The benefits of youth sports are many, from helping children learn about teamwork to keeping them active. A child’s desire to participate, however, can be impacted by the pressure involved with being on a team.
The Yellowbrick Treatment Program of Evanston, Ill., recently surveyed 1,000 Americans from across the country to get a sense of how rampant the pressure to succeed in youth sports truly is. The purpose of the survey was to see if pressure, both from parents and peers, has an impact on participation in youth sports as well as the lasting impact on people throughout their lives.
Among the most alarming findings is that the number of children participating in youth sports has declined 6% over the last five years, while participation in all sports is down 10%.
Additionally, according to those surveyed, 38% of children are between ages 7 and 9 when they begin in youth sports, with 29% having started earlier. Organized sports only remained in the lives of the minority of those who answered, with 70% of children leaving organized sports by the time they are 13 years old.
The factors for this are, of course, myriad.
Only 24% of respondents said they were never disciplined for poor performance. When asked who pressured them the most, 42% of those surveyed said it was coaches while 27% said friends and another 27% said parents (21% said Dad, 6% said Mom).
Also of note, per the study, is that millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) are 10 times more likely than baby boomers (born roughly between 1946 and 1964) to feel or have felt pressured by their mothers in youth sports.
Yellowbrick used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform for the survey, which had consisted of least one surveyor from every state. Of those surveyed, 173 were aged 18-25, 304 between 26 and 33, 145 between 34 and 41, 72 between 42 and 49 and 62 are 50 or older.
You can read more of the fascinating study here.