Your Child is Not Going to Be a Professional Athlete.

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Another summer.They Are Kids.

Another year of watching parents put unrealistic expectations on their child.

Here are the facts.

Most kids won’t play sports in high school.

Almost every kid won’t play sports in college.

There’s almost no chance you will know anyone who plays professional sports.

Your child has a better chance of being a brain surgeon than playing baseball for the Cardinals, basketball for the Lakers, or football for the Cowboys.

If you weren’t a great athlete, the odds of your child being one are slim to none.

There’s no amount of practice, coaching, or throwing money at the situation that will improve your sons or daughters enough if they aren’t born with special athetic abilities.

Also, screaming at the umpire or referee won’t help.  They really aren’t there to keep your child from being successful (note to self).

The truth is if you were an average athlete, your child will likely be an average athlete.

Parents who are 5 foot 8, seldom have children who are 6 foot 7.  If you were slow, guess what.

If you got cut from your junior high team, don’t plan on your son or daughter participating in the Olympics.

This doesn’t mean kids shouldn’t participate in sports.

It doesn’t mean they have to be great to play.

It just means parents need to be realistic.

The truth is, when your child is 40 no one cares if they hit the ball, scored a basket, or even played when they were 7.

Sit in your lawn chair and enjoy it.

That’s it.  That’s all there is.

There’s no college scholarship or huge contract coming your way.

Just ice cream after the game.  And that’s good enough.

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14 Responses to “Your Child is Not Going to Be a Professional Athlete.”

  1. Christy
    on May 13th, 2012
    @ 11:46 am

    well said.

  2. kelly
    on May 13th, 2012
    @ 3:21 pm

    I agree whole-heartedly agree that we should all have realistic expectations of our children playing sports, regarding their athletic abilities, for sure. I do encourage parents to focus on other types of expectations… Do your best. Be positive and encourage others. If you start something, finish it to the best of your ability. There is so much kids can learn from sports that will last them a lifetime.

  3. Jim
    on May 13th, 2012
    @ 9:22 pm

    Mr. Smith,

    You state, “Your child has a better chance of being a brain surgeon than playing baseball for the Cardinals, basketball for the Lakers, or football for the Cowboys.” But what you did not cite statistics on is a child’s ability to play baseball for the CUBS, basketball for the WIZARDS or football for the Cleveland BROWNS.

    I understand we should not set such unrealistic expectations for most athletes, but what is unrealistic about Cubs, Wizards and Browns?

  4. Gwen Martin
    on May 14th, 2012
    @ 1:37 am


  5. Joyce Walker
    on May 14th, 2012
    @ 2:20 am

    I think for the most part, every parent who wishes they had been properperly developed and then played professional sports believes they would have had a chance. Perhaps “now” they can see their full potential through their children. I think it has a lot to do with chance as well. I don’t know much about sports but I don’t hear much on second and third generation seems moreso first generations..

  6. Sarah
    on May 14th, 2012
    @ 9:12 am

    Thank you for saying what most teachers and parents want to say when they see parents trying to live out their dreams through their kids. Let your child be himself!

  7. cindy
    on May 15th, 2012
    @ 8:42 am

    He will not be a professional athlete because he has a principal with low expectations. :)

  8. Lisa Legaspi
    on Jul 18th, 2012
    @ 8:57 am

    True enough. But for me, the lessons my kids learn playing sports often far exceed, and I often find far more valuable, than the lessons they learn in the classroom. If enthusiasm for sports outweighs enthusiasm for academic endeavors, perhaps teachers and admins should look for themselves to remedy the situation instead of blaming parents for having unrealistic expectations for their kids’ athletic futures. In my experience, most parents are pretty realistic about how far their kids can go in any given sport as an athlete but support their child for other reasons. Maybe classroom teachers and principals should strive to set the same standards in the classroom that coaches set for their players: High expectations and accountability regarding promptness and preparedness. Drill, drill, drill the basics. Reward based on performance and ability while still giving everyone a chance to strive for greatness and to be the best. Set measurable standards. Punish bad behavior.

