New here: sports and homeschooling?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by PlanAhead, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. PlanAhead

    PlanAhead Member

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    Hi everyone. I've been lurking for a couple of months and have learned a TON. I would love some direction for my ds, a homeschooled sophomore. He's a third degree black belt in tae kwon do, loves working out and weight lifting. Our school district prohibits homeschooled high schoolers from participating in public school sports, so we're on our own for club and IM sports. He joined a homeschool cross country team this year for improving his running, being with other friends who also homeschool, and for that all-important "team sport" experience. There are actually a lot of homeschooled students near us, so lots of kids participate and the meets are well-attended. Ds is average speed, can do a 7 min 10 sec mile and hoping to get faster as he continues running. Has done a 6.40, but that was last year, so he's working on it.

    The thing is, he's not a huge running fan and will never be remarkable in that sport. He likes it, but doesn't love it. I'm not sure he's built for it, actually. He's almost 6'1" and in the 190's at 15 years old. The really fast "stand-out" runners are smaller than him with leaner muscles.

    Ds is strong as an ox and can lift really heavy weights, which he enjoys. What do you think of him trying power lifting as a sport for USNA? I'm just looking at the stats that say 91% of admitted students to USNA are varsity athletes, and I'm trying to figure out how to level the playing field in that category.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Can he do both? Or do the seasons overlap too much? One certainly has to learn to put up with doing that which you don't like in the military. Also, running is important in the military whether he's built for it or not. Just my 2 cents. YMMV.
     
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  3. PlanAhead

    PlanAhead Member

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    He'll definitely continue running for the reasons you mentioned and just because he likes the team aspect of it.

    I guess what I'm wondering is if power lifting is something he should invest time into as a sport, rather than just something he does as part of his workout routine. In other words, will it make him athletically competitive for admissions since I'm fairly certain running won't.

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  4. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    You do what you can do but it may help to know a little of the thinking regarding athletics. Since the Academy is valiantly trying to see into the future and betting a $400,000 education in the process, they look at athletics like they look at SAT/ACT scores, i.e. a rough crystal ball. The athletic endeavors that show extended gut-busting effort, physical contact, team work in which each person has a job, a plan to accomplish a goal, a leader to set the pace, and bitter, bitter disappointment in failure are at the top of the list (note how closely this mimics a Marine platoon in action):
    Football, Lacrosse, Rugby, Water Polo, Hockey
    Next would come the sports without (theoretical) physical contact:
    Basketball, Baseball
    Next would come sports without teamwork but would have physical contact:
    Wrestling, Boxing
    Next would come no team and no physical contact (I know many individual sports work as a team but not like the above) but still gut busting effort:
    Track, cross country, swimming,
    Then would come:
    Martial arts, weight lifting, tennis, golf, fencing, and others

    I realize I have left some sports out and you might rearrange a couple but the value of them is roughly that of the above. A captain of one of those sports (assuming the captain really does something) is icing on the cake. At the very least the Admissions Board wants something that shows hard physical activity on a regular basis as every afternoon sports of all sorts are part of midshipman's life. They want to see a candidate used to sweating. Another question that needs an answer is "what did you do physically during the summer?" All the above sports are good but a candidate stacks the cards in his/her favor going for the top of the list. You can impress the Board without any athletics but it had better be a really good story. I had a candidate that only went out for one sport in HS but he more than made up for it in the incredible work he did as a ranch kid raising cattle, plowing, fencing, construction, feeding, running heavy equipment AND running work crews of men older than himself year around (he is in Mother B as we speak).

    The best bet for a home schooled candidate is club sports. I would be cautious about power lifting as a rock hard lifter can find himself well "overweight" for the Academy standards. I have heard (no first hand knowledge) the football players can run into this problem.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
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  5. Ricer

    Ricer Member

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    I am a mom of a daughter applying to USNA. She is sitting here with a letter of assurance to the Academy but not because of any sport. She is well rounded in athletics, academics, arts, and community service. LOA is rare and I believe it to be even rarer when she has no intention and has not been recruited to play any sport for the Academy. She was a 2 season Varsity athlete, did well in soccer but not good enough to play D1. She is good in basketball but not a starter. Her SAT and ACT scores were slightly above the academies average. Her CFA was done at summer seminar and there was room for improvement. She is first in her class and works a job as well.

    So with this said, my opinion is not to focus on a sport but to focus on the whole picture. I believe another benefit for her was that at SS they stressed get the application done early. I believe most of hers was done by mid July and she was medically qualified by end of August. Don't forget the community service this is big! Hope this helps and good luck.
     
