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  • $15.3 Billion Youth Sports Market

    From Fivethirtyeight.com's Significant Digits Newsletter

    Size of the U.S. youth sports market, which has grown 55 percent since 2010. Cheap little leagues are out, pricey private coaching and travel leagues are in.

    [TIME] http://time.com/4913687/how-kids-spo...?ex_cid=SigDig

  • #2
    Originally posted by bhall View Post
    Cheap little leagues are out, pricey private coaching and travel leagues are in.
    I am appalled at this trend, which I see more and more every day.

    It feeds on parental fears that they're not being good parents unless they are taking everything little Johnny or Suzy does deadly seriously, and sinking every dime of theirs and spare moment of their child's leisure time into the pursuit of the child's superiority in that endeavor. 6-day a week practices, thousands of dollars into 'showcase' tournaments. $800 uniform/equipment fees . . . per season! Even the people offering all this are conflicted. There's a sign on the local 'Soccer Academy' (used to just be a prosaic Soccer Club - oh, how gauche!) 8-year-olds field that says, "No college scholarships will be awarded at today's games." And yet . . . sigh, that's exactly what I overhear in parental conversations - the GROSS misperception that scholarships grow on trees and are there for every 'good' player. The real irony is that these very same set of parents are at the most expensive Academy (sic) and can easily afford to pay full freight. They just want to bask in their kids' prowess, and brag about their kids' "full ride" to State U, which, at best, is likely to be a textbook allowance.

    AAAARRRRRGGGGHHH . . . drives me nuts(ier)!

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    • #3
      Before I started playing golf (14 yo - kinda late), I raced bicycles for about 2 1/2 years (12-14). My Dad was a national caliber cyclist. I learned to ride from ages 9-12 in Framingham, Mass, with my best buddy, Bumpy. Bumpy and I used to ride our bike, unchaperoned, over to the trails on Nobscot Mountain (more of a hill), and ride all day on those trails in the summer. This was basically mountain biking with old Schwinn-type bikes - no derailleurs or anything fancy. No helmets. We fell all the time, got cut, got bruised - and we laughed and we laughed, and we had the best time.

      Today, my parents would be in jail for that.

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      • #4
        I only recently became aware of how it much it costs my daughter and son-in-law to keep their two pre-teen/teen age sons in soccer, basketball, martial arts, etc.. uniforms, fees, travel..fortunately, they can afford it but there are many kids on their teams for whom it must be a family sacrifice.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lonewolf View Post
          there are many kids on their teams for whom it must be a family sacrifice.
          Yes, but this seems to be the new suburban status symbol - your kid all decked out in their expensive sports togs as you ferry them to their up-scale sports endeavors (and don't even get me started about little girls' gymnastics!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
            Before I started playing golf (14 yo - kinda late), I raced bicycles for about 2 1/2 years (12-14). My Dad was a national caliber cyclist. I learned to ride from ages 9-12 in Framingham, Mass, with my best buddy, Bumpy. Bumpy and I used to ride our bike, unchaperoned, over to the trails on Nobscot Mountain (more of a hill), and ride all day on those trails in the summer. This was basically mountain biking with old Schwinn-type bikes - no derailleurs or anything fancy. No helmets. We fell all the time, got cut, got bruised - and we laughed and we laughed, and we had the best time.

            Today, my parents would be in jail for that.
            In the 60s in Oak Brook we use to ride all over the place in the summer....Brookfield zoo which was about 9 miles away...another park 15miles south....and the best part we never locked our bikes...and they were new....go into the Zoo for a few hours and our bikes would still be there when we got back....play baseball, football....tennis...all summer with nary a parent and some of those kids became very good athletes in high school...

            All pretty antiseptic now....

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            • #7
              My son is involved with a HS club/coach in the off-season for sprinting. It costs a moderate bit, not as bad as hockey or such, no equipment nor rink time etc. It's worth it as his main HS sprints coach (age 79) basically sucks, as does the attitude of most of the HS team, whereas the club coach is a USATF Level III coach, USATF Level II coach in sprints, hurdles, relays and endurance, and cares more about developing young men and women of character than about medals. That said, they strive for excellence. The club athletes are dedicated to the sport. The attitude/atmosphere is positive and motivating.

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              • #8
                I work at a fitness center that is very golf oriented. The golf fitness trainers lament that young kids (actually their parents) want golf specific exercises to improve their driving distance, when they can't do basic athletic movements (side shuffle, backward run). They lack basics because of no backyard sports.

                Also noticed that a big tv advertiser for London World Champs was a company that helps parents "identify" sports (teams?) for their children. Didn't realize there was a "need" for this?
                Last edited by Bruce Kritzler; 08-26-2017, 02:49 AM.

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                • #9
                  SI has a cover article on "pro" kid's sports..it is worse than I thought.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DrJay View Post
                    My son is involved with a HS club/coach in the off-season for sprinting. It costs a moderate bit, not as bad as hockey or such, no equipment nor rink time etc.
                    Based on my experience and observations, track and field costs only a fraction of what soccer, basketball and baseball costs, not mention country club sports like gymnastics, figure skating and tennis.

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                    • #11
                      My track club runs the largest youth track & field program in NJ with 700 to 900 kids from 16 towns at Sunday afternoon meets. Parents are amazed at how inexpensive it is compared to other youth sports.

                      We also have a deliberate philosophy of teaching the sport but not burning out the kids and not trying to monopolize them. We have our share that go the national Junior Olympics but also importantly, lots of the kids want to go on to the high school programs. That is our aim.

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