Jeff Farris
Statistically, the odds of a child playing sports at the high school level are good. A study by the National Federation of State High School Associations reports that over 50% of all kids participate in some form of high school athletics. The following table shows the odds for playing a particular sport.

Sport High School
Participation Rate
All Sports 55%
Football 12%
Baseball 6%
Basketball 7%
Soccer 4%
Hockey .5%

If parents want to give their child an edge for future high school participation, they should start working as soon as possible to accomplish these tasks:
  • Help kids develop a love of the game. Make sure they have fun and look forward to practices and games.

  • Encourage multiple sports to build a well-rounded athlete. Don't specialize in any one sport too early.

  • Take breaks from playing. Some kids starting high school athletics have been playing organized sports longer than some professional athletes' careers and they are already burned out.

  • Support team-oriented play. At the high school level, teams can't win without everyone working together.

  • Demonstrate a healthy life style by providing a good role model and participating in physical activities.

  • Put school first. Athletic participation is often tied to success in the classroom. Emphasizing school success at younger ages gives kids the best foundation to develop throughout high school.
Kids don't start reaching their potential until they start developing their adult bodies during puberty. Parents who push too hard with too much activity, training or stress, risk burning their child out before they even know what their child's true potential is. If parents want to see their child have the opportunity to participate in high school athletics, they need to emphasize the mental aspects of sports participation until such time as nature and coaches can do the rest.
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