Paying kids for performance in youth sports

Paying kids for performance in youth sports


By: Kate Dilworth, Director, Marketing
National Alliance for Youth Sports

What motivates kids to play sports? What makes them want to get out there, try their best, make the tackle or score the basket?

Of course each child, along with their unique personality, will have their own unique driving factors. It could be that they enjoy the competition, they want to improve their skills, they don’t want to let down their teammates, or that they have a strong desire to be the best. It could also be because they get paid.

Yes, you read that right. Spend some time around youth sports competitions and you'll hear of parents or coaches handing out money to players for points, tackles and other stats or achievements.

My question is why do they do this? Sports are supposed to be fun. If a child needs monetary motivation to do well then maybe they should find another activity that they enjoy doing more. To me, the idea of paying young athletes to perform is another way adults are just messing up youth sports.

Losing teeth and doing chores are two things that seem acceptable to pay kids for, because no one actually wants to do those things! Paying for good grades? That's also debatable. It certainly didn't happen in my house. I would have broken the bank!

But sports? I don't get it. Would you pay a kid to go sledding or swimming? Would you pay them to ride their bike around the neighborhood with their friends?

Now I'm not a psychologist so I'm not going to attempt to tell you what is right or wrong. I'd just like to start a discussion and hear different viewpoints. So please share your opinion in the comment section. What do you think about paying kids to excel at a sport?

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