Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Over 21 Million Students, Ages 6-17, Play Team Sports in America

ESPN online posted an article about competitive youth sports in America and some of the information and statistics caught me off guard.

The Sports and Fitness Industry Association compiled some data about U.S. youth sports and found that over 21 million students between the ages of 6 and 17 play team sports. Baseball and soccer are sports that the youngest players tend to navigate to, but by the time kids reach age 9, studies show that basketball becomes the most popular competitive sport. Meanwhile, two sports played largely by one gender -- football for boys and volleyball for girls -- grow fast from ages 11 through 14.

According to surveys, about 45 percent of students who started a sport end up quitting it. However, the reasons for quitting aren't that youth sports are necessarily bad. Most of their reasons relate more to temporary concerns, such as: the kids weren't having fun playing; were hurt; didn't get along with the team; or' wanted to focus on their studies. It's interesting to note that 33 percent of kids who quit a sport eventually are drawn back to it.

Unfortunately, millions of high school kids phase out of organized sports, with the biggest drop-off coming early -- during and after freshman year. High school sports can be competitive and involve roster cuts and commitments some teenagers can't make. Between ages 14 and 15 there's a 26 percent drop in the number of kids who play at least one sport even casually.

Today, the number of children (under age 18) in the United States is at an all-time high of 74.2 million. Of all the kids in America, very few have not played sports. Studies show that only 13 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls between 8 and 17 have never joined a team or club and experienced running onto the field or court to compete.

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.