Why Young Athletes Quit Sports

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During my playing career I have witnessed many players quit--from little league all the way through college. Over the years I heard many different reasons for why the athletes were hanging up their uniforms. I believe it is important for parents and coaches to know why their athletes are quitting in order to better communicate and form resolutions. Some quit simply because it is not the talent God gave them and they realize they will not be able to play any further. Others will quit even though they have the talent to keep playing and the following are a few reasons I have seen frequently.

1) It Isn’t Fun Anymore

The higher level of play you reach, the more work you are required to put in. This doesn’t mean sports shouldn’t be fun, but it means that players have decided at some point how hard they are willing to work and where they draw their line between work and play. And if an athlete isn't willing to put in the necessary effort required then it's definitely time to have a talk about their future in sports.

2) Not Friends With Teammates

In my opinion, being part of a team is one of the greatest things about playing sports. However, playing with people that don’t like you, people you don’t like, or people you don’t really know can be tough. Learning how to work with people you have differences with is a part of life, but for many athletes it can become too much. It is important for coaches to encourage relationships and to build team camaraderie.

3) Low Level Competition

Athletes have a desire to compete. When the level of competition they are facing isn’t up to par, players may become bored or disinterested. As a parent it’s a good idea to periodically evaluate where your athlete is developmentally. If it is feasible, you might consider switching programs to a more competitive one.

4) High Level Competition

The very opposite can be said about high level competition. Although it’s true that athletes want to compete, if it’s too high of a level for their current abilities, the player will feel discouraged and lose interest.

5) Bad Coaching

A player can have great teammates, a passion for the sport, and be highly competitive, but if they have a terrible coach it can ruin the game for them. Coaches--put things in to perspective. The way you treat your players can cause a chain of events that shape who your athletes become. Be the coach you would want your children to have. Teach mutual respect, honor and integrity. We are all human and will make mistakes, but your athletes should know that you have to take responsibility and correct your actions, learning for the future.

Think of playing sports as a job; if you were at a job that you didn’t enjoy, where you had to work with people you didn’t like, you thought you were over qualified for the position, were give more responsibility than you could handle, or you worked for a horrible boss, chances are you wouldn’t be eager to stay at that job. Playing sports can be a tough but rewarding at the same time. Life is the same way, and we should be teaching our athletes that quitting isn't necessarily the solution. There are definitely instances where quitting is the right choice for the athlete, but it needs to be for the right reasons. Don't let bad coaching or bad teammates deter your athlete from playing the game they love. If you read this list and find yourself thinking of your athlete, communicate with them to see what changes can be made and what lessons can be learned.

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