With around 70% of children quitting all forms of organised sports by their 13th birthday, taking a close look into why this is happening is important to ensure kids are engaged and motivated in positive ways and continue to find sports fulfilling throughout their teens and into adulthood.
It is important to note that this isn’t simply a case of losing the children who do not have an early natural aptitude for sports, as many teams and groups are consistently communicating the loss of talented children for a variety of different reasons.
Sports Stop Being Fun
Research conducted by The Aspen Institute has found that 90% of children play sports because it’s fun. A loss of the fun factor will therefore naturally mean that children will move on to something else, and so it is essential to clearly understand the aspects of sports that kids find fun to ensure consistent engagement.
Children participating in the aforementioned study identified trying their best, playing together as a team – which team kits such as the ones that can be seen here https://www.kitking.co.uk/ can help with – and being treated respectfully by coaches as fun, whereas an emphasis on winning and performing in tournaments are less fun. Ensure you are engaging with kids and talking about solutions that will make their sports experience more positive.
Lack of Meaningful Playing Time
Putting on football team kits and stepping out on to the pitch is a rewarding experience, but if children aren’t being given the opportunity or are continually substituted for making small errors, they are going to lose interest and distance themselves from sports. If children are not being appreciated within their team, it is important to find somewhere where their skills will be nurtured and provided with the opportunity to try their best, try new things, and make mistakes in the process.
Limited Ownership Over Their Sporting Experience
The space and opportunity to make decisions, make mistakes and learn from those experiences is how we all improve, and having your every move scrutinised, whether by coaching staff or parents, can be hugely off-putting. Each child will have different motivations for participating in sports and allowing them to work towards those goals in their own ways is vital for ensuring they are consistently engaged, and aren’t wholly distracted by the motivations of those around them.