Family Balance and Children's Athletics

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BashDash
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Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by BashDash » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:26 pm

Hi all,

I've searched through past posts and read some interesting threads regarding athletics and raising kids. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience in keeping a family balance in raising children alongside the demands of sports. I grew up different sports each season and enjoying the variety. Yes, I remember parents carting me around to practices/games and it being great to spend time with my Dad who at times coached me. Now, in the HCOL area I live in it seems children are specializing WAY too early ( in my opinion ) and needlessly ( in my opinion) traveling way too far to play in tournaments. How can a family keep balance while doing this with multiple children? Also while trying to maintain a successful marriage? When I was younger, the local rec leagues were fun and competitive enough to be a good starting point. Now, it seems everyone has to be in a travel/club team? My kids are way too young to play sports at this point but I like hearing the various Boglehead views and experiences. I think I worry that I may have an athletic child who gets pushed to one sport and then is burned out or has unrealistic expectations in that sport.

Thanks for any insights!

Rupert
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:37 pm

If your kid is a future Tiger Woods or Olympic athlete, I think you'll know it rather early on. For all other kids, the local rec leagues and school sports teams are still good enough for having fun, for learning how to be a team player, etc. It's simply not true that everyone has to be on a travel/club team. Most kids aren't.

onourway
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by onourway » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:37 pm

We have co-workers and friends who spend a fortune in time and money carting their kids all over the region nearly every weekend from early-middle school age. Our kids haven't yet reached this phase in their life, but thus far we have been pushing them towards what I call 'lifetime' sports that don't necessarily require intense competition (ie. running, cycling, skiing, tennis, etc.)

We'll see how that lasts as they age upwards, but for now we're off to a good start.

Rupert
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:41 pm

onourway wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:37 pm
We have co-workers and friends who spend a fortune in time and money carting their kids all over the region nearly every weekend from early-middle school age. Our kids haven't yet reached this phase in their life, but thus far we have been pushing them towards what I call 'lifetime' sports that don't necessarily require intense competition (ie. running, cycling, skiing, tennis, etc.)
We're doing the same thing -- focusing on being healthy, rather than being competitive. Tennis, swimming, and running are great childhood sports that can become great lifetime hobbies. We do hiking and cycling as a family to encourage those pastimes as well.

livesoft
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:44 pm

In my area there are leagues for every age level and athletic ability, so no one is left out. So clearly parents can set their own boundaries.

After about age 12 or so, the kids know if they are going to stop sports, play on school teams, play in church or Y leagues, or play AAU leagues.

I coached youth sports (girls and boys) many years including AAU basketball. The kids had a blast and it was great family time. You know you did something right when they both beg you to coach their teams.

We live in a major metro area, so travel was never far for us and costs were limited, too.
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techrover
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by techrover » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:45 pm

Like typical parents, I too had dreams to make our kids to be "Master" of all extra-curricular activities. Then I came across this fabulous research/course 5 years back and it changed our thinking forever - http://www.challengesuccess.org . I bought online course material and attended one of their parent conference (all for <50$ at the time).
I highly recommend it - for one it comes from Stanford, and second it aligns very well to bogleheads philosophy in general(do not fall for spectacular results...).

It has reoriented my thinking of what success meant for kids, and become a better parent in the process. Good luck trying to execute one of the most difficult role of modern times - "parenting" !!!

runner3081
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by runner3081 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:34 pm

Rupert wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:41 pm
onourway wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:37 pm
We have co-workers and friends who spend a fortune in time and money carting their kids all over the region nearly every weekend from early-middle school age. Our kids haven't yet reached this phase in their life, but thus far we have been pushing them towards what I call 'lifetime' sports that don't necessarily require intense competition (ie. running, cycling, skiing, tennis, etc.)
We're doing the same thing -- focusing on being healthy, rather than being competitive. Tennis, swimming, and running are great childhood sports that can become great lifetime hobbies. We do hiking and cycling as a family to encourage those pastimes as well.
Same here.

Pickleball, hiking, tennis and cycling.

