Playing sport is part and parcel of the Aussie way of life. We are blessed with a country high in sunshine hours with a temperate climate and a variety of sporting options and facilities that are the envy of the world. It can often be difficult to choose where to start, especially if your child has several areas of interest or just needs a nudge in the right direction.

When choosing there are several factors you will want to consider:

  1. Cost – initial fees plus ongoing costs
  2. Proximity – location relative to where you are
  3. Safety – Is it safe for your child to play?
  4. Time and Commitment – as a parent do you need to be directly involved?

When it comes to cost, many team sports do offer an advantage over individual ones. Equipment can often be shared or borrowed as can the expense of travel and accessing playing facilities. Team sports also develop social skills in a different manner to individual sports, however individual sports can help children to discover themselves and their talents, developing a greater degree of self-reliance than they may otherwise achieve.

To help you determine the best choice we’ve outlined a few options that can help you reach your decision.

Soccer:

The most popular sport in Australia for young people, with almost 50% of 6-13-year old children involved, soccer scores well for its relatively low level of contact. Its success means there is a team in almost every public park and its simplicity and low cost has been the key to it becoming the world’s biggest game.

  • Cost: $150-$300 per annum
  • Season: Winter
  • Proximity: Strong
  • Safety: Good
  • Time and Commitment: Low

Cricket:

Cricket has a national identity in Australia, especially as we generally perform well on the world stage. Cost can vary depending on whether your youngster wants the latest in helmets, bats and pads or is happy with using the team gear. It can however be time consuming as a parent – even if you aren’t directly involved, watching your child play will take up most of a Saturday morning or afternoon – and maybe Sundays if they make rep level.

  • Cost: $100-$1000
  • Season: Summer
  • Proximity: Strong
  • Safety: Good
  • Time and Commitment: High

Basketball

Basketball is the second most played sport in Australia for kids aged 6-13 years with 30% of the population participating. It is often played year-round in schools giving kids a good introduction to the sport before making a commitment to join a club.

  • Cost: $150-$300
  • Season: Winter/Varies
  • Proximity: Average
  • Safety: Good
  • Time and Commitment: Low

AFL/Rugby/Rugby League

Much like soccer, these three winter codes cost very little to play with most money disappearing to insurances, officials and national bodies. Proximity is good provided you live in a state where the sport is popular and they don’t take up hours of your time. The downside is safety with all three being high impact physical sports. Children can usually be eased into this with a variety of non-contact versions giving them time to develop in a safe environment.

  • Cost: $150-$300
  • Season: Winter
  • Proximity: Strong
  • Safety: Low
  • Time and Commitment: Low

Netball

Netball ticks all the boxes as a great sport for your child to play, although rolled ankles and leg injuries can be an issue.

  • Cost: $150-$300
  • Season: Winter
  • Proximity: Strong
  • Safety: Good
  • Time and Commitment: Low

Golf

Golf is a great sport for children as it helps them develop a strong mindset and self-control. Sadly, the cost of equipment, green fees and coaching make this one of the more expensive options to consider.

  • Cost: $500-$1500
  • Season: all year round
  • Proximity: Good
  • Safety: Excellent
  • Time and Commitment: Low

Tennis

Participation numbers in tennis in Australia have dropped from 7% of the population in 2000 to only 4.5% now. The availability and affordability of courts is perhaps the biggest issue with many small towns lacking any facilities at all.

  • Cost: $500-$1000
  • Season: summer
  • Proximity: Average
  • Safety: Good
  • Time and Commitment: Low

There are considerably more options than just those listed above but they represent the most popular sports in Australia for young people. The best thing is to give your child exposure to as many as possible and see where their interest lies. Many sports run a Come and Try option for little to no cost which is a great place to begin.

If you’re trying to identify ways to balance expenditure with savings goals, you don’t need to do it alone. A financial adviser (or planner) spends their days identifying and presenting opportunities to their clients. Our simple, quick, free service will connect you to the best independent financial advisers, based on your needs. Click here to get started.

The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal situation or circumstances. You should consider whether the information contained in this article is suitable to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser or other finance professional.

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