Possible Reasons Why Young People Quit Sports

Playing sports has many benefits for young people. Nevertheless, many teenagers end up quitting their sport. In this article, we'll discuss some of the most common reasons why young people quit sports.
Possible Reasons Why Young People Quit Sports

Last update: 10 November, 2019

Sports play a central role in the development of children and adolescents. However, it’s not uncommon for teenagers to quit sports for one reason or another. There can be a diverse set of reasons for this withdrawal. They may hinge not only on the personal characteristics of the young athlete but also on the sociocultural context they find themselves in.

There’s no doubt that controlled and organized physical activity produces many benefits for a person’s health. Nevertheless, we often see teenagers quitting their sport of choice.

When considering why young people quit sports, you need to consider the whole context that surrounds them. This means you have to take their interests and their search for identity into account. A teen’s goals in pursuing sport are also important. For some, it’s socializing. Others just want to find out how far their potential will stretch.

At the same time, you have to realize that teenagers don’t always quit sports by their own choice. There are situations where circumstances outside of the person’s control remove them from the game. This could be the athlete’s trainer, a lack of the necessary economic resources to continue, competition from others, or even injuries that prevent participation.

A coach training children on a football team.

There are many consequences when children or teens quit playing their sport. Not only do they stop getting the benefits of practicing sports in childhood, but they have an increased chance of leading a sedentary lifestyle throughout adulthood. One study estimates that boys most commonly abandon sports at the age of 11. Girls are more likely to abandon their athletic pursuits at around the age of 12.

What are the reasons that young people quit sports?

Below, we’re going to list the main reasons why young people withdraw from sports:

1- A lack of motivation

The first reason young people quit sports is because of a lack of motivation and commitment. In other words, there comes a time when they don’t enjoy what they’re doing. This comes to show in their lack of enthusiasm for their sports activities. Eventually, they may drop the sport altogether in order to devote their time to other things.

A girl who looks bored.
You lose motivation when you’re bored or if your routine becomes too familiar.

That being said, the reduction in motivation can come when the young athlete is put into a secondary role on a team. When they don’t feel important, they can lose passion for the game and the desire to compete.

2- Burnout

Burnout occupies the second place on our list of reasons why adolescents and children quit sports. Burnout happens when someone becomes emotionally or physically exhausted due to the high demands of the sport. However, you might also see it in such settings where no importance is placed on the results.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

-Lance Armstrong-

3- A lack of time

In many cases, a lack of time forces young athletes to quit their sport of choice. Specifically, in most cases, a lack of time for studying causes them to reduce the time they practice the sport or even stop altogether. In some cases though, it’s just to have more recreational time. That’s when the time they used to use for sports becomes time they spend on other types of activities.

4- Injuries

Finally, injuries cause many teens to put sports aside. Even though quitting due to injury is the least common reason to give up a sport, it’s a reality. It is true that, due to their age, most of the teenagers who become injured in sports can recover and eventually start playing the sport again at the same level. Nevertheless, often times the fear of falling into the same situation can cause them to leave sports indefinitely.

A man whose knee is injured from a track and field sport.
Training the mind is as important as training the body.

Finally, keep in mind that you have to understand each case individually if you really want to understand the causes of why people quit sports. However, in some cases, the reasons why young people abandon athletic activities can be a combination of different things. That’s why it’s important to recognize when something is happening that can affect their desire to continue playing sports.

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