Many parents approach sport with the goal of helping their child attain college or professional participation. The following statistics help to illustrate why such an approach could be problematic:
- In 2015, 3,214,000 participants between ages 6 and 17 participated in youth football
- Of those, 73,660 will go on to play to play in the NCAA
- Less than 2% of NCAA participants were drafted to play professionally
- This means less than .0005% of participants will play professionally
These statistics aren’t included to discourage participation, or the pursuit of high-level competition. Rather, we highlight them to encourage the appropriate framing of goals and expectations by parents and coaches. Remember the list of benefits included earlier in this guide? That list included benefits to academic achievement, better work performance, stronger interpersonal relationships, and better overall health. Whether your child becomes an elite athlete, they still have the opportunity to experience a number of positive outcomes.
Parents, your child is more likely to become a teacher, fireman, entrepreneur, or lawyer than a professional athlete. It is important, then, that you clearly understand what you want your child’s organized youth sport participation to yield ... “check in” with them from season to season to ensure you are pursuing the same goals as them!