Parents like you are pouring millions of dollars into youth sports each year. Many are hoping that the ROI (return on investment) will be a college scholarship for their athlete. But many will never see their kids play in college. In fact, only about 2% 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 the American Express commercial says, there are some things that are “priceless.” The youth sports journey is one of those. You may never see a college scholarship for your child come out of the experience, but here are some very definite ROIs that you should be getting on your investment into your child.
Your child knows how to fight for themselves.
One of the things that your child should be learning is 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 child knows how to communicate.
One of the things I’ve loved watching my kids do is 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 coach and teammates. Be a sounding board and a good listener, but don’t try to do their talking for them.
Your child shows compassion.
Even in the midst of competition, sports are a great place to show and receive 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 a 100% effort.
Your child gains a strong work ethic.
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 child knows how to deal with failure.
The more your child 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 division 3 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.