8 Lessons I Learned From Playing High School Sports

Some of my best memories from high school come from playing sports. I was never a star athlete, but I did love playing and being a part of a team. Through the experience, I learned a lot of important lessons that have stuck with me into adulthood.

High school sports might be intimidating (especially tryouts), but participating in them can add a lot to your high school experience. In fact, they may even shape the person you become. Keep scrolling for the lessons I learned.

Volleyball team

(via Shutterstock)

1. It Pays to Take Risks

As I got ready for my freshman year of high school, I planned to try out for the volleyball team. I heard horror stories about how intense the tryout process was, so I was terrified, especially because none of my middle school friends were joining me. Still, I decided to stick with tryouts, even when they proved to be intense as I had feared. And yes, it paid off. I made the team and met some great people in the process.


2. You Don't Have to Be the Best

As much as I enjoyed playing high school volleyball, I was never the best player on the court. In fact, as a junior, I was one of two girls in my grade who ended up on JV instead of varsity. To be honest, I was a little embarrassed by this, especially when I spent a lot of time on the bench. It would have been nice to be good enough to play more, but overall I still really enjoyed that season. Being on the team kept me active, and the team itself had a great vibe.

Group of girls cheering in front of a volleyball net

(via Shutterstock)


3. It's Healthy to Venture Out of Your Usual Social Circle

I got in a fender-bender early on junior year that left me car-less for months—basically my entire volleyball season. This meant I had a major transportation problem, because none of my teammates with cars lived near me, and my parents were too busy to pick me up from all my practices and games. However, my mom soon discovered that the parents of some freshman players who lived near us had a carpool and were willing to let me join.

I was less than thrilled at first. I felt awkward being the odd one out, the random junior in a group of freshman. It turned out to be a fun experience, though. I have fond memories of eating grilled cheese sandwiches together before games and singing old school Celine Dion together in the car.


4. Teamwork Matters

I played volleyball and tennis during high school, and both teams really emphasized teamwork and team building. In volleyball, for example, we had secret buddies that we'd make cards or signs for on game days. In tennis, we always made sure to cheer on whoever was playing. Little gestures like this were great for morale and made us work better together.

Volleyball team holding hands

(via Shutterstock)


5. Good Communication Is So Important

Like in life, communication in team sports is a huge help. In volleyball and in doubles tennis, specifically, quiet courts are a bad thing. If you're not talking, mistakes will happen, whether it be a collision between teammates or a point lost over a ball that no one goes after.


6. Change Isn't a Bad Thing

When I was a sophomore, my two closest friends on the tennis team both made varsity, while I ended up on JV. Not only was I disappointed because I felt like I didn't measure up, I was sad to be left behind. Ironically, though, it ended up being one of my favorite seasons. Without them with me, I got to know my other teammates better and formed new friendships.

Tennis opponents shake hands

(via Shutterstock)


7. Hard Work Pays Off

Even though I made varsity tennis my junior year, I didn't play as well as I wished. To get better, I resolved to practice more during the off-season. I went out and played three or four days a week, thanks in large part to my dad, who made time to play with me. Lo and behold, I got better. I might not have become a pro (not that I expected to), but I did feel more confident during my senior season, and I even won the team's "Most Improved" award.


8. Time Management Takes Practice

High school sports are a huge time commitment, so you have to learn how to balance your time if you want to do well in school. Luckily, time management is a skill you can work on—the more you do it, the better you'll get at it.


Being cut from a high school sports team isn't the end of the world. HERE's a story about what it's like being rejected.