Statistical Proof That Your Kid Is Probably Not Going Pro

Plus, a medical explanation for parents who don't handle this information well.

by Amanda Caswell
Originally Published: 

If you’re one of those parents who hopes your kid has what it takes to become a professional athlete, the good news is that you’re not alone. A recent poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health found that 26 percent of U.S. parents with kids playing high school sports hope their kid goes pro. Perhaps not surprisingly, in families with an annual household income of less than $50,000, the number jumps up to 39 percent. That’s a lot of like-minded parents, who should probably start car-pooling and sharing orange slicing duties.

Now, the bad news: According to the NCAA, your kid has a statistically tiny chance of actually going pro. That organization reports that only one in 168 high school baseball players will get drafted by a Major League Baseball team and just one in 2,451 men’s high school basketball players get drafted into the NBA. In fact, the NCAA is so skeptical about your kid’s chances of playing pro, they created a handy graphic that breaks down their chances by sport. Thanks for playing, women’s basketball!

That gap between parents’ hopes and kids’ realities can create some legitimate issues, as anyone who’s suffered through a game while an over-excited parent berates coaches, kids, and refs from the stands can attest. In fact, the shrinks even have a name for it: Achievement By Proxy Distortion, which is a fancy way of saying “You only feel successful if your kid is successful.” Needless to say, parents suffering from ABPD have a tendency to make their kids’ lives miserable, and everyone knows miserable kids are the least likely succeed at sports. Unless their name is Andre Agassi.

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