Are Club Sports Worth It?

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By an edhat reader

Do other readers have experience with local club sports? I'm wondering what the local Edhat community thinks about local coaches asking for nearly $1,000/month to simply be coached and play in certain tournaments.

One of the problems would be the fear of retaliation if a family did not pick the club program of the High School Coaches from their particular school. It seems to me, on many levels, this is unethical and a conflict of interest. We already pay significant taxes that pay for the High school sports season.

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illybay Mar 22, 2020 11:48 AM
Are Club Sports Worth It?

The club sports scene can be sketchy. First of all, high school coaches often require their players to play off-season with specific club teams. In addition, playing more than one high school sport is often discouraged since it conflicts with this requirement.

Club sports is often about snake oil salesmen playing up to the fantasies of wannabe parents-of-a-pro.

I organized and coached a local club team for 5 years. There were plenty of tournaments at the Thunderdome and locally as far as Ventura, so there was no need to go traveling. That made it affordable. It also helped that I never made a cent from running the team. The point: Staying local and not seeing a team as a cash cow can work.

The results? We had lots of fun, won lots of tournaments, and are still connected well into the players' adulthoods. A number of my guys played college ball at SBCC and other places. One even made a D-1 team as a walk-on! Meanwhile, the high school coach of most of my players despised our team. He just didn't like the way we played. We weren't organized enough for his taste. He couldn't handle the diversity of style we represented.

This attitude is reflected by a lot of high school coaches: They want to control where and how their players play in the off-season. And so, they steer their kids to specific club teams. And the club teams cash in by charging the players large amounts of $$$ with the promise of boosting their kids to the elite level.

I have a lot of NBA experience (having just finished my 32nd season for the Golden State Warriors) and know that there are very few elite players...and that the elite players are obviously elite. Paying a club $1000 per month isn't going to make a difference. It might, however, earn one's kid a spot on her/his varsity team.

Morale of the story? Stay local and DIY. And forget about grooming your kid to be a pro....if they are that good, they will be spotted anyway.

a-1584840954 Mar 21, 2020 06:35 PM
Are Club Sports Worth It?

As a former club parent, I have a lot to say about this. There are a LOT of pros and cons regarding any club sport. It's mandatory that first, the child wants to participate, and equally important, that the parent truly understands what this would entail for THE PARENT. Monthly dues and attendance requirements are just the tip of the iceberg. To fit in with expectations, technical performance clothing and equipment is expected above and beyond what one would expect ($$$), extra training to be competitive($$$), overuse injuries, pressure to reject all other sports and activities, traveling including hotels that the team uses ($$$), sleep deprivation from driving your child to 5am practice, no dinnertime family life, social and volunteering expectations above and beyond most people's tolerance including bull**it from your typical social hierarchy (parents and kids alike). Imagine the most annoying people at your child's school and imagine that they are the ones in charge. And if you don't jump when told there will be consequences, social consequences. The scene is unbearable not only for the least talented athlete but can be for the most talented athlete as well (parents and kids find ways to level the playing field). Yes there are rewards, but it's unlikely that the club will lay the entire package out on the table before you join. If they did, they wouldn't be able to recruit anyone.

CoastWatch Mar 21, 2020 03:17 PM
Are Club Sports Worth It?

Club Taxi Service around the State is more like it... Don't do it.

a-1584812916 Mar 21, 2020 10:48 AM
Are Club Sports Worth It?

The child should decide if they want to continue at a competitive level, not the parents. I agree with the above poster that starting too young is dangerous for injury. Jr high level is about right for getting serious if the child wants to . I'm not fully aware of all the club sports in town but what I've heard from other parents is the water sports (swimming, water polo) and volleyball are great. The club soccer teams on the other hand is subpar and they'll take just about anyone for the money.

a-1584807211 Mar 21, 2020 09:13 AM
Are Club Sports Worth It?

As a parent of a kid who doesn’t do club sports, I would say Nothing, they are not worth it. It depends on your child’s age. Elementary school is too early to do club for the vast majority of kids. It can lead to over-use injuries. If elementary kids are allowed to try different sports, they eventually find the right fit. Junior high & high school kids know that sports get more competitive and higher stakes. Does your high school kid want to play sports in college? Do they want to play professionally? Then yes, it is probably worth it. Otherwise, it is a lot of time, money, and every weekend traveling. It seems like you know some club coaches who are also high school coaches, so I can’t speak to that ethical issue - but it seems suspicious. We’ve had lots of non-professional coaches who are great and just let the kids play. There is so much to be said for that.

a-1584805520 Mar 21, 2020 08:45 AM
Are Club Sports Worth It?

If the fee of $1,000 per month is correct here, there probably aren't a lot of families who can afford that insane fee to ensure their kid will make the professional team when they turn 18 a la Kobe or LeBron. Really!

RHS Mar 22, 2020 09:58 AM
Are Club Sports Worth It?

Unfortunately, while a lot of families who want to participate in these activities "cannot afford it" you can be sure that peer pressure to do so will get to many of them. They will do without more necessary things--maybe paying health or car insurance premiums for example. We live in a bizarre time. Why else would the public support professional athletes being paid millions for games or college students now being paid for their performance for the old school?

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