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Is The Pressure to Perform Too Much for Youth Athletes?

  
  
  
Is The Pressure to Perform Too Much for Youth Athletes?

We've talked a lot about how 75% of kids quit playing youth sports by the time they are 13 and what we as parents and coaches can do to reverse that trend and keep kids involved in sports longer. Dave Holt made a fantastic point on our post about not forcing kids to play a particular sport (or any sport for that matter);

You Can't Force Your Child to Play Youth Sports

  
  
  
You Can't Force Your Child to Play Youth Sports

The short and long-term benefits of playing youth sports (getting kids more active, socializing, teaching teamwork, etc) are hard to deny. And obviously while we at SportsSignup are more than a little biased, we do understand that sports aren't for everybody. Maybe your child would rather learn to play the drums, star in the school musical, take a painting class, or become a chess master. Whatever they want to do is fine, as long as they love to do it! But it can be hard for some parents, especially when they were big sports stars in their own childhood, to let go of their own athletic dreams for their kids. While parents are obviously the ones signing up young children for sports (most 5 year olds aren't begging to play t-ball), at some point kids have to want to play sports because THEY love to play, not just because you want them to play.

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Can You Buy Talent and Athletic Success?

  
  
  
Can You Buy Talent and Athletic Success?

Paying to play is fast becoming the new norm in youth sports, especially as youth athletes move into more competitive age brackets and join high-powered travel or club teams. According to ESPN, one hockey family has spent $48,850 on their teenage daughter's hockey career so far. We as sports parents all want the best for our young players and we want them to succeed in their athletic careers, however long or short that may be, but can you actually buy sports talent?

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How Do You Feel About College Scouting in Youth Sports?

  
  
  
How Do You Feel About College Scouting in Youth Sports?

A few weeks ago we came across this New York Times story about a high school soccer player who was being recruited for a college team. Now obviously high school athletes get scouted and recruited every day, but the real crux of this story is that this soccer player is only 15. She's a freshman but "Before Haley Berg was done with middle school, she had the numbers for 16 college soccer coaches programmed into the iPhone she protected with a Justin Bieber case."

The Most Expensive Youth Sports to Play

  
  
  
The Most Expensive Youth Sports to Play

There is no denying that playing youth sports, especially at a highly competitive level, can costs $1000s of dollars per child each year. Paying to play has practically become the new normal in youth sports, especially since more and more youth athletes are playing year round (either one sport all year or a new sport each season), and parents are looking to give their children every extra edge possible, including one-on-one coaching sessions, high-powered travel teams, fancy equipment, and more. In the United States, parents spend $671 on average per year to cover the costs of uniforms, registration fees, and private lessons and coaching. At least 1 in 5 ends up spending over $1,000 per child, every year.

The Ride Home Might Be the Worst Part of the Game

  
  
  
The Ride Home Might Be the Worst Part of the Game

After a loss, many sports parents want to talk about the game on the ride home: what went wrong, what went right, how can they do better next time? While you may not mean anything by all this talk, what you say, what you mean, and what your child hears can be three very different things. "Next time you'll do better at bat" might be your way of telling your child to not let this game get them down, but your child might actually be hearing "You didn't do good enough." When reviewing the results of an informal survey that lasted three decades, hundreds of college athletes were asked to think back: "What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?" Their overwhelming response: "The ride home from games with my parents." Is the ride home the worst part of the game for your youth athlete?

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Is Paying to Play the New Normal in Youth Sports?

  
  
  
Is Paying to Play the New Normal in Youth Sports?

One of the most common complaints we hear from sports parents is how expensive youth sports is becoming.  In his book “The Most Expensive Game in Town,” sports journalist Mark Hyman tells the story of a sports dad (the popular blogger StatsDad) who spent close to $10,000 on youth sports in 2010. Once you get past the registration fees, sports parents have to shell out for new gear each season as their kids outgrow old equipment or change sports, tournament entry fees, travel expenses, individual coaching sessions, and more. A single season can cost thousands of dollars per child depending on how competitive their team is. And when a family has more than one child that loves to play sports what is a family do to?

What Happens When You Work Hard and Don't Win?

  
  
  
What Happens When You Work Hard and Don't Win?

One of the most valuable life lessons that youth sports can teach children is that when you want to win you have to work hard; and that those who work hard will be rewarded. Showing up to practice on time, always giving your best, and playing well as a team will ultimately result in success. But what happens when it doesn't? What happens when your child plays fantastically and their team still loses? What happens when you work hard and you don't win?

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Stop Playing the Blame Game

  
  
  
Stop Playing the Blame Game

No one likes to lose, especially when they feel like they gave their all and that they deserved to win. And while some players beat themselves up over a dropped pass, a missed kick, or a bad at-bat, other athletes look to play the blame game and pass the buck over to their teammates, the coach's plays, the official's calls, anyone else except them. It can't be my fault! It was their fault that we lost! Now, sometimes it really is your teammates or coach or official that made a mistake, but getting in the habit of blaming other people for your losses is not the lesson we want to teach our youth athletes.

Friday Night Tykes: How Competitive Is Too Competitive in Youth Sports?

  
  
  

We've talked before about how "competition" is not inherently a bad word. Healthy competition is actually a great thing because it pushes us to try harder and work for what we want. But in youth sports there seems to be an ever increasingly polarized view of how leagues should be run. Some parents and coaches believe that everyone deserves a trophy, that having fun is more important than winning, and a well-rounded player is more important than a specialized athlete. Even USA Hockey says that the intensity with which many of today’s children play their sport isn’t the way they want it to be.  The USA Hockey’s American Development model actually has U-12 teams playing fewer games and spending more time on their home rink in practice sessions designed to build skills. The organization also actively encourages young players to play other sports, believing that creates more well-rounded players.

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