Generations of families have passed down their knowledge and love of sports to their children for years. Many parents introduce their children to sports at an early age in hopes that they will reap the physical and mental benefits of playing team sports. Yet in recent years, there has a been a decline in the number of children who are staying involved in youth sports.
According to a poll conducted by the National Alliance for Youth Sports nearly 70 percent of kids in the US stop playing organized sports by the time they turn 13. While children are often given more school work at this age and begin finding new interests and hobbies, the main reason kids quit sports is that they aren’t having fun anymore.
Youth sports was once an activity almost every child participated in. It was a chance for kids to meet new friends, exercise and have fun. These days more and more kids are saying that youth sports aren’t enjoyable and they are starting to take their interests elsewhere. At i9 Sports® we make every effort to maintain an atmosphere that encourages teamwork and having a great time. Here’s a list of the top reasons why some kids aren’t having fun playing sports and what i9 Sports® does to avoid these situations:
What happened to the phrase, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game?” Youth sports used to be about teaching kids the importance of exercise, teamwork and following the rules. Many kids join leagues where coaches are only putting their best players on the field. When coaches base everything around winning and losing, it doesn’t teach kids that their individual effort matters. The importance of practice and development gets left behind when coaches only give attention to their strongest players, and many children could become great players if they were given the proper coaching. The coaches in i9 Sports® leagues focus on helping every player do their best. With coaches who place an emphasis on making every child feel like an important part of the team, i9 Sports® programs keep kids engaged and involved in sports.
Pushed to Specialize
In the past, kids would play multiple sports throughout the year. Kids looked forward to each new sports season bringing fresh opportunities to meet friends and develop a relationship with a new coach. Now children are being recommended at younger and younger ages to concentrate on only one sport. High schools used to praise their four-sport athletes, but these days it’s difficult to get kids to enroll in even two sports. Specializing in a sport, especially at a young age, can be very demanding. Specializing in one sport usually means that kids must join travel teams to be able to play year-round. Travel teams are a big expense for children and their families, and participating in a travel league can lead to an increased risk of injuries for the child and a feeling of being “burned out.” With our soccer, flag football, basketball, and baseball leagues, i9 Sports® offers kids the opportunity to try a variety sports where they can build lasting friendships and learn new skills.
Pressure from Parents
When surveyed, many children stated that sports weren’t fun anymore because of the pressure they felt from their parents. We have all seen parents scolding their children on the sidelines about their performance. This kind of behavior can lead children to feel that their parents are more into the sport than they are. When kids feel pressured to perform well they become afraid to take risks or make mistakes, which can stunt their development as a player. The supportive environment in i9 Sports® leagues is infectious and our teams’ parents always encourage and praise their children. When kids are reminded that they’re doing a good job, they’re more likely to keep working hard to develop their talents and stay involved in sports.
No matter the age, kids should always have a good time with the sports or activities that they chose to be involved in. Our i9 Sports® program directors work hard to create a fun environment for kids to participate in the sports they love to play while teaching the skills needed to be successful not just in the game but in life.