As teens get into high school, they may be exposed to more sports and activities than they were in middle school. It’s important that teens remain active since a lack of exercise plays a big role in teen obesity. There are plenty of sports to choose from and types of sports like team-based and individual-based. Helping teens choose a sport can be a daunting task, but there are many benefits to staying active during adolescence and sports are a great way to accomplish that. First, we’ll address some of the common reasons teens avoid or quit sports. Then, we’ll review what kind of options there are to narrow down finding the best fit for your teen.

Why Teens Avoid or Quit Sports

Certain factors can deter teens and can even sway their feelings about sports they’ve previously enjoyed. Even though the sport can be a good fit, there could be other reasons teens no longer want to be part of it.

It’s too competitive

A highly competitive atmosphere can be very engaging for some teens while others find it intimidating and discouraging. For kids who have been enjoying a sport into their teen years, a competitive shift can change their whole experience for the worse.  

too physically demanding

Oftentimes with teens in sports, a component of training is added that usually wasn’t there before. Playing a sport may be fun but it could be the commitment to the additional physically demanding training exercises that is unappealing. 

Excessive Emotional Pressure

Teens may experience too much emotional pressure as it pertains to sports. This pressure can be seen in the form of aggressive coaches who don’t focus on the player’s well-being. Or parents who place too much value on winning and rewards rather than the accomplishments or good plays made regardless of winning or losing.

Narrowing Down the Options

With such a variety of sports available and widely practiced, there is something for everyone. What can aid parents in helping teens choose a sport is acknowledging their teen’s preferences. 

Find the right league

In addition to the types of sports available, there is also an option for the types of leagues available. A highly competitive league can have many of the deterrents listed above. However, recreational leagues that are less competitive and do not focus on training can be greatly enjoyable for teens who like playing the game.

Team or no team

Schools often place a focus on providing team sports. There are many benefits to team sports and they can easily accommodate a large number of students. Based on the social benefits that teens can gain from a team sport, it is recommended to try a team-based sport first. However, if your teen has tried it and it is not a good fit- it’s time to look into individual-based sports.

Team-based Sports

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Field hockey
  • Rowing
  • Volleyball
  • Ultimate frisbee
  • Softball
  • Ice hockey
  • Water polo
  • Lacrosse

Individual-based Sports

  • Track and field
  • Ice skating
  • Gymnastics
  • Tennis
  • Swimming and diving
  • Weight lifting
  • Frisbee golf
  • Horseback riding
  • Badminton
  • Golf
  • Bowling
  • Wrestling

Exercise-Oriented activities

Once tried, you may realize that a sport may not be a good fit for your teen, and that’s okay! The positive appeal of doing sports are the physical and social benefits. These benefits can also be gained by engaging in an exercise-based activity and connecting with others who enjoy it too. 

  • Rockclimbing
  • Skateboarding
  • Martial arts
  • Skiing
  • Surfing
  • Yoga
  • Paddleboarding
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Dancing

As we have seen, there are a large number of sports to choose from. But the most important element is simply making sure your teen is staying active and building healthy habits. There are many social benefits to team sports but if that’s not a good fit, it’s best to look elsewhere. Since obesity is a common condition that leads to many health problems, it’s best to get ahead at a young age. Because encouraging teens to be active and enjoy doing it will carry with them into adulthood and will help them lead healthy lives.

Sources: Nemours, Your Teen