Why do children like to play sport?

by Aktive
Published on Wednesday 19 February, 2020
Aktive X Sport NZ Bank 484

Do you know why your child likes to play sport? Is it all about winning or do they simply want to hang out with their friends?

To ‘have fun’ is widely acknowledged as the main reason children play sport!

Amanda Visek from George Washington University talked to kids about what makes sport fun.  Her research reveals that both boys and girls are looking for similar things from their sport experience. The study surveyed 141 8 to 19-year-old football players who rated 11 fun factors from highest to lowest importance below:

  1. Trying Hard
  2. Positive Team Dynamics
  3. Positive Coaching
  4. Learning and Improving
  5. Games
  6. Practices
  7. Team Friendships
  8. Mental Bonuses
  9. Game Time Support
  10. Team Rituals
  11. Swag (gear, clothing, looking the part).

Each fun factor was made up of a number of fun variables. What was interesting was that girls and boys ranked the factors quite closely, with the only difference being learning and development which was ranked at 7 by girls and 4 by boys.

Of the 11 fun factors, boys and girls rated most of them the same, showing how similar boys and girls actually view fun in sport.

Since fun doesn’t differ drastically for boys and girls, this research can help us look at new ways of thinking and approaching sport for children.

“If we are to be successful in promoting the fun ethos for all young athletes regardless of the binary ways in which sport categorises its players by sex, age, and level of play, it will likely require de-essentialising (mis)perceived differences.” – Sean D. Cleary, George Washington University.

To read the full research, click here.