Money Smart Athlete Blog

Sports Parents: Your child’s sports future and drawing the line between dreams and reality

May 19, 2021 | Parenting

By Iacovos Iacovides, APC Sports

The younger you are the more hopeful you are, and the more hopeful you are, the wilder dreams you have. When kids are young, their imagination runs wild and they all want to become famous and great. They want to become football players, basketball players, astronauts, race car drivers and so on. Dreams are good and a fundamental aspect of being a child; however, as your kids get older you have to slowly pull them to reality, without of course crushing their hopes and dreams.

According to the numbers, there are more or less half a million student-athletes in the US, however, of those only 2% become professional athletes; the rest will become professionals in something else. That implies that only the elite of the elite will manage to make a living by competing in their favorite sport. Nonetheless, this is not a reason to discourage children from participating in sports. After all, there is a lot to be gained from sports in terms of qualities and skills that can always come in handy in life. Teamwork and communication skills, sense of community and time management are all positive effects of sports that are transferable and even required in most professions.

It is also likely that by being involved in sports, your kid will develop certain character attributes that are useful in life such as, determination, perseverance, positivity, a can-do attitude and passion. The key is communicating to your child that their goal when competing should not be to turn pro, but to do it for their own happiness and physical health. If they have the necessary talent to turn pro, their coach will most probably let you know. Most of those select few who stand a chance of turning pro will know it by the time they go to college and maybe even before that.

Even in the case where a child is destined to become a professional athlete, there are other challenges and obstacles that might impede them from doing so, such as, injuries. So, it is not only important to instill in children that there are benefits from competing aside from money, glory and fame, but also to encourage them to discover other passions in life. As most of them will not end up with a professional sports contract, you have to help them discover other interests, be they a specific profession, such as becoming a lawyer, or a broader field of interest, such as biology. That will help them develop an idea of what they want to do aside from sports.

Sports are a healthy and necessary activity for every child and most children will at some point express the desire to become professionals in their sport; very few of them will.  It is ok to have such wild dreams when they are particularly young, but as they grow older parents have to help them become more realistic. The two most important things are helping children see the broader benefits of participating in sports, but also to help them discover other passions and interests. This has to be done carefully so as to avoid crushing their capacity to make dreams and directing them to cynicism and pessimism.

For more information on sport parenting and how it can positively contribute to your child’s life, you may get in touch with us at [email protected] .