How to overcome the top 3 reasons parents say no to youth sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 12/12/2016

When your child asks to play a sport, do you hesitate? There is a lot to consider before making any decision and each family must calculate the cost.

Here are top three reasons that many parents say no:

Reason No. 1: It costs too much

There’s no debate, the cost of youth sports is rising. The costs can quickly add up, between the cost of equipment, fees, travel team, private lessons, and uniforms. I’ve talked to many parents that are paying anywhere from $100-$1000 a month.

It costs money to join a travel team; this is now the norm. In 2012, almost two-thirds (61 percent) of students paid to participate in middle and high school sports. Only 6 percent received fee waivers, according to a study by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Yes, the numbers are depressing and the costs are rising.

But here’s the deal: You don’t have to get sucked in to spending a lot of money.

There are cheaper ways to manage your child’s youth sports experience. So if money is your only objection, then there are ways to overcome the barrier. Don’t let that stop you.

Reason No. 2: It takes too much time

Depending on the coach and the age of the kids, teams generally practice between two and five times per week, plus games. However, the time spent on youth sports isn’t just on the field. Parents of children in youth sports often find themselves washing uniforms, volunteering for the team, taking road trips to the game–some of which take up the whole weekend. There’s no argument that youth sports takes a lot of time.

However, what’s the alternative?

You certainly don’t want your kids sitting at home watching TV or playing video games all afternoon. If your alternative is another activity such as music, art, drama or Scouts, then time also becomes an issue between all of the activities.

As long as you carve out some time to enjoy being together as a family, it’s okay to be busy with activities that your kids love. And when done correctly, youth sports can actually bring families together by turning weekend tournaments into family trips, encouraging siblings to help out at events or celebrating each child’s successes as a family.

Reason No. 3: There’s way too much drama

No argument here. There is way too much drama in youth sports. For many, that complexity destroys the joy of youth sports.

Unfortunately, drama follows you wherever you go in life. Whether at work, in the neighborhood, or with your family, there is always potential for drama. The better way of thinking about handling inter-personal drama is to ask yourself, how do I handle the drama, rather than how can I get away from the drama.

You handle drama by ignoring it, if it doesn’t concern you. Remember, those who create drama that involves you are not your real friends. Ultimately, you handle youth sports drama by letting the coach do his job, the ref do his job, the players play without parental interference, and steering clear of the negative sympathy groups that form in the bleachers.

No More Excuses

If you’re looking for an excuse for your child not to play sports, you will have no trouble finding one.

But keep this in mind: There’s no perfect experience for your child, thus some personal sacrifices will be made for the betterment of your child.

So find what he or she likes to do, stop making excuses, jump in with both feet, accept the challenges and get the most out of the experience.


Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called Her new book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.