Parents are being told to delay the age of which their kids start playing competitive sport.

New research has found that 60% of children who start playing organised sport before the age of 6 are likely to drop out of sport altogether by the age of 10.

14,000 Victorian girls took part in the study, with experts concluding that kids should start playing sport from 7-9 years of age, and should participate in non-competitive active activities until then.

They found kids who started between the ages of 7 – 9 only 30% drop out of playing sport.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t! With the growing rates of obesity, what are we meant to do?

I wonder if they would find a difference if they did the study on just boys? I think they need to dig a bit deeper really.

Share your comments below

  • How about having competitive sport without the aggression? Used to work in my day.


  • Next week another survey will say they have to be competitive from birth. Do what you think the child would like. If they love playing outside and want to join a sport, let them. It depends on the child and surprisingly to survey holders, children are all different.


  • Kids can play and get outdoors earlier than 6, but seriously I am seeing the burnout of kids leaving sport in droves. AusKick is non-competitive, however instead of this being activity for kids from Prep to Grade 6, they’re leaving in droves to participate in Under 9s footy. Kids don’t have to wait for anything anymore so there’s nothing to aspire to. So yep, by the time they’re 14, they’re done. And you should see the parents…!! You can tell your child no to competitive sport and look at play options until they’re old enough.


  • I think starting early is a better idea, honestly. Gives them more confidence when they start early rather than later.


  • My daughter wanted to start playing netball at age 9 so we enrolled her and she enjoyed it that year (scores were not recorded). The following year it became competitive and when she was 11 she wanted out because it was too competitive. As a parent on the side lines I agreed with her that it was not a good atmosphere to be in. Parents yelling at children is not a good look. I realise competition has it’s benefits, but when it comes to children’s sports it can be taken too far at the expense of enjoyment.


  • Having re-read thus article got me thinking. Maybe it’s having pushy parents that make children want to quit sport. Some parents really are shockers when it comes to their kids playing sport


  • I would still like my little one to run around, learn some new skills and make friends. Not going to wait until they are that old. He will miss out on learning tricks and skills.


  • Sport is not for every kid and even then many go through several different ones before they find “the one”. As long as it is a positive and enjoyable experience for the child, they will likely continue.


  • I think it is not properly researched as the kids who are put/pushed into sport by their parents at an early age and not interested themselves and it is the parents choice of which sport – are the ones that drop out where as all the kids I know who have always loved sport and have chosen to play still play some 20 years later. You have to Remember sport is not for everyone and despite its many benefits some people just don’t enjoy it.


  • Other studies show boys are unlikely to drop out because they don’t care if they’re average at sport. This study found that girls drop out because they either think they’re not good enough or too good. I was “pushed” into doing tennis at a very young age and hated and quit very quickly. Then I begged to do netball a few years later and quit after 3 years because I hated our coach. They always stuck me in WD. 3 years of WD. We were kids. Stop playing favourites and shuffle us around a bit!


  • Exercise doesn’t have to be competitive sport, but if a child shows an interest in it then it would be nice for them if they were allowed to explore the option! But it should always be the child’s choice as to whether or not they continue, too many parents push their children into the things they want them to do and don’t take what the child wants into consideration…..


  • I think it’s a matter of knowing your child and your family and doing what works best for you. I’m not a massive fan of really early organized sport and would rather ride bikes and play in parks with the little ones.


  • We get told to do something one day then down the track it’s the reverse.
    Yep Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!


  • This finding seems to echo my personal experience. Not just with sport either.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that kids commit if they are the ones initiating involvement in any activity.
    This maturity seems to kick in around 8-10 yrs


  • An interesting study but I bet there are statistics that say that kids should play competitive sport from a young age too.


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