Survey reveals kids crave more fun in youth sports
Contributed by i9 Sports
TAMPA BAY, Fla. -- Our local youth sports leagues, coaches, and parents need to have a serious timeout 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.
So why is this the case? The children were asked.
•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 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 that 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. Still, 42 percent of children surveyed would rather play video games than play sports.
Why video games instead of sports? According to the survey, 74 percent of those who chose video games say gaming is more fun than playing sports, 28 percent say sports can be too competitive, 20 percent say their coach doesn’t let them play as much as they want to so they’d rather play a video game, and 17 percent say they feel too much pressure to win. One in five children has 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.
The survey discovered that 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,” and “you suck and shouldn’t be on the team.” One child wrote, “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, and 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 re-evaluate youth sports which have become too cut throat and competitive and not much fun,” said Brian Sanders, COO and president of i9 Sports, with 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.”
This online survey was done by a third party and commissioned by the non-profit arm of i9 Sports. Survey participants had no affiliation with i9 Sports. The survey included 300 respondents, 160 male and 140 female (ages 8-14).