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7 High School Sports That Deserve More Attention

August 13, 2015 - TCO

7 High School Sports That Deserve More Attention

It’s a great time to be a kid in Minnesota! Access to unique sports and activities continues to grow every year, giving kids who may not be interested or skilled in the “traditional” sports an opportunity to compete in something else. At Twin Cities Orthopedics, we support athletes of all shapes and sizes, and want to encourage everyone to find an activity they love. Even though they don’t always get the news coverage or big pep rallies, it’s about time we give credit to the boys and girls who practice just as hard, compete just as hard, and celebrate just as hard as the kids in the more “popular” sports.

Part of the reason certain sports don’t receive more attention is simply because people don’t understand them. Together, we can change that!

Buckle up everyone, because we’re taking you on a crash course through some of the most underrated and incredibly fun sports that kids in Minnesota are playing this year.


1. Adapted Soccer

Season: Fall

There are two categories of adapted soccer, PI (physical impairment) and CI (cognitive impairment). Played during the Fall athletic season, adapted soccer gets its name from being adapted for playing inside a gymnasium, rather than an outdoor field.

Interesting facts about adapted soccer

– There’s definitely home-field advantage, because the size of the field varies from gymnasium to gymnasium. For instance, if the gym is a really small rectangle, the ball may be played off the walls!
– Athletes use a felt-covered indoor soccer ball, size 5.
– Each team may designate a captain, who is responsible for his or her team’s actions on the field.
– There is no offside.
– For players who use their hands to move the ball, they must bat, push, or propel the ball in a way that is comparable to a kick. The ball must be rolling, and grabbing/throwing is illegal. For players who use their legs to move the ball, the use of hands is illegal.

For more information, including sign-up forms, please visit the official MSHSL CI Division page or PI Division page.


2. Synchronized Swimming

Season: Spring

The sport of synchronized swimming is a Summer Olympic sport, which can trace its origins back to the late 1800s. A synchronized swimming meet consists of a “figure” competition, which tests the technical aptitude of individual swimmers, as well as a “routine” competition, which is scored on both technical merit and artistic impression. If it sounds a little confusing, you’re not alone. Many people consider synchronized swimming to be one of the most difficult sports for judges to master. Not to mention the swimming, which all happens in at least 9 feet of water!

Interesting facts about synchronized swimming

– The pool must be at least 9 feet deep.
– Competitors are only allowed to wear a black one-piece suit and white swim cap – no school emblems!
– Only the top 7 competitors in the “figure” competition score points. (7pts for 1st place, 6pts for 2nd place, etc. until just 1pt for 7th place)
– Like it says above, judging is hard!

“Technical Merit” includes: Execution (how they do what they do), Synchronization (with each other and with music), and Difficulty (how hard is the routine?)

“Artistic Impression” includes: Choreography (variety, creativity, pool patterns, transitions, fluidity), Music Interpretation (use and interpretation of the dynamics of the music), and Manner of Presentation (projection, poise, charisma, total command of performance)

For more information, including sign-up forms, please visit the official MSHSL Synchronized Swimming page.


3. Nordic Ski Racing

Season: Winter

Nordic ski racing, also called cross-country skiing, is a winter sport in which athletes propel themselves through a 5km (3.11mi) race course made up of uphill, downhill, and flat sections of snowy terrain. Racers can reach speeds of up to 40+ mph downhill, so all-around strength, agility, and athleticism is required. It’s a great high school sport, and an activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Interesting facts about nordic ski racing

– Teams may enter up to 7 skiers for each race
– It is legal to run alongside the racers shouting encouragement, but only for a maximum distance of 30 meters
– Although elite athletes may represent their foreign national teams, they may not wear any logos or colors other than their high school team uniform
– If you’re really “in the know,” you can just refer to the sport as XC skiing (X = cross and C = country)
– The State Tournament takes place up north at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, MN on February 11th, 2016.

For more information, including sign-up forms, please visit the official MSHSL Nordic Ski Racing page for girls or boys.


 4. Adapted Floor Hockey

Season: Winter

Adapted floor hockey is a fast-paced game similar to ice hockey, only the rink is a gymnasium and players don’t wear skates. Just like in adapted soccer, there are two divisions: CI (cognitive impairment) and PI (physical impairment). Games can get pretty intense, so there is an emphasis first and foremost on good sportsmanship. Body checking is not permitted.

