High school football players just don’t jump onto the field and shout, “Here I am, put me in coach!” There are costs to count, and not just financially. Often, the highest cost is the time commitment required for practices, home games, and the travel time to and from away games.
Let’s explore the real costs of playing youth football.
Youth sports is a $5 billion annual industry, and about 45 million youth, ages 8-16 participate in youth sports just in the U.S. Roughly 25 million youth compete in school sports and 20 million play organized out-of-school sports. Parents pay an estimated $671 annually for their child’s sports-related activities. About 21-percent of parents spend $1,000 or more on their child’s sports activities every year. These stats do not include health care costs for sport-related injuries.
The costs can really add up: equipment costs, registration fees, summer sports camps, uniforms, coaching fees and other sports-related expenses. According to a survey of over 1,000 parents of student-athletes, football is the most expensive sport to play.
Solutions for the Money Crunch
The Time Factor
Besides the financial investment necessary to suit up, it’s crucial to count the cost of how much time it takes to keep your child in youth football.
It starts with off-season conditioning, then a rigorous schedule of pre-season practices, including two-a-days for at least two weeks. That means no less than three months of necessary transportation to conditioning and practice and traveling to and from games.
That doesn’t take into account getting school work completed and taking time to prepare mentally to face different opponents every week.
All that means is your youth will need transportation back and forth to practices, back and forth to school, and back and forth to away games if a bus isn’t available.
It is a huge commitment of time.
“During the season, we don’t get home until around 7:30. You get home, you get something to eat, do your homework and then it is time to go to bed. It’s hard to do anything,” said one high school senior football player. “During the season, it is football, school work and that’s it.”
Solutions for Time Challenges
Weighing the financial investment and time commitment required of your youth to play football should be discussed seriously long before the season starts. The famous adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” holds true here. It will require sacrifice from all involved but if the family is supportive of their child playing football, it will discover creative solutions.
Michelle Hill, the Strong Copy Quarterback at Winning Proof, is a sports and fitness content writer. She writes championship content for pro athletes, coaches, sports agents, sports psychologists, fitness professionals and transformation/success coaches. Her writing includes websites, e-newsletters, e-workbooks, brochures, press releases, blog articles and book development. Let’s call an audible for your next writing project that moves you from the red zone into the end zone.