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Why Do Kids Drop Out Of Sports?

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Dan Gould, a PCA National Advisory Board Member and Director of Michigan State’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, is renowned for his work in sport psychology and mental training for athletic competition. He conducts research on the psychological foundations of coaching and has consulted for the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Tennis Association, and athletes of all ages and skill levels.

Here, Gould explains the psychological reasons for why kids drop out of sports. Years of research show that youth sports participation increases to the age of 12, and then decreases significantly after 13 by 70%. Sometimes the decrease in participation can be due to a change of interest, but the main concern is that kids are leaving sports because they are no longer fun, nor a source of confidence, self-esteem and feelings of worthiness.

However, if kids like their coach, improve their skills and form a solid group of friends, the participation rates remain high, as kids are having fun and feel more confident about themselves.