The other day, just in town, I ran into an old colleague. He was shopping, together with his daughter. Although my old colleague had passed the retirement age by now, we recognized each other immediately.
“Ha Bert, long time no see! How are you doing? His daughter looked at him questioningly.
“You know everyone too,” she said.
“Her father laughed.
“But you know Bert too, take a good look, think very deeply!”
The penny fell.
“Oooh yes, volleyball, the trainer of the liter of ice for the winner of ‘the table of 10’ at the end of the season!”
“Gee, Debbie, you remember that!”
“Whahahaha, that you remember my name!”
“Yeah, what do you want, I haven’t come across a lot of nice trainers who were also very good at training.
Debbie was, 38 years ago, in the very first team I trained and also the first team with whom I won a championship and what a championship! At the end of the season we were 46 points apart from the number 2, not to mention the difference with the number last. Debbie couldn’t remember. Memory, a strange phenomenon after all. Our memory is selective and that’s a good thing. If we would remember everything, we would go crazy. For me, the championship was important. I still have a scrapbook somewhere with in it an article with the final score.
Why kids like sports
A team of researchers from Michigan State University (2012) asked boys and girls aged 10 to 12 years old why they play sports.
The 5 most important reasons why children play sports are:
- For fun
- To be able to do something they are good at
- To get better at what they like
- To stay fit and in shape
This research showed that especially fun is very important. My main goal at the time, winning the championship, does not appear in the top 5. Winning is not even in the top 10.
Why do children quit sports:
- There is also a row to make:
- Lack of fun
- The performance printing
- Too little time
Where fun is the main reason why children play sports, it turns out that the lack of fun is the most important reason to stop. It is also the main reason why children who try out a new sport do not continue. Too much emphasis on performance is the most important drop-out reason for young top athletes (Research Jacques van Rossum). It also turned out that athletes who practice an individual sport and quit their sport sometimes practice another sport. Athletes who practice a team sport often stop playing sports.
Do not underestimate the role of the parents. Besides the pressure from the trainers, it appears that parents are also quite busy performing. It turns out that especially fathers don’t realize their own behavior when exerting performance pressure.
Another reason to quit sports is the skill, the feeling of not being good enough. Here there is a role for the club. I wrote about this in an earlier story: The team you deserve. Parents, however, also have an important role. Research into the perseverance of girls in the sport, showed that where girls were involved and lovingly supported by parents, they reached a higher level. A final reason why athletes quit sports is simply lack of time. Everybody knows it, players who cancel because they are in the middle of a test week or the exam. In the story with the title Homework, I already wrote that as a trainer you would do well to start a conversation about this. Although missing training sessions is at odds with performance, it’s a good idea not to be too rigid about this either. Try to deliver customization.