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Parents pour millions of dollars into youth sports each year. Many hope the ROI (return on investment) will be a college scholarship for their young athlete. But many will never see their kids play in college. In fact, only about 2 percent of high school athletes win sports scholarships every year at NCAA colleges and universities.
If the college scholarship ROI is so dismal, what are sports parents getting for their money?
As American Express commercials say, some things are “priceless.” The youth sports journey is one of those. You may never see a college scholarship for your young athlete, but here are some returns that you should get on your investment into youth sports.
Your Young Athlete Knows how to Fight
Youth sports should teach your young athlete how to fight for themselves. This will only happen, however, if you let them. Your itch to fix every situation by confronting the coach, yelling from the sidelines or badgering your child will weaken their fighting muscles. But if you back off and let them learn how to stand up for themselves, you’ll see your child grow into a strong adult.
Your Young Athlete Knows how to Communicate
I’ve always loved watching my kids communicate well with adults and peers. But if I’d insisted on being too involved in their youth sports experience, there’s a good chance that would not be the case today.
Let your child learn how to communicate feelings, frustrations and questions to their coaches and teammates. Be a sounding board and a good listener, but don’t try to do their talking for them.
Your Young Athlete Shows Compassion
Even in the midst of competition, sports are perfect for showing and receiving compassion. I loved seeing my kids help an opponent up or console a teammate on the bench. Your child can show compassion and still give 100 percent effort.
Your Young Athlete Knows how to Earn Success
One of the most important lessons that sports can teach your kids is that success is not handed to them. They must earn it through hard work and persistence.
Your Young Athlete Knows how to Deal with Failure
The more your young athlete understands that failure is not fatal and that setbacks are setups for comebacks, the more they will be ready to face the real world.
I’m pretty sure that we spent thousands and thousands of dollars on our kids as they grew up. They played D-III college sports (which does not give athletic scholarships), so our ROI was never about the money. However, the value of what they learned through sports far outweighs the dollars we spent.