Few parents want their kids to up and quit an activity they’re good at or used to enjoy. It’s hard watching your player lose their love of youth sports and decide it just isn’t for them anymore. As parents we can’t influence our kids to play youth sports, but we can do our best to understand why sports just don’t have the appeal that they used to. Here are the top five reasons most kids quit playing youth sports:
1. They lost interest.
Sometimes it seems kids have the attention span of birds. One minute they dream of being the next Tom Brady and their room is full of football memorabilia, the next they want to be an astronaut and the football is replaced with a telescope.
2. It was no longer fun.
It’s hard for a kid to commit to any activity they don’t enjoy doing. In fact, most youth athletes would probably tell you the main reason they decided to join a youth sports team in the first place was because they wanted to have fun and hang out with their friends! Once sports stop being fun and becomes something like they feel they are forced to do, most kids aren’t interested.
3. It was too big of a time commitment.
At some level of play, being on a youth sports team means giving up on other activities. It’s hard to be on a travel hockey team that goes to overnight tournaments every weekend and have time for much else. When your youth athlete reaches that point in their sports career, they may decide sports just aren’t for them. If they still love to play, just not at the fast-paced level of a high-powered travel team, they can also play intramural sports or just pickup games with their friends.
4. The coach played favorites.
It’s really hard for youth athletes when they feel like they can’t earn their spot, no matter what they do. Coaches, at the end of the day, are people too and sometimes people play favorites. If your youth athlete spent more time sitting on the bench than on the field (through no fault of their own) and they suspect it’s because the coach only wanted to play his star players, it’s no surprise they no longer love the game.
5. They had bad coaches.
One bad coach can sour a kid’s opinion of youth sports for the rest of their life. If it wasn’t fun, they didn’t feel like they learned anything or their coach kept them on the bench, most kids aren’t willing to risk a second year of the same. A coach really can make or break the season for a youth athlete.
There is nothing wrong with your child wanting to quit playing youth sports if it no longer interests them, but you should probably have them finish the season. Explain they made a commitment to their team and they can’t walk away until it’s done. One of the great life lessons youth sports teaches kids is that they have to stick to their commitments.