The days of furthering a kid's athletic career by telling him to go play outside are ancient history.
Today, sports is big business, and moms and dads act accordingly. There are travel teams for their kids to play on, club memberships, clinics, individual coaching, expensive equipment.
Parents are spending thousands of dollars a year — just the travel expenses for youth sports is $7 billion a year, according to a recent report from CNBC — on kids' sports careers.
But that investment may be misguided, according to a new study from Utah State University's Families in Sport Lab. Researchers have found that the more parents spend on youth sports, the more likely their kids are to lose interest. There's nothing worse than a sullen 11-year-old goalie.
"The more money folks are investing, the higher pressure kids are perceiving," says Travis Dorsch, an assistant professor in Utah State's department of family, consumer and human development. "More pressure means less enjoyment. As kids enjoy sports less, their motivation goes down. (So) the indirect effect is, yes, spending more money and less motivation."
Parents justify their financial outlay by saying they're increasing the child's chances for a college scholarship or, down the line, a lucrative professional career. But a look at the numbers shows they may be deluding themselves.
Continue reading on the Chicago Tribune site.