So after months of asking and talking non-stop about basketball, you finally cave and get your child lessons and enroll them in a league.
At first, your kid is all about the sport. They're practicing all the time, and it seems like enrolling them was a great idea. Well that is until your child tells you they want to retire from the game because it stopped being fun.
Stopped being fun?
As adults it's hard for us to imagine how playing any sport could ever lose its fun factor, but for kids it happens all the time. Lack of fun causing the average youth athlete to "retire" by 11. Most of the time they just lose interest and report that the sport just stopped being fun. And these student athletes aren't retiring to play another sport - only about 15 percent do that. A majority simply stop playing all together.
Given how much we know about the importance of physical activity for children, the early "retirement" age of student athletes is something researchers have been looking into.
The Aspen Institute has found that kids will play a sport for fewer than three years before giving up. Their research has found that kids sometimes feel stress and pressure to perform.
Some ways parents and coaches can help kids in the game is by being encouraging. A simple "way to go," or "good wand say that's one of the reasons they're deciding to give up, work," can go a long way. Look for opportunities to point out the good in their performance. It's also important give them perspective, so missing a shot, or not having a good game, aren't seen as the end of the world, rather as an opportunity to grow.
Research also shows that making progress and getting positive feed back helps keep sports fun for kids, because it reinforces the hard work and effort they've put into their game.
And make sure to check in with your child often, and ask them if they're having fun.