Are parents taking all the fun out of kids playing sports these days?
That’s exactly what some experts are saying, by taking the competitive edge to the extreme it could be having negative effects on your child’s desires to play.
A survey by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association has discovered that over a recent five-year span, the number of kids and teens playing team sports declined nearly 4 percent and that participation in all sports in general is down 10 percent. Some experts are placing the majority of the blame on pressure from parents.
“Parents are getting increasingly competitive about showing that their kids are number one in everything and sports is just another example,” Lindsay Powers, editorial director of Yahoo Parenting, told ABC News.
Amanda Joy Visek, an associate professor at George Washington University, surveyed nearly 150 children, asking what they found fun about sports. The results were that kids reacted positively to team dynamics, trying hard and learning. However, on a list of 81 factors contributing to their happiness, they put “winning” all the way down at number 48.
“When there’s such an overemphasis on winning, it really takes away the enjoyment and fun experience from the kids,” Visek, Ph.D., explained.
Mother of two, Lisa Harper, values hard work and discipline in sports.
“It translates into school, it translates into professions,” Harper, of Redwood City, California, said.
So how do we get kids back on the field enjoying athletics again? Experts say a shift in parents’ attitudes and expectations could do the trick.
“Parents should take a step back and really listen to what their kids want,” said Powers. “For overly competitive parents, it’s never too late to make a change.”