As we gear up for summer sports, it is important to plan your child’s sports schedule by balancing a realistic perspective of the “big picture” versus the potential sport opportunities offered to your child. In some cases, parents are unaware of the realities of future college athletic scholarships, and as a result end up putting their child at-risk for youth sports burnout by signing up for every league possible, and still find ways to use the time left over for personal training, nutritional counseling, sport psychology, and anything else that might help them increase their chances of one day earning an athletic scholarship (Positive Transitions).
Polls today still show that the #1 reason kids play sports is to have fun, and sports stop becoming fun for a lot of kids when they become ultra-competitive and physically/mentally exhausting. It is also important to become familiar with the realities of kids one day playing college and professional sports – figures that are often misunderstood by parents.Taking a closer look at high school student athletes, only about 5% will ever play at the college level. Keep in mind this number includes full and partial athletic scholarships, as well as walk-ons and DIII student athletes (who receive no athletic scholarship financial assistance). This means that for every 100 high school student athletes, only 5 will ever play in college, and fewer than 5 in 100 will receive any financial assistance whatsoever.
Taking this discussion further, of all the college student athletes competing today (including DI, II, and III), less than 2% will ever play professional sports! When you look at these odds objectively, they are hardly inspiring for most kids competing in sports today.Of course, all kids should work hard if they want to be one of the few talented enough to play at the college and professional levels – parents, however, need to temper their kids enthusiasm and develop responsible future plans that include things more likely to occur (like getting good grades so that the child can one day go to college).
The point is to set up multiple potential future plans and not exclusively invest in sports, and to prepare wisely for inevitable future sports transitions.Pursuing a sports dream can be very motivating for a kid, but it can also lead to devastation if the child eventually ends his sports career without making more realistic future plans that don’t include full ride athletic scholarships. It is for this reason that families should talk openly and often about the realities of making it, as well as strategies for coping with sport retirement when that day occurs.
For more information about sport transitions, realities, role modeling, and coping strategies for sport retirement, be sure to pick up a copy of Positive Transitions for Student Athletes today!