She hasn't shown an interest in any team sports yet. If she does, they will all be rec type of team. We won't be going the select route.

halfnine
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by halfnine » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:12 pm

I have a few thoughts about it. I specialized in a sport from around the age of 7 or 8 and traveled far and wide. At age 19 I had finally had enough and stopped for good never to return. I have regrets because while it is by far the sport I would ever be best at I ended up missing out on the sport that I am most passionate about. But I didn't know that at the time as once I showed an exceptional talent for the sport I wasn't really exposed or encouraged to try alternative sports or outdoor activities. I think my parents felt that one should pursue that which they are best at and didn't put much thought into passion. I think it is also fair to say that because of this I missed out on a lot of my childhood as all my peers in the sport did. That was the price one had to be willling to pay to peform at a high level.

However, while it didn't work out for me and quite frankly for many other of my peers, there were a few who would go on to play professionally and even more who would make it into a career through coaching who are still quite passionate about the sport today. And those of us who never opted to make a career out of it, still had opportunities to make some good money on the side in our teen years and into university as instructors or coaches.

There is a lot to consider if your child opts to specialize. And it will come with opportunities and challenges for the children as well as for the parents. I fear parents often end up justing seeing only one side of that coin. Some only see the opportunities and push their children while others only see the challenges and never give them a chance.

Isabelle77
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:59 pm

Having grown up in Canada (and it may be different there as well now) I find the youth sports thing in the US completely perplexing and infuriating.

I have a good friend whose daughter is currently on a select travel year-round soccer team, she plays Futsal, has a special goalie coach, and also plays in a rec basketball league. She turns 11 next week. And that's just right now, track, swimming, and a special shotput coach are also in this mix during the year. This child falls asleep in class, doesn't finish her homework, and frankly seems miserable. And about half of the parents I know are doing this to their kids.

Maybe I just come from a more academic family, but my parents encouraged us to active, try lots of things and spend our free time having fun or studying! I guess I'm always curious what the end game is for these families, they're spending more on sports than they will likely ever see in college scholarships and they literally have no free time together as a family or to explore other interests.

J295
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by J295 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:18 pm

I'm going to give you a brief background so you can filter my response.

Wife and I were good high school athletes. All the kids were high school athletes too, and one was a real talent (recruited by all the top D1 schools for her sport and did go D1 and was all conference). When they were growing up none were pushed into sports. We were very intentional about that decision. However, there was a well known family rule that everyone had to by spiritually fit (go to Mass), mentally fit (study), and physically fit (didn't have to be a organized sport, but if not then it needed to be running club, swimming, biking, etc.). So one was really into sports, one sort of, and one not very much at all.

We gave them opportunities but when it came time to transition we were there to support that move ..... so, when one who was a state medalist in track and sort of into sports wanted to skip track and be in the musical ..... great ..... when the one in college wanted to study abroad and call it quits for her sport .... great ..... when the one who didn't care so much for sports wanted to only be in a running club .... great ...... one time when they were younger and were at a national tourney and there was going to be a conflict with getting to Mass that weekend, we found a priest to say Mass for us Saturday night (otherwise we were fine skipping the game to go to Mass, although the coach was not excited about that option).... you get the idea ....

Were we perfect in the way we did ... heck no, but we did try to balance and be super sensitive that accomplishment in sports was not the number one priority. I still remember a dad coming up to me in grade school years and asking how I got daughter to always hustle on and off the field and I told him I did nothing that's how she was wired, and not to sweat it because one of the kids picking flowers during a game on the soccer field might just be the one who finds the cure for cancer (and sure enough, his daughter is now a doctor!).

Enough said. Your the parent, so use your license to take charge and forge the path you think is best.

camden
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by camden » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:35 pm

As was the case with most in my generation, I played and enjoyed multiple sports, and in doing so had my father's support and, in the case of baseball, coaching. Some of my best childhood memories center around those activities.

Now the children of young parents I work with seem to be forced to specialize in one sport at an early age, and the families spend money and large amounts of time working themselves into a frazzle dealing with travel teams. Seems a real shame to me. Perhaps the very rare kid with exceptional talent who does have the potential to be a professional athlete benefits from better coaching and better early competition (though my personal guess is that that talent would have manifested itself along the way in any case), but the rest of them are getting cheated out of a great childhood experience and frequently, from what I am told, come to hate their travel team sport by the time they are old enough for high school. I think the wisest parents decline to get themselves and their children involved in this pressurized rat race, to their kids' long term benefit.

JBTX
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by JBTX » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:57 pm

I agree some of the level of time and commitment to sports is over the top, especially when it involves private clubs.

