When Sports Cut


Shaffer Franklin

At Lake Forest High School, there are a total of 19 women’s sports and 14 men’s sports. Out of those sports, approximately 23 of them cut members. Some of them always cut, and others only cut when they have too many athletes trying out in a season.

I interviewed students and coaches to get their points of view on sports cutting and the effect it has on the team, athletes, and coaches.

“When coaches cut, the athletes hate you for a day. But when a coach keeps an athlete, they hate the coach for the season,” said a coach who would like to remain anonymous.

I sat down with Mrs. Megan Miles, coach of the Girls Gymnastics and Badminton teams, and asked her a few questions about the coaches’ perspective on cutting or not cutting, as she has done both over the years. She stated that the positive of keeping athletes is “[coaches] don’t always know who has potential from tryouts. You don’t get to see how they would develop in just one or two days.” This also helps the athletes because what if at tryouts they are having a bad couple of days, but in reality they could be better than others.”

Miles also stated that athletes may be “great assets with their attitude and helpfulness, not just skill level. A big team is more spirited- more options.” She told me that during her tryouts, she asks girls to get/move the mats or grab other things. The girls who go and do that just because and not complain are the girls she is paying attention to.

Miles and I also discussed the negative of not cutting and keeping everyone on the team. Miles told me that when there are too many kids, there is less time for each athlete and less attention from the coaches. On a team of around 15 students, there are only about three minutes for each athlete to receive instruction. The athletes can not progress as well when there are many kids with varying skill levels- instead of everyone being on approximately the same level. Coaches also find it harder to keep track of all the students, as there are more distractions (for coaches and other teammates). Miles informed me that, on a daily basis, coaches have to consider who can play or compete, as there are only so many spots open. Therefore, there are kids just sitting around.

Miles wishes people knew that there are time demands that impact having extra kids on the team. The amount of instruction from lower levels is more. There are always the athletes who will work hard and some who won’t; that does not depend on the skill level of the team, but it is always harder with a larger team.

Mary King is a senior at the high school and is on the Girls’ Gymnastic and Badminton teams. King has been on the gymnastics team when it has cut and not cut over the past few years.

King states, “A smaller team helps more with team bonding and more time with the coaches. I don’t care if a team cuts, though.”

I asked her why she thinks coaches cut on sports to which she replied, “Because they can’t take everyone. The more cuts there are, the easier it is to improve the team and focus more.”

At tryouts, when athletes know there are going to be cuts, King states that, “[they] are more tense. Although, during the season, there is no big difference.”

Lindsay Folker, also a senior at the high school, was on the Girls; Varsity Field Hockey team this year; however, she had been cut from the team the previous year.

Folker said that getting cut from the varsity team her junior year “helped me see the fact that field hockey wasn’t my sport. But it made me try harder than I ever had before to make the team this year. My relationship with the varsity coach grew, and I became strong.”

Since being on the team this year, Folker told me that going into the season she knew her skill level which gave her a more open mind which allowed her to have more bonding with her teammates. When she got cut junior year, Folker was expecting it. It made her more excited for JV; however, she became slightly upset to see her friends bond on the varsity team. The cut made her more excited for the off-season when she would practice even more than before.

When I asked Folker what she thinks about cuts, she replied, “They are necessary for a successful team. I did not like freshman year when there were no cuts. Once you make it on varsity, it means you’ve earned your place which makes it more rewarding. There are cuts to create a skillful team and to be able to play next level. There needs to be challenges when playing against or with other athletes on the same levels or teams.”

She enjoyed the sport more after being cut. She took a step back and had to really think about if field hockey was worth it… and it was.

Folker prefers a smaller team for bonding, learning others’ skill sets, and playing together. Her advice for other athletes who have been cut is not to let the cut break you down. Have it inspire you to work harder and don’t let it define you.

As the winter season of sports has started and the spring sports will arrive sooner than expected, all athletes should be reminded that being cut is not your story, just a chapter of it. Have the cut inspire you to do what you, the athlete, thinks is best for yourself.