JV and other development programs prove importance


Junior varsity sports are often overlooked or seen as having lesser importance than varsity athletics. However, junior varsity teams allow valuable learning moments for younger athletes that can build them toward receiving varsity playing time.

Mason Dunnaway is the assistant varsity basketball coach for the Wildcats, and coaches the JV team as well. Having spent a lot of time with JV players, Dunnaway knows the importance of it.

  “Junior varsity teams exist to allow young players in a high school program to develop, learn to compete, deal with wins and losses, plus individual successes and failures. It gives coaching staffs a chance to evaluate how their players are progressing. JV sports are about the young players. Often that’s where they discover whether they really like playing the game or not,” Dunnaway said.

  For most players, JV is the stepping stone that leads to varsity playing time. It’s more of a period of development than anything.

   “Playing JV gets you game ready for when you play varsity as you grow older and better,” freshman basketball guard Kylee Fajen said.

  JV athletics may be a lower level of play, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a waste of time or of any less of importance than varsity.

  When asked about the relationship between JV and varsity, junior basketball guard Deric Flores said,   “Varsity is affected because we help them improve in their game, whether they think that or not. We have a huge impact on their game by scouting the other team and giving them the look at our opponent would give. They help the JV out because their fast pace and amazing ball skills help us improve our skills. Getting pounded by the defense and offense makes it it easier to play against slower-paced teams.”

  Junior varsity holds an important role in the success of all varsity sports. A majority of freshmen don’t play varsity immediately, so the time that they spend developing in JV should be used to the fullest. One day, these same freshmen will be asked to fill in varsity roles, and the experience they receive through JV helps them be at their readiest when that time comes.

  “The most important role of JV programs is helping steer players toward successful varsity careers,” Dunnaway said.

  Although JV is a big part of developing high school athletes, this development can start much sooner.

 In Warsaw, there are opportunities for athletes to improve before they even enter high school. Warsaw Parks and Recreation allows for the city youth to enjoy athletics from a young age, creating leagues and teams for them to play on including baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, and football. This early training is very important because it gives these athletes an advantage over their competition by having extra experience and understanding.

  “In the future, I would like for Parks and Recreation and the high school program to work closely together to promote basketball and promote the fundamental development of the younger kids in the Warsaw area,” Warsaw varsity basketball coach Scott Floyd said.

  Outside of Parks and Recreation, there are travelling teams for athletes to be a part of almost year round.

  Through travel teams, young athletes are exposed to the dedication and time that they’re expected to put in on a consistent basis. Along with this, athletes learn the importance of team chemistry by having to work with people they may not know very well at first, as well as experience the intense level of competition that comes with playing teams from out of town.

  Warsaw Athletic Director Ryan Boyer said travelling teams can be beneficial for high school athletes if the training remains consistent with high school coaching.

   “They can be beneficial if everyone involved is doing it for the right reasons.  It’s very important that the traveling/summer league coach is on the same page as the high school coach,” Boyer said.