Q: What are the odds that my child will earn a college athletic scholarship?
A: Coaches and parents should realize that only about 5 percent of high school athletes play college sports, and only about 1 percent obtain athletic scholarships. The odds are incredibly long, so consciously or unconsciously making a scholarship the ultimate goal of youth sports participation is a recipe for disappointment. Instead, kids should play hockey – and other sports – for fun, good health and development. These outcomes are readily achievable, and as ultimate goals, they keep everyone’s priorities in order.
Youth sports can be wonderful. They offer countless benefits to participants that pay dividends for life. But youth sports can also be time-consuming, difficult and outrageously expensive if they aren’t operated in the athletes’ and families’ best interests.
Parents are often faced with juggling schedules, transportation, budgets and emotions to make it all happen.
Sadly, many parents end up tangled in youth sports done wrong. They get caught up in pushing their kids to pursue the game at so-called “elite” levels in search of that elusive college scholarship. Their priorities become misguided. Unfortunately, more times than not, this parental pursuit overwhelms the appropriate athletic development path for a child. When that happens, the child suffers.
To truly do what’s best for kids, it’s imperative for adults to put development and fun at the forefront of their child’s hockey career, rather than a mission to earn a scholarship or play professionally.
The author, Michele Amidon, was a four-year letter-winner at St. Lawrence University and an ECAC MVP. Later, as a coach, she guided Bowdoin to a pair of national tournaments en route to being named NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year.