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Tips to Help Ease the Rising Cost of Youth Sports

From travel to training, youth sports can get pricey and can cost thousands, especially for swing sports, such as baseball and fastpitch. Research has shown that youth sports can take up as much as 10.5 percent of a family's gross income. A weekend at a baseball tournament can cost between $500 to $700 on average.

Particularly in Tampa Bay, the rising costs of swing sports are making it more challenging to participate, much less provide the requisite training and coaching outside of practices. Parents have even paid $1,100 or more per season for their children to play on an off-season Tampa Bay area youth baseball team. With these youth sports-associated expenses, it's important to have alternative ways to keep costs affordable.

Here are a few tips to make the cost of youth sports easier on you:

1. Buy Used Bats

Equipment fees can be one of the highest expenses for youth sports. But you can keep this cost manageable for purchasing used bats. Look for high-quality bats on websites, such as eBay, Craigslist or Amazon. Another source you can use to look for used baseball bats includes Swing4All. Swing4All helps Tampa Bay area families ease the increasing financial strain of playing fastpitch softball, baseball and other swing sports with clothing and equipment drives and scholarship opportunities.

Be careful when buying used bats - make sure the bat you're purchasing is legal for use in the league or tournaments in which your athlete plays. Rules change quite often, so just be sure the bat you purchase is legal for play.

2. Purchase the Next Size Up for Cleats

Cleats can be pricey to keep up with, especially since your child's feet can quickly outgrow them the younger they are. But you can mitigate the costs of cleats by buying the next size up for cleats. You want to do this the season before your child needs them so they can get the most wear. Also, consider looking for a sale to get some of the best prices.

3. Check With Team Parents and Consider Sponsors

As children get older and grow, they will need new uniforms. That means parents will need to get rid of their children's outgrown uniforms, shoes or equipment they no longer use. Ask parents on the team or former team parents if they are willing to sell these old uniforms or equipment for a reduced price. Some may even provide it for free if they really need to clear out their closets.

You can also inquire about local sponsorship to cover fitness training for baseball, travel and coaching fitness for softball costs. Consider local businesses, religious organizations, non-profit organizations, friends or extended family. You can even consider organizing a fundraiser.

Final Thoughts

Even with rising Tampa baseball fitness and youth sports costs, you don't have to break the bank. Take these tips into account, and you can make baseball and fastpitch more about the game and less about the costs.

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