Oklahoma Parents Pay Big Bucks For Youth Sports Training

Friday, February 25th 2011, 5:12 pm
By: News On 6

Carrie Netherton, 918Moms.com

UNDATED -- A college athletic scholarship can mean big savings for moms and dads. That's one reason why so many parents are spending more money on personal trainers for their kids.

New research shows youth sports training is a $4.5 billion industry. Why are so many parents starting their kids in sports at an earlier age, and what age is appropriate for serious athletic training?

Speed, coordination and control: just a few things the competitive 99 Blitz Red soccer team is learning - to try and become better athletes.

Eleven-year-old Gabe Reed wants to be a professional soccer player and is already working towards a college scholarship.

"I just started when I was little and I played up and I just like it," he said.

"I tell him, just like everything in life, you've got to work hard and if this is his dream and his goal, then he's gotta pursue it," said Steve Reed, Gabe's father.

The team has come to Dynamic Sports Development - and strength conditioning coach Dan Stone - for help. DSD is a training facility for serious athletes.

"If you're 9 years old trying to win little league, you're on the JV team trying to make varsity, you're on a varsity team trying to get a college scholarship, or a college scholarship trying to get drafted," said Dan Stone of Dynamic Sports Development.

But what age is appropriate to start this serious training?

According to DSD, it's age 9.

"Just from doing the research and looking around at the age kids develop and acquire different motor skills and coordination skills, we found that 9 is a good age," he said.

Still, Coach Stone won't put these 11 and 12 year olds on the weight racks; instead, he's teaching them proper mechanics so they don't get injured.

"Only so many people can make the NFL, NBA and MLB. We try to push kids as hard as possible. If that's an opportunity for that kid, we're going to try and make that possible," he said.

At Soccer City, there's a program called Lil Kickers where the kids learn the ins and outs of soccer. These athletes are a lot younger.

"The kids make it fun; they come out here and have a blast," said Dustin Knight, Lil Kickers soccer coach.

"They learn soccer without knowing they're learning soccer."

And they're learning as young as 18 months! We spoke to two moms who wanted their daughters to learn this sport at a young age so they could bond with their soccer-playing husbands.

"They learn about winning and losing; you don't always win and you get a sense of accomplishment," said mother Christianne Warlick.

The moms just want their kids to have fun.

"I think there are so many different options for what you spend your time on in life," said mom Wendy Konig. "Sports is great, but I don't think that should be a big push for them, unless they show some particular talent."

For more information about Soccer City or Dynamic Sports Development, go to 918Moms.com.