Interesting facts about adapted floor hockey

– A felt puck is used, and may have orange or red tape crisscrossed around the top and bottom
– The goal is 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall, the same as an ice hockey net
– Like ice hockey, there are 6 players per team at a time (goalie, right defense, left defense, right wing, left wing, center)
– The center is indicated by tape markings on his/her stick, and is the only player allowed to move the full length of the court
– There is no limit to the number of players who may dress for and play in a regular season game, so keep ‘em coming!
– In the post-season tournament, however, a maximum of 20 players, 3 coaches, and 2 managers are allowed.

For more information, including sign-up forms, please visit the official MSHSL CI Division page or PI Division page.


5. Lacrosse

Season: Spring

Youth lacrosse participation is increasing rapidly, and as a result we’re seeing more high school, college, and professional teams than ever before. Still, many people aren’t familiar with the sport. Lacrosse is an intense, physical team sport played between two teams using a small rubber ball (slightly smaller than a baseball) and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick. On the end of the stick is a string “pocket,” which looks like a net. The pocket is used to catch, cradle, and throw the ball past the goalie and into the goal. It sounds a lot easier than it actually is!

Interesting facts about lacrosse

– The game is often referred to as “the fastest game on two feet”
– While injuries can and do occur in lacrosse, the game has evolved with an emphasis on safety. The rate and severity of injury in lacrosse has been ranked by the – NCAA safety committee as one of the top third safest of s
– Rules differ pretty significantly between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse. Most notably, aggressive stick checking and body contact are illegal in girls’ lacrosse, but legal in boys’ lacrosse.
– Although they sound fun, foam mohawks and GoPros are not allowed on a player’s helmet
– Lacrosse players will think this is hilarious

For more information, including sign-up forms, please visit the official MSHSL Lacrosse page for girls or boys.


6. Adapted Softball

Season: Spring

Adapted softball is played indoors, on a field at least as big as a basketball court, and just like in adapted soccer and adapted floor hockey, there are two divisions, CI & PI. Many of the basic rules of traditional softball apply; games are 7 innings long, and the team who scores the most runs wins. However, there are many slight adjustments to rules and equipment. For example, a 12” wiffle ball is used instead of a hard softball, and a hollow plastic bat is used instead of aluminum. Being a spectator for adapted softball is especially fun because sound is amplified indoors, and balls can bounce anywhere!

Interesting facts about Adapted Softball

– Up to 11 players may bat for a team, but only 10 may play in the field at a time
– A team may only score up to 5 runs per inning, unless it’s the 5th, 6th, or 7th inning and the losing team is mounting a comeback!
– Players may hit off a tee, as long as they let the umpire know before the game
– Even if a ball is hit off the ceiling, the fielders can still catch it for an out!

For more information, including sign-up forms, please visit the official MSHSL CI Division page or PI Division page.


7. Dance Team

Season: Winter

Competitive dance teams put in exhausting hours of practice working on difficult, detailed routines that require strength, agility, flexibility, and body control. You’ve likely seen some of the amazing routines that Minnesota high school teams perform, and what’s really impressive is that they had to learn, refine, and perfect these routines in only a couple of months! Coaches are not allowed to coach or instruct in the skills, techniques, or strategies of dance outside of the winter competitive season, which (in total) is only 17 weeks.

Interesting facts about Dance Team

– There are two divisions: Jazz and High Kick
– High Kick requires a 3-3½ minute routine, with up to 34 competing members
– Jazz requires a 2½-3 minute routine, with up to 26 competing members
– Teams are judged on a wide variety of criteria, including execution and precision, choreography, difficulty of routine, kick height, and much more!

For more information, please visit the official MSHSL Dance Team page.


In addition to providing all patients in the Twin Cities metro with access to world-class sports medicine physicians and procedures, Twin Cities Orthopedics is also the official sports medicine provider for several local high schools, including Apple Valley, Edina, Eastview, Eagan, Rosemount, and Blake. Our mission is to go beyond treatment, and make sure we are educating young athletes (in EVERY sport) about injury prevention, proper training techniques, nutrition, and ways to ensure long-term health and success.