There is no denying the many benefits that come from playing youth sports. Both team sports like baseball and soccer, as well as individual sports like tennis and swimming, teach kids the value of hard work, how to win and lose gracefully, encourage an active lifestyle and much more. But youth sports, like everything else is life, is not “perfect.” There are plenty of things youth sports can’t do for your child and your family and it’s important to recognize those going in so you can just enjoy the season for itself.
Here are 3 things youth sports are not:
1. Youth sports are not a guaranteed ticket to college.
According to the NCAA, less than one in 16 of all senior boys playing high school football will go on to play in college. Many sports parents dream of athletic scholarships paying for their child’s college degree but the odds, unfortunately, are just not in your favor. That’s not to say that your child can’t be one of the lucky few but it’s not something you can count on. Plenty of incredibly talented kids get hurt in high school, decide they don’t want to play in college, can’t get in front of the right scouts and so forth—there are a million and one factors working against you and your youth athlete. And even if your child does get recruited by a school there is still no guarantee of a full-ride athletic scholarship.
2. Youth sports are not YOUR second chance.
You may have loved playing baseball or hockeys as a kid, but that doesn’t mean your child will; please don’t try to relive your athletic dreams through your child. Obviously we at SportsSignup are a little biased but we understand that some people just don’t like sports all that much. Maybe your child would rather sign up for a painting class, learn how to play the guitar, or really likes playing chess. This is their live and while you can definitely encourage them to at least give youth sports a try if it’s just not for them please respect that. Our kids are NOT mini-versions of us so no matter how much you may want them to love softball maybe it’s just not their thing.
3. Youth sports are not a substitute for quality family time.
Plenty of parents work long, hard hours to provide for their families and leftover time for things like family game night is pretty tight. Signing your child up for hockey camp might seem like a great way to give them something to do after school but please don’t think that their coach and their teammates can substitute time with you. Even if you can’t make it to every game or practice, seeing their parents on the sidelines is a big deal for most kids. Most kids want to make their parents proud and seeing your smiling face after a game is one of the best things you can do on any given day for your family.
At the end of the day it’s all about managing expectations. If you can embrace youth sports for what it is, as opposed to lamenting what it’s not, both you and your child will have a fantastic season.