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  • Voyager Hockey

Don't Retire Kid: A New Movement in Youth Sports

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

​There has been a recent study that has found the average child quits sports at age 11.  The study completed by the Aspen Institute through Utah State University looked into the youth sports sector and the influences and pressures for young kids.  The study’s findings have prompted a campaign called “Don’t Retire Kid” that launched in August.

The study found that a kid’s interest in sports begins to wane as they approach adolescent age. 

The study found that a kid’s interest in sports begins to wane as they approach adolescent age. There has long been stereotypes that associate with youth sports as a way to develop skills to earn scholarships, but the study showed that both kids and parents alike want the experiencing of athletics to be fun.   Since 2008 the percentage of children participating in team sports dropped 7% from 45% to 38%.

The study cited two reasons, in addition to lack of fun, that has caused young athletes to quit: coaches and cost.  The limited training coaches receive impact a player’s ability to develop properly. Conversely, athletes that had trained coaches dropped out less.  The second impact was cost.  Cost has increased drastically in the past two decades, and community programs that once had a foot-hold on development have now been taken over by travel clubs. 

Ice Hockey was cited as the costliest sport per year with an average cost of $2,583 dollars per player. These costs include registrations, travel, equipment, and lessons.  This can easily be attribute to the average quitting age of 11 for hockey players, after 3-4 years of participation.

There is no question that youth sports have the ability to teach valuable life lessons to its participants including teamwork, goal-setting, resiliency, and hard work. In addition, the mental and emotional benefits that a participant can receive through the social network can be immeasurable.  The study will be looking into strategies to keep kids in sports, play more sports, and keep the enjoyment of sports and activity for a lifetime.

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