Having said that I spent my childhood years 7-18 doing competitive swimming. The only rule my parents had was i had to do something active. Around 12 or 13 I considered quitting but ultimately stuck with it because I was pretty good at it and was not a terribly assertive kid when it came to team sports. By the time I got to high school I swam on swim team but that was about it. I didn’t really do it year round anymore. In some ways I wish I had done some other things but that was just not my comfort zone as a kid. Swimming did serve a purpose of building goal setting, discipline and hard work.

A vast majority of these kids won’t do any of this past high school, so if the sport becomes no longer enjoyable for the kids then it probably isn’t worth it. There is a benefit to the extent older kids are doing sports they have less time (and energy) to get into trouble, but to enjoy sports as a teenager these days you have to have started younger.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:42 pm

I used to drive my oldest child to swim meet. Second child really liked water sport but she told me she didn’t want to take up swimming as a sport. I think probably the effect of tagging along with us as a family for her sister’s sport.

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bottlecap
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by bottlecap » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:24 pm

I agree things are a little crazy. The problem is that if your kid is good enough for a travel sport and they like the sport, they want to do it. It's hard to say no, even if it's disruptive to the family.

It's not just sports, though. Kids have to be involved in a bunch of different things whether they like the activity or not to improve their chances of getting into a top college or university. I waited to have kids, so I'm not there yet, but I can easily see the stress on the families and, more concerning, the kids, in my friend's families.

The whole world has gone mad and it starts when they are young.

I think the key to avoid the insanity is to not push them too hard and let them do what they like, so long as it's something. Hopefully they don't get too good at any one thing or, if they do, they will have a few other interests that they don't want to give up to be on the travel team just because they are good enough to get on it.

JT

thx1138
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by thx1138 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:26 am

I'm probably in the minority but I've never found any value to competitive team sports. The "life lessons" supposedly instilled are of the most banal, trivial and frankly counter productive type to expose kids to. I think this has become self evident as youth sports has devolved into screaming parents assaulting volunteer coaches and a rush to be "best" at any cost of money, travel, time and the general exhaustion of kids to the point they neglect academics.

Worse still is "organized sports" from an early age deprive kids of any sense of agency and is doing real damage psychologically them. A pick up game of whatever in the park *is* a valuable experience. Kids learn to resolve conflict with no referees available and how to interact socially amongst themselves. Put the kid on a team and cart them from game to game and you just teach them they are incapable of doing things on their own - inadvertently they are groomed to think a coach and referee must be present to solve their problems. Research has been showing kids with the most organized activities are having serious issues as they approach their college years.

Now - athletics in the sense of physical excercise, setting goals and working towards them is of unending value. And "unorganized" athletics is more flexible allowing for better balance with family and academics. So skipping the team sports insanity allows lower stress, better tailored and simply more enjoyable for everyone in the family athletic activities.

So my advice is avoid organized team sports entirely unless you are blessed with something local requiring little parent involvement and minimal travel with the flexibility to miss practices and games as necessary. Instead teach kids to be athletic in their own or with kids with minimal adult involvement. Obviously the balance of adult involvement needs to be age appropriate.

Wings5
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Wings5 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:33 am

We decided to skip sports this winter to let our kids get more rest and spend more time together as a family. We talked to them about it and even talked to our oldest about sleep studies in athletes. So far they've made it through without much illness, and we're probably ALL playing more sports together. Hiking, 5k runs, biking, basketball, rock climbing, karate.

As a commenter above said, getting them into sports for life is a great idea. We have several relatives who played one sport 24/7/365 until they were 18 or 19, and haven't touched it since. Balance is a wonderful thing!

carolinaman
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by carolinaman » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:17 am

I had similar experiences to OP regarding youth athletics. I thoroughly enjoyed multiple sports as a kid but was not good enough to play any professionally, but that is true of 99% of the kids who play, then and now. Fortunately, my kids did sports right before the club/travel team thing took off in our area. I did coach a select soccer team one year and hated it. Many of the kids on my team and others acted like jerks and poor sports and some of the coaches were worse.

I have a granddaughter who has been in competitive cheerleading for about 8 years (age 14). Many of the older kids in her clubs get scholarships, so hopefully all of that travel will pay off. She actually enjoys it and does not get caught up into the drama some of her teammates do. However, they travel about 8 times a year to other cities for competition. Our neighbor's daughter has been doing travel softball for years, traveling as far as California (from NC!) for tournaments. That is nuts to me but she is very good and has a full scholarship to a major university.

