The average child today spends less than three years playing a sport and quits by age 11, according to a new survey of sports parents conducted by the Aspen Institute and Utah State University.
Only 28% of kids aged 6 to 12 played team sports on a regular basis in 2018, down from 45% in 2008, per the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. For parents who see the benefits of their kids playing sports and for a nation in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic, keeping kids active is extremely important..
According to the survey, three of the main reasons kids quit sports are (1) a lack of fun, (2) bad coaches and (3) financial pressure.
The youth sports economy has always been big business, but as competitive travel teams have crept into increasingly younger age groups over the past decade, the industry has doubled in size to more than $15 billion.
The result is a world of private coaching, interstate travel and mega-complexes full of families willing to spend as much as $20k per year on their kid’s sports.
Low-income families are being priced out, resulting in their children losing not only an opportunity to excel at a sport but also the chance to exercise and make friends.
Youth sports in America is becoming a story of the haves and the have-nots.