Competitive sports leagues are not for the faint of heart. Referees can be intense, kids can be intense, coaches can be intense and parents can be down right scary. Knowing all this, you and your child still want to join a competitive league? Here are what a few other parents wish they knew before their kids started.
1. There is a ton of down time.
I wish I knew to get that mobile hotspot hook up bc I’d be at the field so many damn hours. Practices cut into the workday more than I anticipated. Not to mention the hours of Netflix streaming for little sister. – Maegan (two girls one in competitive soccer)
2. It’s a serious commitment.
Probably the biggest thing has been the “no missed practices” rule. The expect you to never be sick, have dentist appointments or ever go on vacation. It gets worse as they get older because there is always someone else willing to take their spot if the parents don’t make the full commitment. – Christine Everyday Mama (three kids, the oldest is in competitive cheer)
3. Always remind yourself why you joined the league.
I appreciated my sister’s advice to stay focused on what we wanted sports to be for our kids and to be clear and consistent with them about that, because they were sure to experience lots of different messages on the field and from the sidelines. – Theresa You Are Here (two daughters in competitive lacrosse)
4. It’s not just a drop off sport.
I wish I knew or realized how much commitment it would really be, having my daughter be a part of a competitive swim team. I love the team and my daughter’s participation, but it’s more than just dropping her off at practice three days a week.
There is volunteering to be a timer at swim meets, donating items for the snack bar, giving time for fundraising. – Laura Laura Lohr (one daughter on swim team)
5. Other parents can be frighteningly competitive.
I wish I had realized how competitive some of the parents would be. There was an instance, where another child’s parents were comparing our daughter’s performance to their daughter’s. These were people we believed to be friends and we had encouraged their daughter at many swim meets. I wish I had been prepared for that, because unfortunately, it changed the dynamic of our friendship. – Laura Laura Lohr (one daughter on swim team)
I was incredibly surprised by the sideline behavior and competitive nature of the parents. Not all, but many, clearly care about winning and their kids play time more than their kid. – Stefanie (three boys, two lacrosse players and one still figuring out if sports or theater is his gig)
6. The odds that a child will have professional or even a collegiate career is very slim.
A lot of time, money and energy goes into having kids play competitive sports. People mostly have their children play competitively because they “think” their child will one day qualify for a scholarship. I am here to say that unless your child is playing on the “A” team and starting it probably isn’t going to happen. Our oldest was put in club because he loved to play soccer but was shy. This helped him to grow as a person and come out of his shell a bit. Be careful not to start competitive sports too early also as the burn out rate is greater. Multiple sports gives the child something to look forward to when they are young. It also helps you decide which sport he or she is most interested in. In the end all that matters is that your child is learning, getting exercise and having fun! – Kelly (two daughters in competitive swimming and other sports in their downtime)
7. It’s a lot of time, money and effort for a sport your kid may give up.
My boys both played competitive soccer and baseball for years. In the sixth grade they gave up both of the sports and started playing lacrosse. They are both now going to college to play lacrosse. All that time and money and that wasn’t even the sport they ended up loving. – Stefanie (three boys, two lacrosse players and one still figuring out if sports or theater is his gig)
8. It’s very expensive.
Be prepared to pay for the league fees, the uniform fees, and travel fees. If it’s going to put stress on the family budget, it may not be for you.