In addition to the expense and sometimes unhealthy competitiveness that plagues youth sports, I do think it leads to burnout and injuries due to overuse of body parts at too young an age. Also, I think kids get pigeonholed into a sport at an early age that may not be their best or most enjoyable long term. My final rant: some of these sports are money pits for the organizers and coaches with dubious value to the participants.

stoptothink
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:45 am

J295 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:18 pm
I'm going to give you a brief background so you can filter my response.

Wife and I were good high school athletes. All the kids were high school athletes too, and one was a real talent (recruited by all the top D1 schools for her sport and did go D1 and was all conference). When they were growing up none were pushed into sports. We were very intentional about that decision. However, there was a well known family rule that everyone had to by spiritually fit (go to Mass), mentally fit (study), and physically fit (didn't have to be a organized sport, but if not then it needed to be running club, swimming, biking, etc.). So one was really into sports, one sort of, and one not very much at all.

We gave them opportunities but when it came time to transition we were there to support that move ..... so, when one who was a state medalist in track and sort of into sports wanted to skip track and be in the musical ..... great ..... when the one in college wanted to study abroad and call it quits for her sport .... great ..... when the one who didn't care so much for sports wanted to only be in a running club .... great ...... one time when they were younger and were at a national tourney and there was going to be a conflict with getting to Mass that weekend, we found a priest to say Mass for us Saturday night (otherwise we were fine skipping the game to go to Mass, although the coach was not excited about that option).... you get the idea ....

Were we perfect in the way we did ... heck no, but we did try to balance and be super sensitive that accomplishment in sports was not the number one priority. I still remember a dad coming up to me in grade school years and asking how I got daughter to always hustle on and off the field and I told him I did nothing that's how she was wired, and not to sweat it because one of the kids picking flowers during a game on the soccer field might just be the one who finds the cure for cancer (and sure enough, his daughter is now a doctor!).

Enough said. Your the parent, so use your license to take charge and forge the path you think is best.
Football paid for my undergrad and the beginning of my MS degrees and I spent the early the early part of my career helping to prepare college athletes prepare for NFL and NBA combines, and as a strength coach for professional combat (MMA) athletes, and I could not agree with this more. It is so ridiculously over the top with parents now. If your child is exceptional, as in has the athletic potential to have sports pay for their college education and possibly be a career, believe me, you'll know it quite early. I have parents of pre-adolescent children approach me all the time about helping their children with their strength and conditioning and nutrition all the time. Most of these parents are already spending many thousands a year on specialized coaching and most of their leisure time traveling with carious teams, when the reality is the huge majority of them will never even get a penny (via college assistance or professional pay) in return. Sorry, not the philosophy in our home. My body/fitness is a big part of my career so I still train like a collegiate athlete would and my wife is still a somewhat competitive athlete (cyclist and runner) despite also having a full-time job and being in school; our children (5 and 2) have no choice but to be physically active because of our lifestyle. But, it is up to them if they want to pursue organized sports. Currently my 5yr old daughter does gymnastics and jiu jitsu, once class each per week, and it is likely her brother will join her in jiu jitus when he turns 3 (they love to grapple), but there are no plans for anything beyond that right now.

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lthenderson
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by lthenderson » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:00 am

BashDash wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:26 pm
How can a family keep balance while doing this with multiple children? Also while trying to maintain a successful marriage?
Our two kids aren't into sports but they are in plenty of activities. We balance ourselves by limiting the activities they can participate in. We have family night which nothing can be scheduled on. The remaining days, they can join activities and attend them as long as they don't interfere with our schedules or their siblings activities. If they have two or more activities that conflict, they must choose which one they would like to do. We also encourage them to engage in summer camps and activities that can be focused on since school is out of session. Sometimes we just say no. I've found that our kids might be extremely disappointed when we tell them no but by the next morning, it is like nothing every happened again and life resumes.

livesoft
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by livesoft » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:10 am

Ok, I read about all the extreme behavior above (and some reasonable behavior) but I have to write that the vast majority of parents and families are very reasonable about sports activities for their children.

Sports is a big part of life in the USA and other countries, so it is very useful to have some exposure growing up.

And there are plenty of sports-related jobs as an adult even though very few of them will be on TV.
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jojay
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by jojay » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:16 am

The key word in this topic is..."children".

