Children are dropping out of sport at alarming rates in their teens. One factor is parents and some girls share their experiences
By
Ann Odong

Source:
Zela
26 Jun 2016 - 3:24 PM  UPDATED 26 Jun 2016 - 9:20 PM

"I don't like it when they try to push me even more. Even when I'm trying really, really hard."

The numbers are stark. 

According to the American Changing the Game Project, by the age of 13, 70% of children have dropped out of organised sport. 

This trend is mirrored in Australia. A March 2016 study in the BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation journal tracked the age profiles of participation in Victoria for seven sports; Australian Football, Basketball, Cricket, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball and Tennis.   

The study found that of the participants, 43.9% were aged 4 - 13 with the numbers dropping off steeply to 18% in the 14 - 18 age bracket. The numbers are even worse for girls.  

"The other people were like, "wow that Mum is really wanting her kid to win.""

Changing the Game Project reported the number one reason children stop playing sport is the lack of enjoyment. 

Deputy General Manger for Participation at the Australian Sports Commission, Paul Fairweather backed up this observation.

“To understand that [why kids quit], you have to go and ask the question ‘why do kids start playing in the first place?’,” he said.

“Basically when they start playing it's about fun, enjoyment and being with their mates. It’s pretty simple.”

"They don't need to be telling me what to do every minute of the game, they kind of just gotta let me play."

Unfortunately parents are a large part of that "loss of enjoyment" problem as articulated by the kids in the video below.  

The Australian Government is trying to combat the trend with the "Girls make your move" campaign but the video demonstrates that parents have a greater influence on whether their young girls will continue in sport.  

It's a great mirror for parents and a reminder that kids aren't playing for sheep stations so sport shouldn't be treated that way. 

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