Kien Shapiro Darin Shapiro

Why do kids quit sports? Some parental suggestions from World Champion Wakeboarder Darin Shapiro

Kien Shapiro having fun wake boarding with Darin Shapiro

Kien Shapiro having fun with Dad Darin Shapiro

Why do kids quit wake boarding and other sports?
About 70 percent of kids who enroll in sports quit by the time they are 13 years old. Most of these kids will never play sports again.
Chances are they will grab a few doughnuts and grab their iPads to spend the afternoon on the couch. Unfortunately, this could end up being the pattern they follow for the rest of their life.
While you are watching your child participate in their sport whether it be wake boarding or soccer, do you think your little ripper will be among the top 30 percent who stick to it?
Chances are, if you are a yeller, probably not. There is nothing children hate more than parents behaving aggressively at their own kids sporting events.
The hardest part for some parents to deal with is ego, not the kids ego but their own. They go around telling their child point by point about how much they do for them. How much they buy them for their sport, how they drive them everywhere, the money that’s spent. What’s the reason for this? Ego.
Looking into what parent’s motives are, it’s quite simple. We want our children to be active and happy sports participants. The next thing they know it morphs into something else.
Before you know it, you’ve got parents standing around talking about their kids sport comparing notes about what runs their children are doing. The parents get so into it that they end up with an ego fueled, emotionally vested interest, instead of their child’s pure enjoyment in an event.
Many kids grow up with their sport virtually unwatched. They get dropped off of at the skate park or the ball field or lake. Kids love having the freedom and independence to play with friends and enjoy their sport.That’s the point, kids need their sport to be their own.
Playing and having fun need to be at the center of their sport. Research shows that all athletes, even professional athletes, need to have fun even during their training sessions.
There is a very narrow road between shooting for high performance training and fun recreational participation. Both levels of athletes want to look good and both were disappointed when they didn’t regardless of experience.
A few reasons kids can’t or don’t continue in sports can be several different ones-not enough time, too much pressure, did’t like the coach.
Now, for possibly the biggest reason kids quit their sport: The car ride home.
Going over the mistakes that were made and the “you should have or could have” moments to the non-stop rehashing of the performance are enough to ruin sports for anyone. Yep, the car ride home is the last thing your kid will remember about that day. They already know how they performed good or bad. You don’t need to tell them, they are picking up every nuance of your emotions, they are amplified and your child is more sensitive to it at this point than any other.
What might be a good thing to say after the event? How about, “I sure did love watching you play out there today.”

4 thoughts on “Why do kids quit sports? Some parental suggestions from World Champion Wakeboarder Darin Shapiro

  1. Some great comments here….especially the one about the car ride home…so true. Its truly tough trying to balance fun….and competition. Great words from someone who’s been there…and is there on the parent level now!

  2. From one dad to another. I have some great little athletes on my hands, but even though I am ashamed to say it – I am way to guilty of this. Thanks for the tip. I am looking to make some changes.

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