I coached my son in hockey for many years. Here are some numbers:
Most teams have 15 players per team. Total 30 players not including goalies
The games were 36 minutes long which equals 2160 seconds
If each player were to touch the puck an equal amount of time, each player would be playing with the puck for 72 seconds.

To play the 36 minutes takes about 50 minutes
The locker room time to get dressed and undressed is about 30 minutes total
The travel time to and from all games averaged about 90 minutes.

This would happen 2 to 3 times per week.

So, we just spent nearly 9 hours of time so that my child - if one player did not dominate - could touch the puck for 3 plus minutes. Not a good ROI.

What if some of that time were redirected to Math lessons, writing skills, sciences, poetry, carpentry, gardening....

He wound up playing for his high school team. He and we met some very nice - and very un-nice people - along the way. He went to a non-hockey college. He's a great adult.

Worse? My daughter was a very good Irish Step Dancer. Those weekly trips were 8 hours so that she could dance for 40 SECONDS!! This does not include the 3 practices per week!!

Advice? Sports are terrific for young people. Keep it local. Play multiple sports even if the child is not great at them. Maintain variety, focus on team sports so that they learn how to interact with others and also have them play individual sports so that they learn self responsibility.

ncbill
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by ncbill » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:57 am

We didn't require our kids to do anything organized until high school.

Though the oldest started with their high school's varsity a year earlier, which allowed them to walk-on to the varsity team at their undergrad school.

Youngest switched sports last year, playing with a local club, as there are few school teams locally.

They're hoping to walk-on at the D3 school that is currently their first choice for undergrad.

Nowizard
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Nowizard » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:37 am

Excellent decision to question athletics vs. family balance. With our children, they were both approached by "elite" soccer and baseball teams based on their activities as young children in church and recreational leagues. We decided to not enter them into anything elite for several years with one, never with the other son. Both enjoyed the recreational leagues where they were among the better athletes, though there was definitely competition as they got older from children whose parents were doing the same thing. We did go with an elite soccer team with one son beginning at about age 11. Whoa! It is a huge change in terms of time commitment, practice, travel and expense, plus you run into parents who are convinced their children are going to be pros. If the goal is balance, sports provide valuable lessons in exercise, teamwork, discipline, organization, winning/losing, etc., but it does not have to be at an elite level which is often as much for the ego of parents as children. Also, if a child does have elite talent, they will develop a strong desire to continue and play at a higher level. This is what some parents of the best rounded athletes have done. The Manning family is a good example of this, and we found that it worked well for our children as it had many years earlier for myself.

Tim

SilverGirl
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by SilverGirl » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:39 am

Four of my six kids play club soccer but it has zero to do with scholarships. It has to do with exercise. There is virtually no PE anymore. Soccer is a great way to keep them active and they have made great friends. They also get excellent grades. I don’t see the downside.

Bacchus01
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Bacchus01 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:42 am

I am one that sees this madness every day, but continues to feed the beast. It’s crazy. I am also not enamored with the “pay to play” mentality that has sprung up in this country.

My wife and I were both solid athletes growing up, playing many sports but not really excelling at one until late. I was recruited and ultimately was on a college team but was by no means exceptional.

We have stressed to our kids that they must do something active, so pick something. They have generally gravitated towards Soccer and Basketball which are largely alternating sports schedule wise but are also similar in how they are played. But it’s insane.

My two oldest boys have played soccer since 3-4 yrs old. The oldest has traveled to play in England and at 16, between HS and club soccer, plays 90+ games a year. He really enjoys it but did not get really into it until he was about 12. He played for like 6-7 years before the lightbulb went off. 6-7 YEARS. He’ll end his HS career as a 3 year varsity player, 2 year starter and 3 year Captain. He plays all over the US on his club team and I don’t bother adding up the costs. He dropped basketball when he went to HS. Our HS team is just too good and too competitive (4 time state champs in largest division) and you have to play BBall year round or have no chance to make the varsity roster. He will have a chance to play soccer in college if he wants, but not likely a scholarship situation.

My middle son at 12 has played soccer for 8 years. He loved it when he was younger and excelled. At around 10 the passion started to wane and the coaching/team situation was pretty bad. We moved him to a new club that is much higher caliber, but much more rigorous and he goes back and forth between loving and hating it. He either pushes through in the next year or likely starts to focus elsewhere. He also plays Rec level basketball and snowboards.