  9. Andrew
    on Jan 11th, 2014
    @ 7:49 am

    I agree about participarion being fantastic for all people. What is ridiculous is when young people have this deluded idea that they are better than they really are because someone is feeding the dream. I teach young people from 16+ and have numerous chats about what they want to do. When professional sport comes up I have had 14 years of experience so have a good idea of what is required – TALENT! Professional sport is a job NOT a hobby and sometimes NOT fun! Nobody is going to pay you for just trying hard or putting in a lot of effort if you’re can’t produce a top class performance on the field and if they do I’m pretty certain that the team is not that successful. Just because it happens in Disney movies doesn’t mean it is going to happen for these kids. Some of my students cannot make local amateur teams and are nowhere near the best in the college team yet think they are awesome players, better than the others and better than professionals! Who feeds them this rubbish? Be honest with them in a nice way obviously but don’t lie to them as you are setting them up to fail in life. Some of my kids say they don’t have any plans after college because they are going to be sportsmen and women – CRAZY! If they were good enough someone would be chatting to them from pro clubs and teams already. Don’t set your kids up to fail with dreams that are just that – DREAMS not reality.

  10. Brett W
    on Jun 22nd, 2014
    @ 3:41 pm

    but what about those children that DO grow up to be professional athletes?
    I understand that the overwhelming majority wont, but some children do get college scholarships, and some children with average parents end up being professional athletes. So don’t discourage your child from perfecting their sport because their chances of playing in college or being a professional are slim. You might be surprised what motivated children who pledge themselves wholeheartedly to their sport can do. I know I sure was.

  11. Mark J
    on Jul 1st, 2014
    @ 9:48 am

    Joyce Walker pretty much summed it up folks. Yes, talent, athelectic ability, and genetics are the end all be all when it comes to sports. BUT… it’s all about CHANCE as well. A kid with average athletic ability and talent with the proper instruction, coaching, practice, and experience could very well develope into a professional athlete.. Let’s not sell our kids short.

    The Manninig brothers are a rare happeneing..But where are the sons and daughters of Michael Jordan, Jo Montana, John Elway ??

  12. Anita
    on Aug 19th, 2014
    @ 4:37 pm

    Our son plays pro baseball, currently at the AAA level and is expected to be in the majors next year, six years after getting drafted out of high school. It is a long, tough, grueling road to travel. It takes unbelievable talent, perseverence, luck, and a great support team. We knew he was very good but the evidence of this came in the form of a stack of scholarship offers to division 1 schools in junior year followed by letters from MLB teams and visits from scouts in senior year. If your child isn’t generating this kind of attention odds are astronomical that they have a shot at making it happen.

  13. Bryan
    on Sep 12th, 2014
    @ 10:43 am

    Im a new parent and yes I would love to see my son one day throw footballs on Sunday. Its a dream but first he needs to find out what sport he loves first. I will not force him to play a certain sport. I believe one must become very passionate of the sport in order for them to turn pro. Also, I want to be a role model for my son and family. Supplying my family with the best health and nutrition I believe is #1. Genetics is a load of crap in my opinion. It all comes down to nutrition. Its a big challenge.

  14. jay
    on May 1st, 2016
    @ 7:27 am

    I agree that it is hard for children to turn pro and yes a parent should have a plan b. But being a very good athlete but not being drafted and being in a family with my brother actually being a pro I don’t think just because a parent is average does not mean the child will be that way. My father was not a professional athlete and was not very good at sports but two of his sons become really good athletes and one becomes a pro. Of course everyone does not do this but i believe that if you read this article and just think well he is right and my son will not be a pro your child will see that in how you treat the sport that he may love and start thinking the same way. I believe it is all mental because I’ve seen average players become great players because they think that they can. I don’t know were we got this way of thinking that we are not good enough to be great but we need to not put this onto our kids. My son is a really good athlete and at this point i would say that he is better than I was and i will never tell him that he is not good enough to do anything. He knows that there is no limit to what he can do and it is up to him to do it. Stop teaching your children how to fail which is a learned behavior that i want no part of

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