Helping Kids Experience The Benefits of Youth Sports


Focus on Fun For Your Athletes

“If your overriding goal for youth sports is a Division I scholarship, you need to rethink your priorities,” said Larry Stone, a sports parent for 27 years in a recent column that appeared in the Seattle Times.

“First of all, it’s probably not going to happen – that’s just the stark reality. Second of all, you’re likely to spend so much money in that pursuit that it negates the value of what in most cases would be a partial scholarship anyway.”

Stone believes that many parents have their priorities backward when it comes to sports parenting, and he chooses to focus on having fun and savoring memories with his children–instead of hoping for fortune or fame.

“Third of all, if your kid has the talent, it will emerge clearly and emphatically on its own,” he added in the article.

The truth is, only 1.9% of high school athletes even play Division I athletics at all – let alone with a scholarship – leaving many families with substantial financial and emotional losses when their children do not make it.

Families are more likely to benefit from youth sports if they focus on creating stronger, more focused, and happier children.

And how Learning Mental Skills in Sports can be Applied to Life!

“There’s a dire need to make youth athletics less about select, premier and elite, and more about fun, participation, and recreation,” Stone said in the article.

He also noted that this mindset creates an atmosphere where parents unnecessarily over-spend on sports and equipment.

What’s more, if parents invest lots of time and money into youth sports, kids feel pressured to perform. They often feel guilty, as well.

We find that athletes develop a need to payback parents for their investment in sports by performing well.

This undermines their confidence in sports and hurts their experience, as we have explained in our articles and podcasts.

“If there’s a choice betwe n a $150 bat and a $300 bat, buy the $150 bat. Just trust me on this one,” said Stone.

His point is simple but often underrepresented in today’s sports culture.

The intrinsic benefits of sports – gaining confidence, having fun, making friends- are much more significant to the average player then the extrinsic benefits such as scholarships or getting paid to play.

In fact, average child athletes won’t gain any extrinsic benefit from the sports they play.

While that may sound negative, the positive comes from the flip side…

Average Kids Experience Many Natural Benefits from Sports, Such As:

  • Learning how to play as part of a team
  • Making friends
  • Improving discipline
  • Developing a work ethic
  • Getting exercise
  • Learning mental skills

In addition, they gain mental game skills that can be transferred to other parts of their lives, including learning how to cope with pressure, improving their focus, and coping with anxiety, to name just a few.

Want to learn more about how to help kids have fun and experience the many benefits of youth sports?

Check out our latest program that provides strategies for boosting kids’ confidence before games:

Related Sports Psychology Articles:

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