Fun Is Still Number One Reason Kids Play Sports
Despite emphasis on winning, most kids just wanna have fun
By Brooke de Lench
Basics Fun Fun & Skill Development v. Winning Improve skills Successful Parenting
Young soccer player having funYouth sports may have become more and more about competition and winning, but kids are, in a word, still kids: the number one reason kids play sports is still to have fun, and, even at the high school level, most would still rather get playing time on a losing team than sit on the bench of a winner.
In an oft-cited 1989 study, the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University asked 28,000 junior high and high school students to list their top eleven reasons for participating in sports.
At the top of the list for both boys and girls was “to have fun,” followed by “do something I’m good at” and “to improve my skills.”
Girls ranked winning as the least important reason; boys rated winning eighth.
Fun, fun, fun
Twenty-plus years later, has the hyper-competitive nature of youth sports changed the attitudes of kids? Do they play sports more to win now than ever (as a lot of adults might think) or is fun still number one?