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Kids age 6-12 may be playing less organized sports because...

ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77150 replies672 postsRegistered User Senior Member
... it can be expensive.

https://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/27356477/kids-playing-enough-sports-culprit-cost
https://www.aspenprojectplay.org/national-youth-sport-survey-1

Average spending per sport per kid was $692.53, though with a large range of $0 to $34,900. There is lower participation by lower income families.
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Replies to: Kids age 6-12 may be playing less organized sports because...

  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1559 replies25 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes! I just saw this story in the news last week.

    Last night I was at my son's summer high school hockey league game and I was speaking to a parent of a recent H.S. graduate. We were commenting on how the hockey numbers in the next few years are low and so is the talent pool. I was sharing that I think it's because the kids coming up would have been youngsters during the recession. Gas was $4 a gallon (expensive for travel), hockey is expensive as are the additional skating lessons and camps/clinics/leagues needed to become a strong player. I really think parents just passed on this and now we are seeing the effect.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6112 replies108 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree with @rickle1. Our local in-town soccer league ($100/child including uniforms with scholarships available) pretty much disappears by 4th grade as everyone, regardless of skills, shifts to travel. The town travel teams ($165/child) have a cadre of strong volunteer coaches but parents think they have to put their kids into club soccer to get the "best". Unfortunately the cost of club is $2,250 plus $350 for uniforms for the beginning level. It gets much pricier as the kids advance and start doing out of state tournaments. That's not including additional training and camps.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6112 replies108 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    From the same article,
    Gould said the drop in participation in youth sports is due to a "multifactor" reason, with cost definitely at the top. He believes the lack of fun that kids are having is another.

    Gould dubbed it the "professionalization of youth sports": how society becomes so focused on college scholarships, going pro and becoming famous.

    "People forget the true purpose of sports for kids is a developmental experience to help each kid fall in love with physical activity, become healthy, learn some things about themselves," he said. "How do we make sports more for kids and less about the professional model? The professional model is cool, but you don't give kids a college textbook when they're in kindergarten."
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 37839 replies2065 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Ugh, this is so sad. I never hesitate to tell parents of young kids that their little prodigies probably won't get a sports scholarship. I tell them my son's running stats and then explain that the best he could have gotten was to get his books paid for.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73779 replies3216 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Kids are so “over programmed”. Around here, families sign their kids up for sports, dance, music lessons, swimming, gymnastics, art lessons...yep, all of these things. It’s a miracle they have time to eat and sleep.

    Our town and school sports do have funds for kids who otherwise might not be able to pay for these. All the families need to do is ask.
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  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1237 replies37 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    the sports that require indoor practice space are the most pricey I think - like cheer, dance, gymnastics, swimming, hockey etc. In our town there are some budget-type clubs/leagues for football and basketball and soccer that are producing some good players; but they can practice all over during the warm outside months.

    In the back of my mind I think of encouraging my own kids to live in small towns that don't have all of these pressuresonce they have kids. But then I just heard of a family driving 70 miles several times a week to play a club sport; and I know its happening all over! If I were an entrepreneur - I'd get into club sports ownership and market to young families. OP is right; It's a huge market right now; and we do know a family who is paying $30K + for their HS kid to play hockey.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6112 replies108 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I was surprised to see field hockey listed in the article as one of the more expensive sports. Perhaps because it's not commonly played in much of the country so players don't have cheap rec leagues and have to go club?
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1113 replies1 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @sue22 probably because of areas where you can't play year round without renting indoor space. My son loved sports; we were "stupid" and let him play all/any he wanted. By 6th grade he was one of very few not specializing. We're lucky that we had a decent rec baseball program that he could continue to play for fun until 10th grade (despite be good enough for travel, he wouldn't give up fall football to play).
    I remember his one season of indoor baseball at the big academy in town (NJ). He had teammates from CT, NY and PA who had their kids up at 3/4am to make the trip to NJ for practice!!! He was about 9, I think. It was about $10k to play there year round, not counting travel expenses and the private lessons that almost everyone did. No thanks!
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 33212 replies767 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @fallgirl fwiw, I started sports and dance at 3. Not because either of my parents wanted a superstar but because I had too much energy and this was an outlet. I went on to dance for about 10 years and to this day am still involved in sports (though on an organizational level, not player).

    I've been coaching since high school and the parents have gotten more and more insane about sports over the years. I used to coach 4/5 year olds in basketball and the parents would come yell at me about how we're not keeping score. It's literally one of the rules of the rec league. My dad is an empire for YMCA sports and he's had to break up more than one fist fight between parents and coaches. It's disgusting.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6112 replies108 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 12
    My husband has taken multiple soccer teams cobbled together from local, travel and club teams to Europe for international youth tournaments. The price has always included a slush fund for players who couldn't afford the trip. Sometimes the kids who need financial support are the ones you'd expect (blue collar families with modest homes) sometimes they're not (former executives whom no one realized had lost a job).
    edited August 12
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  • iaparentiaparent 266 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Our high school, in an effort to combat the varsity coaches telling people not to try out if they are not on certain clubs (not just clubs but the right clubs), has created additional teams. Freshman year there are A and B teams. The A team is the kids from the right clubs and the B team is everyone else. They then move to a JV team, a JV 2 team, and a varsity team. When you are a sophomore, and from the right club you are either on JV or varsity. Once you have been assigned to the JV2 team you know you will never be on another team, it is the landing spot for those without the right club background.

    The good side of this is everyone has the opportunity to play for the school. The bad side is a lot of kids quit after sophomore year tryouts because they know they will never have a chance at playing in front of anyone but parents. Most of the coaches do have a bit of a heart and give seniors that have been on JV2 the option to be on the varsity roster with the knowledge they will never touch the field (but they are on varsity) or staying on JV2 and starting/playing.
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 709 replies13 postsRegistered User Member
    I have a gymnast and a dancer, both started in their teens. My gymnast competed against girls who started gym before they could even walk or were potty trained, that’s just the nature of that beast. My dancer started when most girls had already been doing pointe work for years. They’re both happy with their respective paths, but they’ll never get to the level of the kids who started early- that’s why everyone starts early! Ha. That said, their numbers are so far off on gymnastics that it is laughable- they need to add a zero to make it more realistic for upper competitive levels. The listed yearly cost wouldn’t even cover competition fees. Dance isn’t even listed as a sport, but it’s been even more expensive for us than gym. I’m glad my kids started late if only because I couldn’t have afforded more years of this.
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 1426 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    In addition to the financial angle, the time commitment is too large for many leagues/sports at surprisingly young ages, several days per week plus all-weekend tournaments and such -- no thanks.
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