The Youth Sports Institute at Michigan State, in a survey of 10,000 kids nationwide, listed the top ten reasons why kids quit organized youth sports:
1. They lost interest
2. They were not having fun
3. It required too much time
4. The coach played favorites
5. The coach was a poor teacher
6. They got tired of playing
7. Too much emphasis on winning
8. They wanted to participate in other non-sport activities
9. They needed more time to study
10. There was too much pressure
Here are 5 tips for helping keep your kids active in sports:
Cheer for the athletes, not the team. It is okay to appreciate talent from the other team. When a coach told his athletes’ parents to root for the other team at a football game in Texas a few years ago, it literally changed the lives of the players on that team. Here is a link to that story.
Treat them as a student, then an athlete. An athlete is a child first, then a student, then an athlete. The smarter your child is, the more options they have when they get older. Keep in mind their 6th-grade club soccer participation trophy won’t land them a job after college.
Encourage them to try another sport: Athletes who play other sports have the advantage over single-sport players through the overall development of their body. Skills from one sport will enhance play in another sport. A soccer player brings great footwork to the basketball court; the tennis player brings great hand-eye coordination to the batter’s box, and wrestling teaches a football player balance.
Beware of signs of burnout. Does your child even want to play that sport anymore? Who is more excited about the weekend tournament? If it’s you, save yourself thousands of dollars and countless travel miles and instead take your kid for some ice cream.
Let them play. I say this all the time, let your kid organize a game and stay out of it. This helps them build social skills and learn lessons they will use all their life. The kids don’t need us; we need them. Without them, we are just old people with a bag of cones and a whistle.