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The Top 3 Reasons That Kids Have Fun In Sports

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This PCA 1-on-1 interview features Amanda Visek (@ajvisek). Amanda Visek is a trained sport scientist-practitioner with active status on the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology and Mental Training Registry. As a sport scientist and Associate Professor at George Washington University, her research focus and applied practice has been making scientific advancements in our understanding of determinants of and barriers to children’s positive, fun sport experiences - the FUN MAPS. The FUN MAPS are scientific blueprints for promoting a culture of fun for children participating in organized athletics.

In this interview, Visek explains to Former PCA President Tina Syer (@tinasyer4) how coaches can prioritize fun, the reason kids drop out of sports, misconceptions about fun in sports, and how fun is defined in her research.

Highlights of the podcast include:

  • The #1 determinant for kids dropping out of sports is not having fun.
  • Fun is not only an important factor in youth sports, but it also continues to be in high school.
  • Fun not only keeps kids in sports, but enhances athletic performance and personal development.
  • Visek's definition of fun is identified by parents, coaches, and kids in the community. (There are over 80 fun "determinants", such as winning, trying hard, certain positive coaching techniques). These determinants make up the FUN MAPS.
  • Those FUN MAPS show 11 most common factors of fun: Games & Practices, Learning & Improving, Trying Hard, Positive Team Dynamics, Team Friendship, Team Ritual, Gametime support, Positive Coaching, and "swag"
  • The three items that make the biggest difference in fun according to kids were Trying Hard, Positive Team Dynamics, and Positive Coaching.
  • How youth coaches can ensure a fun experience.

If you're interested in viewing Visek's full research on fun, click here.

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