Youth sports are on the rise in the United States. More kids play some type of youth sports now than ever before. Research indicates that 51.3% of youths 6-17 take part in some sort of sport with a projected 63% by 2030.
Kids are joining club teams, travel teams, tournament teams, school teams, and more. Families invest a lot of time, money, and energy into transporting their children from games to practices, to trainings, to tournaments. The costs can add up.
Elite sports are becoming very expensive, with families spending thousands and thousands of dollars every year to help their kids get on the best teams. According to USA Today, nearly 20% of families spend more than $12,000 on youth sports in a year. Over 67% of parents say they hope their kids will achieve an athletic scholarship and 34% are hoping for an Olympic team or to play professionally.
These hopeful families spend thousands of dollars on private training or small group sessions. These are offered outside of their regular team training. Bloom’s 2 Sigma indicates that when private tutoring raised a student’s performance by two standard deviations - setting them at the top of their class! The same holds true for private training and athletes.
Unfortunately, not all families can afford such lavish elite program lifestyles and need to find other options.
Training Outside of Team Practice
When it comes to training for sports, there are several options. Kids can participate in their team practices, or they can seek skills training elsewhere, in addition to team practice. A lot of kids choose to gain a deeper knowledge of their sport with small group sessions. These trainings are usually held at a facility with weekly lessons.
The most common type of individual training is through the use of private coaching. There are pros and cons to private lessons. And each family needs to look at their goals and situation to decide if the cost of private lessons is worth it to them.
Jay Mason, head coach of Cal Poly Pamona’s Women’s Soccer Team states: “I have seen tremendous growth in my player's positional understanding of the game through 1 on 1 coaching interaction. We are able to focus on the details and idiosyncrasies of both the player and the demands of their position. Being able to have a player's complete focus, without the distractions of their teammates or internal vulnerabilities of being coached in front of their peers has helped strengthen their personal confidence. We all know that confidence is the biggest accelerator of development and I have seen players benefit exponentially from this type of coaching.”
In this article, we will explore the various types of training athletes can pursue. While this article leans more towards soccer players, it applies to all sports in general.
Sports academies range across the United States. These academies are private schools, offering academics alongside a concentration on athletic performance. Depending on the academy, tuition can range from $30,000 to well over $60,000. Some of these offer boarding and others offer locally resident options.
Student athletes receive live coach feedback. Approximately 5 days a week of training and performance feedback. Some academies offer school teams for competition and some academies register players with a local club.
A great way to try out a program is by attending one of their soccer camps. Some academies and professional teams host off-season camps. This is a way for athletes and families to meet the coaches and tour the facilities. It is also a recruitment tool for the athletic program.
Prices on camps vary per location and the level of the player. These range from $200 to over $1,000 per week of training. If the athlete is boarding at the location, the cost can be higher. Camps offer team trainings with a typical player-to-coach ratio of 8:1 (or more).
Private Coaching Sessions
One of the most popular and effective ways to improve skill is through the use of a private coach. Research also supports the idea that external coaching is more effective at improving an athlete’s team-playing skills and enhancing performance, as well as satisfaction in their sport.
Private coaching sessions can range in price but are around $100 per hour. The more elite level the coach (played collegiately or professionally) the higher the rate. Athletes receive 1:1 training and feedback and can gain a mentor to help them through difficult situations they might be experiencing.
Finding high-quality coaches can cost families additional time and money when it comes to traveling to the coaches. And many private coaches do not look at game film so they cannot identify what the player needs to work on for game scenarios. Not every individual that offers private coaches is truly an “elite” coach. The added time it takes to compare coaches and ensure the quality of someone can be a tedious task.
Training on Your Own
A wonderful option, and one that all athletes should invest time into, is training on your own. There are many ways to approach this option.
Training apps like Techne or Dribble Up for soccer are two programs that work from your phone or tablet. You pay a monthly subscription rate of $9.99 and upwards of $25 a month to use the platform. Programs like Dribble Up require you to purchase their ball to use their app. This equipment can cost $99. These platforms tend to have online tracking systems for the athlete’s progress, leaderboards, and libraries full of drills that athletes can work on by themselves. But, there is no live coach feedback or a way to ask questions to receive feedback on these platforms.
There are also thousands of videos online from lots of different soccer players showing drills. These are a good source to get an idea of what to work on, however, be careful who you are watching for drills. Anyone can say they are an athlete and post drills online. There are many stories of athletes injuring themselves because they took advice from an unreliable source on YouTube. Make sure you do your research before following an online “coach’s” training program.
Blayze professional coach Ken Hill says it best when considering training on your own versus hiring a private coach: “The thought of paying someone to coach you can seem ridiculous. It is 2022 and everything is out there on the internet! But what the YouTube videos do not give you is individualism and context for your personal situation. You cannot get direct feedback on where you are and the next steps you need, and in the correct order, to get to where you want to go. Private coaches help you recognize your plateaus, motivate you to keep going, explain to you when you are doing a drill or skill incorrectly, and most importantly, hold you accountable.”
At Blayze, our product model is different. We blend the best of both worlds. The ability to train on your own, with the use of live private coaching feedback sessions. Our coaches watch your game film to understand how you move, how you play, and what areas you can improve upon.
The Blayze+ program offers two technique analysis and two game film coaching. There are weekly custom training plans, live calls with your coach, mentorship, chat messaging, and more. This type of program might cost others around $1,000/month. But we want to break down the barriers of expensive private coaching. Our sessions can be as low as $39 per month and families can scale up or down depending on their family needs. Wow!
Blayze professional coaches know what it is like to work hard to accomplish their dreams. They help youth athletes identify areas of improvement and develop a realistic plan on how to accomplish goals. Our athletes are learning more than skill development. They are learning life lessons of perseverance, overcoming hurdles, and the responsibility of managing their success.
The Blayze program is all online. Families need not invest hundreds of dollars to travel to see their private coach each week. And think of all the time saved not sitting in rush hour traffic to get across town to see that elite level trainer?! Learn more about Blayze+ here.