Youth sports, taken root in the 20th century, plays a vital role in the childhood development of young people. However, the participation numbers in America have been constantly dropping since the 2000s began. What is the reason behind this? Is this problem reversible?
Exploring Root of the Problem
The kids’ sports industry is worth nearly $17 billion and almost instantly you can get mistaken about its decline. It gets real and factual when you have a look at the participation rates in organized youth sports leagues.
Quantitative analysis straight from the Aspen Institute states that 41.5 percent of children from ages 6 to 12 played a team sport in 2011 and the numbers decreased to just 37 percent in 2017. The case is with almost every team sport, not just one. In baseball, the participation rate is down by roughly 20 percent!
The most problematic factor is that it does not get better with age, only worsen. For teenagers, in 2018, 56 percent of girls and 48 percent of boys did not play a sport. In relation, studies have noticed an interconnection with poor academic results. Children who do not participate in sports have a higher chance of not attending college and produce lower grades in school.
Upon studying the long-term graph, you will notice that this decline has been gradual over the course of many years. However, in recent years, the decline has sped up and if no action is taken youth sports in America could be in jeopardy in the upcoming years.
Possible Solution for a Frustrating Trend
It is essential for us to pay attention to finding quick and relatively easier solutions that will have a long-term impact. We cannot be too sure of the results in one try but here are a few important areas we need to study and cover.
Educate Parents and Children
It is true that children take on more from what their parents set as an example since a young age. If a parent is unaware that sports is important or didn’t grow up playing sports, there is a higher possibility their children will not too. Because of this, we must focus on educating parents and children regarding sports.
This can be done simply through placing brochures in paediatrician offices, or for a large-scale awareness program, national promotional campaigns can be held out.
Stop the Emphasis on Hyperspecialization
Parents are also fazed by the advantages of athletic scholarships, hence persuade their children to specialize in one certain sport only. This is not recommended because it causes exhaustion and eventual disinterest among children.
Children should be given the freedom and space to try out different sports options and discover what they like. Through this, they become willing and motivated athletes which encourages them to continue participation.
Lessen the Time Burden
Youth sports in modern times demand too much time investment. In comparison to earlier times when kids would have one or two practices per week, now they are already expected to invest hours each day. This factor demotivates children and teenagers to continue practising.
Restoring the Vibrancy of Youth Sports
While speaking to adults over the age of 30, you’ll discover that playing sports since a young age had a vital impact in shaping their lives and personality.
It is our responsibility towards the next generation to restore youth sports by trying all means to assist greater participation across the board. Are you willing to do what it takes?