Our youngest is 9 and without a doubt the least athletic. He also plays soccer and basketball and I can only describe him as terrible. :). But he loves playing, lives the discipline of the coaches as a tough club he plays soccer for, and loves the fact his dad (me) coaches him in rec basketball. I don’t care what that costs, he works hard, has fun, and is disciplined about it. But, he’s going to have to be a repetition based kid because it’s not natural to him.

We’re fortunate all the kids are great students and have an active but not destructive social life. Oldest is a 3.9 gpa and, as a JR, is gearing up for Engineering college focus after HS. Has good friends. Never been in trouble. Always on time and we know where he is. Super trustworthy even if he is a typical mouthy teen at times. I never wait up for him as I know he’ll be home when he says he is. I think sports has actually been a big part of that responsibility and discipline.

That said, it’s insane what we spend and the time we spend. We’ve not done all the vacations and family visits I’d like to. We have a hard time just “chilling” at home. It’s go, go, go.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I will start my day by driving my two youngest 30 minutes away for soccer practice at 8-9:30. I will have to pull them early to get to basketball game warmup at 9:30 30 minutes from the indoor soccer fields. Games at 10, 11 and 1Pm with me coaching two of them. Meanwhile the oldest had to hitch a ride for his indoor soccer practice 30 minutes away in another direction from 9-10:30. He plays for a different club than the other two. Somewhere in there we will eat breakfast and lunch and somewhere around 2:30 I’ll get back home. And honestly, that’s a light day.

Why do we do it? Exercise, discipline, focus, teamwork. Being able to take direction from other adults in a positive environment. Leadership development. Socialization with other kids with similar interest. Club also exposes them to kids outside our community and outside our socioeconomic and demographic range. They also like it, most of the time.

SilverGirl
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by SilverGirl » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:46 am

Bacchus, are you my husband? J/k. But I’ll be there at 8 am tomorrow too. I can totally relate to the ‘go, go,go’ feeeling. My dad visited me last year and said about our hectic life ‘these crazy years are the best ones. Enjoy them’. I sure am.

Bacchus01
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Bacchus01 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:52 am

SilverGirl wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:46 am
Bacchus, are you my husband? J/k. But I’ll be there at 8 am tomorrow too. I can totally relate to the ‘go, go,go’ feeeling. My dad visited me last year and said about our hectic life ‘these crazy years are the best ones. Enjoy them’. I sure am.
Our parents are absolutely shocked when the come to visit. Wife and I both grew up in small towns where we rode our bike or walked to practice and games. I don’t think my parents even came to my sporting events until I was in HS. Our world is incredibly foreign to them.

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fortfun
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by fortfun » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:04 pm

Organized sports would get in the way of our family's travel. We try to stick with sports like Taekwondo that can be easily skipped. This gives us freedom to travel whenever we want. As a teacher, we are traveling most of the summer, winter break, fall break, and spring break. Personally, I'm glad we are not driving to soccer and volleyball tournaments every weekend. We waste zero time watching professional sports on TV, only the olympics every two years... The kids stay in shape by hiking, biking, running, Taekwondo, school running clubs, etc. We hiked Half Dome and the Grand Canyon this year. This would have been difficult with a commitment to long term sports.

texasdiver
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Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by texasdiver » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:07 pm

Teacher and parent of 3 kids here. I have one daughter who was relatively athletic (varsity starter at a big HS) and two who are not. I've also taught numerous HS athletes who have gone on to play D-1 sports and a couple to the pros.

My wife and I basically laid out two rules for our daughters. We told them that there were two areas of their education that the public schools were weak in: Fitness and Music/Arts. Therefore it was going to be our expectation that they all would be participating in some kind of out-of-school athletics/fitness activities of their choice and that they would be studying some kind of music of their choice outside of school. Beyond that we have left it up to them to decide what and how much.

Daughter #1 got serious about soccer and played on competitive travel teams and varsity teams in HS. We spent a lot of time driving from Waco up to the Dallas area for games and tournaments over the years. But it was her desire not our pushing. She continues to play at the intermural level in college. She was not musical and so moved from piano to violin and then into theater and finally photography as we encouraged her artistic side.

