According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 percent of American kids quit organized sports by the age of 13 — a problem that seems to be only getting worse. Sports are “just not fun” for a lot of these kids anymore, and may feel as they get older that academics take precedence over sports. What can you do to help keep your kids interested in sports? 

Why Are Kids Quitting Sports?

You and your kids always had a lot of fun playing together on the home basketball court, so why are kids losing interest in sports? The biggest reason that kids are quitting sports is they simply are not having fun anymore. Another reason is that the price of playing sports has risen greatly over the years. Travel teams are expensive, and if the kids are not 100 percent committed to playing, parents do not want to pay for it.

Another issue is that many kids are being told to choose one sport — and only one sport — at a younger and younger age. No longer are kids playing a different sport during every season. Even if your kid is a baseball player, he can still have fun playing a pickup game of basketball with his friends on your home court. Playing more than one sport is something every kid should do. 

How to Fix the Problem

Unfortunately, there is no single way to fix this problem. Organized sports teams can still be expensive, so try taking the game home to your backyard instead. Don’t yell or get upset with kids about sports, and make sure kids are enjoying their time while playing sports. Nobody becomes a pro athlete in tee ball — but one bad experience can get a kid to stop playing sports for good. 

Kids just want to have fun playing sports. Talk to your kid’s coach about making gameplay more fun for everyone; if that doesn’t work, your child can still practice on the home basketball court — where having fun is more important than whether you win or lose.