Youth Sports: What Happens When Money Wins?

How much is your kid worth? Surely, there’s no answer to that question; they’re priceless. But what I am seeing in youth sports clubs lately makes me think that priceless is getting more expensive. We’re paying for them to do everything and at younger ages. The gear, the fees, the uniforms, and the professional trainers.

A few years ago a friend and I had a good laugh about a parent who actually brought his nine year old football player for personal training at the local health club. He wanted the kid to get a leg up on the competition. No one is laughing any more. Parents are flocking to “professionals” (defined I guess as people who take money to perform the training) to put their kids through their paces in their sport of choice. And this, on top of three practices a week the kid already attends.

The thinking, I guess, is “if some is good, more must be better.” Let me buy my kid better. If we have the money and want to be responsible parents we are supposed to do all we can for our kids, right? If the kid is bouncing up and down to play more soccer, shoot more hoops, or swim more laps…then maybe it’s right for your kid.

But the trend I see isn’t just with the singular kid, it’s with the whole team or the whole club. They bring in a professional to supplement what the volunteers are doing in the hopes that all the kids will step up to the big time. In competitive sports terms, the big time means: they will win.

And let’s make no mistake, when we pay for something, we expect to get what we pay for. Even if we don’t admit it, when we pay for training we expect our kids to play better. We expect wins.

So, what happens if wins don’t come? Do we find another trainer, another team? Or do we ask, is this as good as my kid is gonna get? is this worth it? Are we insisting he go to practice even though he’s exhausted, has tons of homework and is coming down with a cold because…we paid for it.

Does money leave us “no choice”?

This “professionalism” of the playing field has me nervous because I’m not sure, as parents, we recognize what is driving our decisions about our kid and his play. Every time we write that check  – for training, travel, tournaments – does it say ‘we love you’ to our kids? Or do we think, this better be worth it? Because by the time we’ve funded all of this, we’ve spent what we were saving for college tuition. Now he really needs that college scholarship.

No pressure.

Fit2Finish is happy to share ways to keep your athletes healthy and playing the games they love at no charge. Contact us for more information about developing a team environment that will last kids a life time.



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