadn't really gotten enough interest to get going while I was there, maybe one of you 2017ers will give it the kick it needs) and the show choir band (providing back up for the USAFA show choir Echelon).

    In short, there are opportunities for band nerds, but it is always going to be something extra, and you should also be an athlete (No, marching band is not a sport, although sometimes it felt like it)
     
  17. stella

    stella Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0
    LOS status club

    Can you explain what LOS status club means?
    Also, if you do band or another LOS status club, can you still play an IC sport or at least do intramurals? If not, is there an issue with keeping in shape (the time and means to do so with a group rather than just individual workouts)?
     
  18. soccerchic

    soccerchic Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    7
    Thanks USAFA10! Too bad trombone isn't in D&B
     
  19. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    57
    LOS = Limited On Season, and IC teams are too much work for about 95% of cadets to even think about extra stuff. When I was playing tennis, if I got enough time to sleep I was happy, an LOS sport or band would be impossible, but a once a week club like orchestra, possible with a lot of dedication. Back to LOS, what that means is instead of intramurals you do your LOS sport/club. Trust me, intramurals are not usually a great workout and are not a replacement for solid individual workouts.

    As for "enough time" it is all about priorities. There is enough time for everything you deem important enough to make time for.
     
  20. DallasStar

    DallasStar DallasStar

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks to everyone for your comments and replies.

    I'm glad to know that she would still have a chance without a school sponsored sport. Her school is a STEM focused school and they actually have very few sports that are offered anyway. I know that we've read that would also be taken into account as well.

    She is really excited about the fencing team, even though it means more practice time. I know that she'd argue that it was very much a sport. More importantly, she enjoys it and will have fun with it.

    As far as other leadership goes, she helps teach a Karate class for Elementary students once a week before her own class, and she is also one of three Girl Scout Cadettes that run a Daisy troop for one of the local elementary schools with 10 kindergarteners. They couldn't find an adult to run the Daisy troop at the beginning of the year, and my girl and two of her troop friends volunteered to run the troop. Obviously adults are present at the meeting, but the girls plan them, gather supplies and run the meetings themselves. They've already agreed to run the troop again next year as well. She is also a leader on her FIRST LEGO League (LEGO Mindstorm Robotics) team. Hopefully that is at least a good start.

    Thanks again for your help. I've enjoyed reading this board and I'm sure that if my daughter continues with her plans to attend the Air Force Academy, it will be invaluable in a few years.
     

Share This Page