Daughter #2 hated soccer and ended up swimming on a local club team for about 5 years but hated her new team when we moved across the country so we ended up letting her drop swimming. She dislikes team sports and isn't particularly athletic. She proposed that she be able to join a local athletic club and work out on her own which we agreed to as long as she is being active. She does Zumba and other workouts at the club and is active with us hiking and biking on the weekends and is happy not to be forced into team sports. Turns out she is becoming an accomplished musician playing three instruments and now starting to earn money in HS helping teach 1st graders piano together with her piano teacher.

Daughter #3 is more middle ground. She has done soccer, swimming, ballet, and martial arts over the years. None of them particularly seriously. She enjoys being on a team with other girls more than being competitive and is a middle of the road recreational athlete who isn't serious or talented enough or driven enough to play on competitive travel teams. She still enjoys playing on her local recreational soccer team which is fine with us. As long as she is doing something we are OK and don't push her.

Bottom line? We expect all our kids to be physically active and at least try team sports. But beyond that we more or less let them take the lead and discover what activies they like the most.

The many D-1 athletes that I have taught in HS have all been a combination of exceptionally talented and usually exceptionally driven. Often they are not the ones who's parents spend all the money but rather the ones with talent. I have never seen an average kid turned into an exceptional athlete through sheer parent will. Never happens.

goblue59
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by goblue59 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:17 pm

My 2 cents worth. I think it's all about balance and FUN. It should go without saying but if the sport or activity isn't fun, on average (obviously some days aren't fun when it comes to sports), then you need to really question the situation.
Things have completely changed in my life. I was a 3 sport athlete in high school as were many of my friends. It was rare for my parents to attend athletic events because they both worked and it wasn't looked upon as integral to go to nine million games / practices etc.
Three of my kids were involved in high schools sports (3 different ones) but each only focused on their sport because that is the expectation for the most part. Parents are viewed as uninvolved if you miss a single events or don't volunteer in some way. There is much more pressure on the kids now IMO.
I also say that you should be careful what you wish for. One of my kids received a full D1 athletic scholarship. The money is nice but it is a JOB. There are practice limits which are routinely violated and academics comes second, as long as you are passing. My kid was constantly exhausted, her grades were average at best and her entire college social life revolved around the team, which was in the top 10 in the nation. Long story, she begged me to quit after 2 years and is much happier now - lots of friends, 3.8 gpa and smiling again. The vast majority of her teammates hate their sport but they are economically chained to the scholarship.
Obviously, many college athletes have a more positive story to tell but a college athletic scholarship is not the be-all.

mws13
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by mws13 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:54 pm

I was a D1 athlete and my son is now a D1 athlete. That said, neither of us are great in our respective sports, and he is better than me. He also had/needed greater competition than I ever saw in high school, so we did the traveling circus stuff during those years. It was fun and we are very close as a family in part due to the circus.

I still keep in touch with my college teammates. It taught me how to sacrifice for a greater good, and it is time well spent on a focused activity rather than "other" after-school activities. In hindsight, I might have chosen DIII and played more, but it was still lots of fun.

For my son, his sport got him into a Service Academy and he is thriving on multiple levels. It has been an awesome experience for him (maybe not the first year!!), and for us as a family to be exposed to the Military.

I am sure there are studies of pro vs con team high school sports in this new era, but I am personally a fan. That also includes individual sports that play as a team, such as golf or tennis.

texasdiver
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Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by texasdiver » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:30 pm

One word of advice. Don't let athletics govern education, especially at the college level.

I have seen students and parents become so obsessed with the lure of an athletic scholarship that they end up attending a college they wouldn't otherwise consider educationally just because it is the one that offered them an athletic scholarship. Back when I taught in Texas I saw kids taking athletic scholarships to schools like UT-San Antonio or UTEP or even community colleges when they were bright enough and admitted to MUCH higher caliber schools like UT-Austin or Texas A&M or even Duke and Vanderbilt, just without the athletic scholarships. For kids who have no other means of attending college this is perhaps OK. But for middle class kids it seemed a very dubious proposition to attend a school that would never otherwise be on your radar just to play sports.

