Choosing when to sign up our children for sports or what sport to play can be a difficult or even down right terrifying decision ( depending on the sport ). In spite of coming from a professional sports background, I too had many questions about the process and seek out enormous amounts of information for my children. Don’t get me wrong, this probably won’t be one of the biggest decisions of your life and with some due diligence this can be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your child. There are many things to consider when choosing a sport for your budding athlete. Here are my top 3:
Tens of billions of dollars are spent on youth sports per year and the number is steadily rising. Fees and equipment alone can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. Your local ymca on average is $130 for youth basketball per season. This typically includes 1 practice and 1 game per week. If you plan on joining an elite club or travel basketball team the average cost is around $300 a month per athlete. That does not include private training sessions and specialized camps which can add thousands to the bottom line.
Involving your kids in sports is very time consuming. Shuttling the kids back and forth between practice, games, and other various team functions will be hours on end. Basic youth teams have a minimum of one 1-2 hour practice per week and 1 game per week which usually lasts for 2 hours. Take also into consideration any transit time and you are dedicating upwards of 15 to 20 hours per week. Choosing a club team in close proximity to your home is a good idea in the beginning. Then as you and your child become more acclimated to the travel time, branch out to more distant clubs.
Over 3 million kids per year suffer injures while participating in youth sports regardless of efforts made by coaches, parents, and game officials. As much as we want to keep our children safe playing sports, accidents do happen. Proper research should be performed before placing your child in any sport. Always check the experience and expertise of any coach or club organization. Be aware of the various head, neck, back, and leg injuries for the specific sport your child engages in. Also, get familiar with all equipment related to each sport because proper maintenance of new and used equipment is extremely important. Try not to worry about this too much because most kids play with the same activity level at home without organized sports with very few minor injuries, cuts, and scrapes. It is good practice to be mindful and do your due diligence.
So as you set off to find a good youth organization or club team for your future rising sports star, keep one thing in mind…HAVE FUN! This is a new and exciting moment for you and your child. Sports helps children with focus, building confidence, leadership, and goal setting. Relax and don’t worry so much about every single detail because in the end, the benefits of a healthy sports environment is absolutely worth it.