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Thoughts on Raising a Tennis Star

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I just realized that title is really confusing. My oldest child isn't even two. (Not to mention that his parents admit to not being athletically gifted.)

I'm referring to another article in the August 2014 issue of Money Magazine. It's a slightly differently worded version by the same author of What It Costs to Raise a Wimbledon Champion.

The article is filled with a lot of eye-opening expenses. For example, the article says, "elite players can easily spend $30,000 a year..." and breaks it down: travel ($15K), group training ($7K), private lessons ($5K), court fees ($2K), and equipment ($1K).

While it may sound like a ton of money, such costs of elite training is nothing new. Olympic athletes and violinist prodigies have similar costs. In fact, the comments on a previous article covered this.

Where the article tends to get a little weird for me is when it brings up the return of investment (ROI). It suggests that the parents are pinning their hopes on an athletic scholarship. Then it throws a bucket of water over those hopes by saying, "In 2011-2012, only 0.8% of undergrads won any kind of athletic scholarship."

Can you tell me what's wrong with this logic?

I'm guessing many of you caught it, but I'll spell it out anyway. The $30,000 a year costs that are being racked are by "elite players." Can you guess the talent level of the 0.8% of undergrads earning athletic scholarships? If you said, "elite players" we are totally in sync right now.

It would be very interesting to know what percentage of people are spending $30,000 and NOT getting scholarships. While it is very unlikely, perhaps each and every one DID get a scholarship. From the data that's presented, we simply don't know.

It isn't necessarily likely to be a loss and the odds aren't as bad as presented. The presented odds of 99.2% who don't get athletic scholarships include oafs like me.

I'm not going to make a case that it is wise to spend $30,000 a year for tennis training. I'm not going to say that it is a terrible move either. I'm going to say that it isn't wise to presume that there's going to be a return on investment... especially when there is an an uncertainty of receiving a scholarship... and that it might be worth less than years of all that tennis training.

Perhaps most importantly, the financial component is just one factor when it comes to nurturing your child's talents. I think most would say that it is a minimal one.

Last updated on August 12, 2014.

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One Response to “Thoughts on Raising a Tennis Star”

  1. As a tennis player I think it is interesting to view the investment of getting children involved with tennis. I don’t have kids yet but someday plan on getting my child involved with the sport. My goal is to try to make tennis an enjoyable experience for my son/daughter.

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