Top 5 Barriers to Playing Sports

A recent study published in the US National Library of Medicine examines the barriers that kids have to participating in sports. Why are doctors studying this? Because it is nationally recognized that playing sports in childhood is a gateway to a healthy and productive lifestyle. Getting involved in sports early helps develop confidence, teamwork, time-management, physical fitness, and healthy eating habits. With all these benefits plus many more, it is important to find those barriers and eliminate them, opening up a healthy and active lifestyle to all children.

1. Scheduling

In today’s busy world with both the parents’ schedule as well as the child’s is a barrier to sports participation. First, many families are single parent households, where one parent works full-time and is also responsible for transporting their child to all activities. Secondly, even in two-parent households, if both parents are working full time and juggling busy schedules of their own, it is hard to find the time for youth sports. Finally, with greater emphasis placed on test scores, many kids find their free time  and school recess time is spent in test prep rather than on sports. Shifting the focus for families from “rush rush rush”, to “stop and think, prioritize, and enjoy life” is an important step in bringing the focus back to mental and physical well-being. We know from numerous studies that sports do just that – they promote mental and physical well-being in children.

2. Transportation

Again, with the busy schedules that parents are dealing with, getting their child to practice or to the game is difficult to impossible. Offering transportation to all team members is often expensive and logistically difficult for teams with limited financial resources. Teams that are lucky enough to have sponsorships are able to solve the transportation problem and get kids back on the playing field.

3. Lack of Money

Let’s face it, sports are expensive. Families who are struggling to put food on the table simply cannot allocate hundreds of dollars to youth sports. Equipment, travel, camps, and uniforms are all necessary for sports teams, but many kids miss out simply because their family cannot afford the cost. Furthermore, with school funding cuts, many schools cannot afford upkeep of the grounds or gymnasium, uniforms, or travel. In this case a sponsorship would knock this item off the list! Helping young athletes, and helping school sports programs is a great way to give back and a great way to change lives for the better.  

4. Lack of Access

Again, when schools are struggling to provide the most basic supplies – pencils, paper, folders, hand sanitizer, boxes of tissues – how are they supposed to supply adequate facilities for sports teams? The lack of access problem goes hand in hand with the “lack of money problem”. Here, if schools cannot offer sports, families must choose either club sports (and pay all fees, equipment, and travel) or simply not participate at all. Unfortunately, most kids do not participate at all. This issue could be easily solved with sponsorships from companies and individuals who value the benefits of youth sports.

5. Fear

It is just a fact that many kids are fearful of trying new things. As kids approach adolescence, they become hyper aware of any criticisms, real or imagined. For this reason, it is important to get kids involved in sports at an early age and to promote sports activities as part of a full and healthy life. Children will not all like the same sport. Some kids like team sports – softball, lacrosse, or football for example. Other kids prefer more singular sports like swimming, tennis, or gymnastics. Whichever type of sport a child chooses, it is important to encourage, mentor, and support that endeavor. This is a problem easily solved by sponsorship, coaching, and mentorship. All of which are available right here at Next Level Sports!

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