Kids Crave More Fun In Youth Sports
New survey reveals 84 percent of children say they quit or wanted to quit
Local youth sports leagues, coaches and parents need to have a serious time out to think about how they can bring fun back to youth athletic programs.
In a new national survey of children, ages 8-14, who play team sports:
•84 percent say they sometimes wish they had more fun when playing youth sports
•84 percent say at one time they quit a team or wanted to quit. Why? 47 percent say because “it wasn’t any fun.” 29 percent say some teammates were mean. 23 percent say there were too many practices that interfered with other activities.
•31 percent wished adults weren’t watching their games — mostly, they say, because adults yell too much, are too distracting, make players nervous and put pressure on them to play better and win.
The survey of 300 children was commissioned by the nonprofit arm of i9 Sports, the nation’s first and fastest- growing youth sports franchise.
The survey also reveals:
•When asked their No. 1 reason for playing sports, 56 percent say to have fun.
•When asked how they feel if their team loses, 63 percent say they still have fun.
•42 percent of children surveyed would rather play video games than play sports. Why? 74 percent of those who chose video games said gaming is more fun than playing sports. 28 percent said sports can be too competitive. 20 percent said their coach doesn’t let them play as much as they want to so they’d rather play a video game. 17 percent said they feel too much pressure to win.
•1 in 5 children have witnessed a physical fight between players. 59 percent have seen a verbal fight between players and 36 percent have seen a verbal fight between parents.
•61 percent say they or their teammates have been called a “not so nice” name while playing sports. Those comments include: “loser,” “midget,” “four eyes,” “you suck buffalo butt and throw like a girl,” “lazy and fat,” “you suck and shouldn’t be on the team,” and one child writes “one time I was called a slow poke and made fun of for running slow and a girl came up behind me while I was at the water fountain and pushed my head and I hit my head on the fountain.”
•When asked who called them names, 69 percent say it was someone on the other team. 35 percent say it was a teammate. 12 percent say it was someone else’s parent. One child wrote, “a teacher.” Another child wrote , “the team mom.”
“This survey clearly shows that America needs to reevaluate youth sports which have become too cut throat and competitive and not much fun,” says Brian Sanders, COO and President of i9 Sports, which has 500,000 members at 275 locations in 26 states. “We forget sports are teaching tools for life. Kids are learning behaviors picked up by teammates, coaches and parents. We need to be better teachers. We need to let kids have fun.”