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  6. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    A club/intramural sport is fine, as long as it is done consistently and that it is competitive (earn to achieve team captain or equivalent status). I would also suggest to keep the running going -- it doesn't have to be cross-country meets, but your DS should, at least, run on his own and try doing road races maybe once every month or two to show progress. As others have said or hinted, in the military each service has their own physical assessment, which includes running and normally this is the hardest part for a majority -- bottom line, it doesn't get easier.

    I would completely disagree with Spud on the hierarchy of sports because I believe that most have their own, unique challenges and benefits....for example, a cross-country runner who is at mile 4 and about to "give up" (slow down) but pushes himself mentally (something very hard to do) to finish, which then allows his team to finish higher than if he had slowed down; normally are healthy cardio-vascular wise, one of the highest academic teams by the NCAA. I think you can make a very similar argument for swimming. Tennis you have to have precision, accuracy, endurance, if you play doubles, you are working with a teammate, in tandem. Bottom line, each brings their own challenge. I would argue that the Admissions Board doesn't distinguish a lot between sports, especially since they have no clue what that candidate would service select.
     
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  7. 14mccpa

    14mccpa Member

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    Agree with usnabgo08 regarding the "hierarchy" listed above. All sports challenge athletes differently, both mentally and physically. How the individual steps up in the sport(s) they participate in is what matters most. You do not need to be an elite/star athlete, or the captain on one of the "popular" sports teams(football etc), to develop into a great leader.

    Spud: Soccer didn't even make the ranking??
     
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  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I homeschooled my kids and I'll bet you can guess which sport they loved just from my SN.

    You may pm me with specific questions (well, after you have a few more posts). Twins went together to USAFA and are now pilots flying their airframe of choice.
     
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  9. PlanAhead

    PlanAhead Member

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    The above is the sense that we got from ds' BGO. The bigger issue is leadership within the sport.

    Therein lies the next question: how does one show "leadership" in a sport for which there is no captain or student-leader, but only a master (i.e. martial arts)?

    Ds is also looking into judo, which is of course much more physical and full-contact, like what Spud said. But there again, how to show leadership? They train, there are competitions, but these are mostly individual, even if your studio's team competes, the rounds are individual.

    I think for something like track/cross country, although there may be team relays in a meet, mostly they're individual. However, you can have a captain of the team in a sport like that. But martial arts cultivates that respect-for-your-teacher/master-thing, and there really is no mindset within the discipline to be a "team leader". Now, ds is a junior instructor in TKD, so he is responsible for various aspects of warm-ups and training. That's leadership, imo, but not to accomplish a team goal, per se. They're not competing against another team, or trying to score a goal, etc.
     
  10. Navy Dad

    Navy Dad Member

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    Martial Arts can provide wonderful meaningful leadership experience. It is common practice in most Dojos that the higher belts teach the lower belts. After all the best way to learn is to teach someone else. This occurred even more when DS became a black belt. He now teaches entire classes of students. Also as one of the oldest members of the competition team he not only is one of the coaches for the younger kids but he also mentors them. Our Dojo even had a teen leadership program to aid their transition from student to instructor. The right Dojo with a good Youth/Teen program can offer tremendous leadership opportunities that are not available in many other sports.
     
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  11. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Remember, while team captain is a good goal for a leadership activity, it isn't the only one. It is totally reasonable that if TKD can't be made into a "leadership activity," to find another means of showing leadership. I think most people would understand the difficulty of being a "team captain" in TKD.
     
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  12. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I can't believe I missed soccer. My apologies to the soccer jocks.

    I think people are misreading "the list". I said that sports are used as a rough crystal ball like the SAT/ACT test looking at the values that come out of sports that line up with a combat officer. A golfer can have those very personal qualities but his sport cannot illustrate them no matter how good of a golfer he is. That is not to say golf is a bad sport, it is to say that it cannot ILLUSTRATE the values while Rugby or Lacrosse can. So if you want to ILLUSTRATE those officer-like qualities to the Admissions Board, pick the sports towards the top of list. All sports are good but they are not the same......and a candidate is trying to stack the cards in their favor, no?
     
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  13. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Spud, I think the issue is not so much a list, but you are categorizing whether physical contact is a part of the sport and how closely it mimics a Marine platoon. There are different ways to measure grit besides physical contact and I don't think Admissions discriminates between most sports (at least not the way described above). Not all officers that graduate USNA will be "arms distance" away from their enemy (certainly, some could be), so that shouldn't and isn't the standard when it comes to sports. However, as you point out, sports that do require grit (i.e. desire to push themselves/team) and a will to win, are more helpful than those that don't have that.

    I think the best advice is to have candidates get involved in sports that require grit and a will to win (and winning doesn't just mean the opponent)--- physical contact or not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015

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