BashDash
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by BashDash » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:11 pm

OP here. Thanks so much for all the detailed responses. I really appreciate it. Seems there are many roads to Dublin. Please keep the responses coming.

sterlingcooper05
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by sterlingcooper05 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:43 pm

It is a sports crazed world out there! DW and I played organized travel sports as kids and eventually in college. Neither of us were outstanding athletes, but our skills were refined enough to get athletic scholarships. I would not trade my experience for anything. But now, the travel and costs are hard to justify. 20 years ago, travel teams may have played 2-3 out of town tournaments and were made up of kids from the same city. Now, they start way too early, play way too many weekends, and it costs way too much money. Some teams are made up of kids from different states. My family time is too precious to waste it driving across the state to watch my kid play a game.

We focus on local leagues and active recreation. It reduces the crazy schedule while keeping kids involved. Their younger years are too precious to ruin with hyper competitive teams that drain the bank account.

Hug401k
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by Hug401k » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:11 am

I'd just like to add.. it's not just sports. My daughter (age 12) has been involved in the local kids theater company lately and wants to do more. What a time sucking/money sucking enterprise that is! In addition, the school chorus wants 3 hours from them a week (for 11-12 year olds) and band wants another 2 hours and Jazz band is another 90 minutes. I wanted to her to be well rounded and try lots of thing, but not much allows you to be lightly involved these days. Plus she does play town sports, no club, but even those are travel with lots of time, so we've had to narrow down to real interests.

My son does play in a club soccer team. He loves it. We kept finding him out in the yard at 8 years old, trying to teach himself soccer moves from youtube. He wanted to learn more and he had learned all he could from his volunteer coaches (my husband) It hasn't been nearly as much of a time or travel cost as I expected and he's made some new friends. That being said, we picked one close by on purpose. He also plays rec basketball in winter and town little league in spring for fun and burn off his endless supply of energy.

hulburt1
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by hulburt1 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:43 am

I coach at a local HS. Track and X-C. We charge 150 per sport but we make sure you can play if have no money.
We have 14years that play club soccer and pay 400+per month travel+uniforms. I tell the families that say there kids is going to be a star and get a college scholarship that they are being sold a bill of good. I have had many state champions and not one have receive full ride. Most are walk on. The only ones that make money are the cub coaches. The losers are the kids. Most colleges want 2 or 3 sport kids. Just ask Alabama what they look for.

You will be spending thousand for these club sports and not get the return. Invest in a college fund and let your kids enjoy high school sports. Some will compete in college but some will just be burned out and never play again. I have sent over 100+ that have ran in college and most competed in smaller colleges and had a very good time .

lazydavid
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:07 am

My son is not what anyone would call a star athlete, but we told him several years ago he needs to do some sort of sport/activity year-round. For a few years, he switched off every couple of months to a new rec sport that was coming in season. He liked some (basketball) hated some (baseball), and was barred from playing one (tackle football) because of his weight (He was absolutely crushed--TCYFL can burn in hell for what they did to him). But along the way, he discovered Lacrosse, and that became his passion. After playing on the local rec league for two years, convincing me to coach and join the board, taking some private lessons in the off season, and playing in a couple of nearby casual leagues ($85 for six weekends of games only, no practices, stuff like that) of both indoor and box lacrosse, he tried out for a nearby club team and was selected.

Yes, it's expensive and a huge time commitment. And he's the slowest kid on the team by a significant margin. But he's having fun, his skills have improved dramatically, and he's lost a ton of weight. This club has regional, state, and national teams. He's at the regional level and I doubt he'll advance beyond it, which is totally fine. I'm not looking for an athletic scholarship to a D1/D3 school. I do hold out a little hope that Lacrosse may be a tiebreaker that gives him a tiny advantage over other candidates at whatever school he chooses to go to, but he'll largely get in on merit--he's very bright and especially talented in STEM. But mostly we're in it because he enjoys it.

So for now, he plays lacrosse year-round, March-June with our local rec team, and the rest of the year with his club team. And he plays rec basketball November-February. Seems like a good balance for him. When it stops being fun, we'll stop doing it. But I do hope he sticks with it, because I clearly see the benefits he's getting, even if he'll never be a grossly underpaid MLL player. :)

London
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Re: Family Balance and Children's Athletics

Post by London » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:59 am

It all depends on the kid. Some like it and want more. Some are happy with less. Most parents try to make it all about themselves and that's when problems start.

Travel sports don't have to be a cult. They are a time commitment however. One way of limiting the impact on the rest of the family can be to car pool with others and take turns.

Or just play rec, or with friends outside of any league. Whatever works for your child or family situation.

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