Kids Sports – Which Are the Least Expensive and Which Will Break the Bank?

Champions keep playing until they get it right. ~ Billie Jean King

For many parents with young kids, sports are a big part of the kids’ and the parents’ lives during their childhood. Over the past few years, sports have become very expensive when you consider the gear, the entry fees, the travel and other expenses. Everything can add up quickly! However, some sports are more expensive than others. Some youth sports can be surprisingly affordable while others can really break the bank!

 Some families may find great opportunities at the YMCA where many different youth sports are available and open to anyone, regardless of skill level. The prices are reasonable and the experiences for the children and parents are top notch. The kids can stay active, and the memories they make will last a lifetime. 

Once your child gets a little older, he or she may begin to take sports more seriously and become more competitive. This is when the financial reality of playing certain sports can really become an issue. Sports like hockey, lacrosse, tennis and baseball are not only some of the most common and fastest growing sports, but they can also add up to cost more than the average family may be able to afford. For example, hockey equipment can cost around $600, a single, good quality tennis racket can cost up to $220, and lacrosse and baseball team fees can be up to $1,500, just for a two-month season if you play for a club team. This doesn’t even factor in travel, hotels, meals, etc.

In my own experience, my now 15-year-old son has played tennis for almost 10 years, and we have had to sacrifice in other areas, so he is able to play the sport he loves. From equipment and tournament fees to clinics, lessons and travel…tennis is a sport that can definitely break the bank if you really commit to it. 

Hockey and lacrosse are two other popular and expensive sports. The protective gear and other necessary equipment for these sports can get very pricey, and seasonal fees can start at around $1,200 for a club team. There is also a good amount of travel, hotels, meals, etc. These sports can run into the thousands just for one season. They are both sports that can break the bank if your child really wants to commit to them. 

On the flip side, there are many sports that are tons of fun that are much easier on your wallet. Sports like basketball, track and field, wrestling and swimming are some of the less expensive ones. Many of these are offered in school where the cost can be further subsidized. These sports do not require a lot of equipment, which cuts down on the cost even further!

It was refreshing to watch my 15-year-old son spend a season on the wrestling team. I was pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive it was as well as how much fun we all had! All he needed was a pair of shoes and was able to practice and compete for free. My food bills…now, that’s another story.

Keeping your kids active, while allowing them to have fun and make memories is something every parent strives to do. There are many choices out there…some that require a pretty big investment and some that don’t. You decide what’s best for your family. 

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