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August 30, 2017

          This is not intended to scare anyone, but to inform you about traps in youth sports.

          That may sound strange coming from Steve Sauder, but there are some traps!

          According to TIME magazine spending on youth sports in the U.S. has jumped from $8 billion to $15 billion in the last decade!

          For what you ask?

          Team fees, travel, coaching, equipment, uniforms and so on.

          The traps come when parents go overboard pushing their youngsters in hopes of earning a college scholarship. That's the biggest goal.

          Facts are only 2% of high school athletes get a D-I, NCAA

scholarship. This doesn't mean a scholarship is a bad goal, but it does mean spending thousands of dollars a year in pursuit of that scholarship isn't a good bet. A savings account might be a better one!

          Here's another trap. According to TIME "the more money families pour into youth sports, the more pressure the kids feel - and the less they enjoy their sport."

          If your son's baseball team joins the right organization they can have a national ranking versus other teams - starting at age 4? Of course you'll have to subscribe to the website for results.

          The USSSA is a not for profit group that promotes youth sports. Their 2015 revenues were $13.7 million and their CEO earned 831,000 bucks!

          Another trap is specialization - choosing a single sport early. Research shows this leads to more injury, burnout and depression. And, a recent NCAA survey indicated 88% of scholarship recipients played 2 or 3 sports throughout high school.

          My point is participation is great and travel teams are likely a necessity, but be real. It’s not a good plan to mortgage your house to send Junior to wrestling camp. Youth sports need a budget just like groceries.

          Even if you are convinced you have the next Tiger Woods in your family - keep it real. Coaches find talent and talented athletes find places to show off their skill in due time. Patience may be a virtue worth considering.

          Have you heard about Joey Erace? His on-line name is Joey Baseball. He has a hitting coach at $100 an hour and a fielding coach too. He lives in New Jersey but plays for teams in Texas and California. His dad admitted they have already spent over $30,000 on his baseball career. By the way - Joey Baseball is ten years old!

Have to wonder if he will even remember being a kid?

          Thanks for listening, I'm Steve Sauder