The Truth About Youth Travel Sports and College Scholarships

Unveiling the Reality of Youth Sports and Athletic Scholarships

In today’s bustling world, the realm of youth sports has undergone a transformation, with increasing emphasis placed on specialization and intense training regimens. As parents, it’s imperative that we stay informed about the latest research and trends to ensure our children’s holistic development. Here at Fort Lauderdale Jiu Jitsu, we’re committed to shedding light on the realities of youth sports scholarships and the impact of intense specialization on children’s well-being.  You can click on the video link below to watch a full explanation, or you can read below for a summary.

The Phenomenon of Youth Travel Sports

Youth travel sports have become synonymous with intense specialization, demanding rigorous practice schedules, and extensive travel commitments. Children, from a tender age, are often required to dedicate themselves solely to one activity, practicing several days a week and participating in weekend games that often involve long-distance travel. This phenomenon isn’t limited to a specific sport but has permeated various disciplines, including gymnastics, baseball, soccer, football, and swimming.

Many professional athletes have recently spoken out against travel sports.  Take pro football play Tom Brady’s recent comments,

Tom Brady:  “…what I remember from being in youth sports, everything was really localized.  There were no travel teams.  I didn’t play football until I was a freshman in high school.  There were some camps, but I just played in the neighborhood in our street with all the kids we grew up with.”

Drawbacks of Intense Specialization

While the allure of grooming the next athletic prodigy may be tempting, the drawbacks of intense specialization are profound. One of the most concerning findings, as highlighted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is that a staggering 70% of children drop out of organized youth sports by the age of 13. This startling statistic underscores the adverse effects of placing undue pressure on children to excel in a single activity from a young age.

Moreover, intense specialization often leads to the neglect of children who may not exhibit exceptional athletic prowess. Unlike in the past, where coaches focused on developing all children, today’s youth sports culture tends to prioritize only the best athletes, leaving many children feeling sidelined and demotivated.

Financial Realities of Youth Sports Scholarships

A common misconception among parents is the belief that intense specialization will pave the way for lucrative sports scholarships. However, the reality is far from glamorous. Of the 30% of children who continue with sports past the age of 13, only a mere 1.3% of high school athletes receive any form of sports scholarship, whether full or partial. The average value of these scholarships, according to the NCAA, is a modest $5,000, far below the exorbitant costs associated with youth travel sports.

Long-Term Impact on Adult Participation

Beyond the realm of youth sports, the consequences of intense specialization extend into adulthood. While 75% of adults participated in sports during their youth, only 25% engage in regular physical activity as adults. This decline in adult participation underscores the importance of instilling a lifelong passion for physical activity from an early age.

Recommendations for Healthy Youth Development

At Fort Lauderdale Jiu Jitsu, we advocate for a balanced approach to youth sports participation. Rather than focusing solely on intense specialization, we believe in encouraging children to explore a variety of activities, fostering creativity, and providing ample unstructured downtime. By striking a balance between structured training and leisure time, children can develop a passion for lifelong physical activity while maintaining their mental well-being and academic responsibilities.

In conclusion, the realities of youth sports scholarships and the impact of intense specialization on children’s well-being cannot be overstated. As parents, educators, and community members, it’s our responsibility to prioritize the holistic development of our children, ensuring they have the opportunity to thrive both on and off the field. Let’s embrace a balanced approach to youth sports participation and empower our children to discover their passions for a lifetime of fulfillment.


Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu, LLC was founded in 2007 by Bruce Belfield, a 5th Degree Black Belt and Chief Master Instructor. Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu offers classes for pre-school children ages 4-6 and elementary age kids 7 and up designed to develop the critical skills children need – specialized for their age group – for success in school and in life as well as keeping them safe and free from being the target of bullies.

Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu’s Adult Jiu-Jitsu System is a complete adult fitness and self-defense program for adults who want to get (and stay) in shape while developing confidence, discipline, and focus through learning the most effective self-defense system on the planet.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 954-802-9831. You can also visit our website at

About Bruce Belfield. Bruce Belfield is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo and Chief Master Instructor. He also holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Karate. He holds a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University and has been training martial arts since the age of 7.  

Prior to creating Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu, Bruce Belfield served as a Police Detective and SWAT Team Instructor in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Certified as a Police Defensive Tactics Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Chemical Weapons Instructor, and Field Training Officer, Bruce Belfield has taught numerous Police Officers, SWAT Personnel, Federal Law Enforcement, and Military Special Forces Personnel throughout the country.  


Chief Master Belfield teaches seminars in school safety and bullying, martial arts training, police defensive tactics, and business around the country.  

Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu is located at 701 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. You can contact us there at 954-802-9831. We serve the communities of Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Lauderdale By The Sea, Dania, Plantation, Davie, and Lauderhill Florida.  

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