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Are Private Sports Lessons for Youth Athletes Worth It?


Private sports lessons seem to becoming more and more common in youth sports. Pitching coaches, goalie camps, fitness trainers—there seems to be no limit to the kind of expertise you can hire to help your youth athlete achieve sports success. However, are private sports lessons really necessary in youth sports? Are they really worth it in the end?

Here are 3 factors to consider before signing your athlete up for private lessons:

1. Financial commitment.

Belonging to a youth sports team, especially one that travels to compete, can get very expensive very quickly. Even buying gently used gear gets costly when you have to replace it every year as your child outgrows their pads, cleats and other equipment. Private sports lessons with a trainer are going to add additional costs to an activity that seems to cost more and more each season. While the cost of a lesson can vary, it’s probably safe to assume you’re looking at anywhere from $30-$70 per session depending on the expertise and reputation of the coach/trainer your child will be working with. You might be required to sign up for a minimum amount of classes as well, meaning you’ll have to pay for those sessions no matter what.

2. Time commitment.

Even if your private sports lesson is only an hour long twice a week, you have to factor that Are Private Sports Lessons for Youth Athletes Worth It?into your weekly schedule. Can you get to and from the lesson easily after work? Will it interfere with your youth athlete’s other activities? How will it impact the other members of your family and their schedules? Just like belonging to a youth sports team, signing up for private sports lessons requires a serious time commitment. If your child lives and breathes this sport an extra hour or two a week might not seem like a big deal, but if they have to give up another activity they love doing to squeeze a private training session in a packed week it might not be worth it in the long run.

3. Level of competition.

Before signing your youth athlete up for private sports lessons, you have to look at the level your child is trying to compete at. Does a 5 year old tee ball player really need one-on-one lessons? Probably not; just playing catch at home should be enough “extra” practice for now. On the other hand, if your athlete is trying to get on a high-powered travel team or has plans of being on their high school team a few private sports lessons might be worth the investment. They’ll get one-on-one attention catered around their needs and skills and have someone dedicated just to them and their sports success.

What do you think about private sports lessons? When do they become a worthwhile investment for youth sports players?


My son is 10 years old and loves baseball. I take him to hitting and pitching lessons in order to help him improve his performance. One of the other reasons I have him take pitching lessons, though, is for safety. I hear of so many kids who aren't taught proper mechanics and wind up with wrecked arms by the time they are 12. I don't want that happening to my son. There is a balance to strike, but for now it seems to work.
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 9:17 AM by Bryan Devore
I am from Westchester County, NY (just above NYC), and since moving to south Florida 2 year ago, I am bewildered by the win at all costs in the youth sports culture in FL. 
The beautiful fields and facilities, are great, and its awesome that many retired pro athletes (in golf, swimming, baseball, football, soccer, etc) live in this area, and we have warm weather year round (spare the rainy season laced with crazy thunderstorms). 
But I feel that some parents and coaches are putting huge risks and pressure on the young athletes. 
I'll give one example. I seen a big-time baseball tournament (with national sponsors) with various age brackets. What surprised me is they have elite tournament teams for 6 year olds playing coach-pitch baseball, complete with announcers, umpires and really cool uniforms and bats. In NY kids 7 and 8 are playing tee-ball, maybe coach-pitch. And they aren't on elite travel teams, wearing $80.00 uniforms, holding $200 bats, and playing on well-manicured disney-style fields under the lights, in a state tournament. 
I heard southern California is similar. For me, I am surprised that so many middle to upper-middle class families are having paid coaches manage their youth sports rather than the traditional volunteer fathers and mothers (as in most of the NYC area).
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 3:32 PM by Rob Tamboia
It wasn't until my kids were 16 and finally decided what sport THEY wanted to commit to that we doled out the money for private lessons. 95% of those who start earlier are wasting their money hoping to get a D1 scholarship.
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 7:51 PM by Matt K
I offer private lessons and feel that all three factors mentioned in the article are very important to consider. 
One thing that is not mentioned is a commitment to long-term development. Lessons taken for a quick fix become counter-productive. However, if the coach/trainer and parent are all committed to the long-term development of the athlete it builds a mutually beneficial relationship that will help the athlete elevate their performance. 
I believe youth sport lessons for young athletes, especially those under the age of 13 should be about more than just developing sport-specific skills. Lessons that include life, athletic, and sport skills are what really help an athlete develop. As early as the age of 6 lessons can be worthwhile provided the instruction develops a proper foundation to build and not only sport-specific skills.  
Too often adults only focus on sports skills and bypass basic athletic skill development. These skills include awareness, balance, coordination, control, acceleration, and reaction. 
Private lessons are great, as long as the adults involved teach the youth the process of development more than the just the end result. 
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 9:12 PM by Richard Harris
I have been training pitchers for 29 years. I find it interesting that you don't mention the safety and well being of the kid!  
50% of Little league and 40% of High school pitchers pitch with pain. With out proper mechanics, most pitchers have a good chance of damaging their arm, sometimes long term. We have NEVER had a kid pitch with pain, in over 1800 private students. The earlier a kid starts (8-10), the easier it is to insulate him from damage he may experience down the road. Usually from poor coaching. That is another subject all together! 
Have a Better than Good Day 
Coach Billy Ayres 
Posted @ Friday, August 10, 2012 8:47 AM by Coach Billy Ayres
My son, age 11 has been playing baseball for 4 years--the first season of kid pitch he was asked to pitch-but he was too scared and anxious even though he has the skills. The following winter we invested in 10 sessions of private pitching and overall lessons---it was worth it for the mental part of the game. The following season he pitched and loved it!! Without those lessons he would not have taken the opportunity to have this great experience. It was better than therapy for him!!
Posted @ Friday, August 31, 2012 7:03 AM by SGG
Great article. Private lessons are worth it if the benefits or the value of the lessons are worth the price and time. The best private coaches understands the parents and kids goals to ensure the exceed these goals. At (coming soon) we enable athletes, parents and sports students to independently review their private coaches to help other athletes to find the best coach for their needs. Check us out
Posted @ Friday, October 26, 2012 4:16 PM by Laura Christine
Private Sports lessons are key to improving skills efficiently but just like anything the right relationship is key. How can you maximize that Coaching relationship & practice effectively when your not together?  
Check out <a><a> (purpose built skill development platform for Coaches, Athletes and Sport Parents.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:04 PM by Spencer
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