Around 60 million children participate in youth athletics across the nation (Brenner & Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, 2016). Various studies show participation in athletics results in invaluable benefits for the physical and mental health of children-aiding development of both motor and social skills (Liu, et al., 2015). Participating in sports also increases the likelihood that children will grow to be active adults. This is crucial, since only half of American adults get the recommended amount of exercise. According to the CDC, the recommended amount of exercise could prevent 1 in 10 premature deaths and save $117 billion in annual healthcare costs (CDC, 2020). Yet, 70% of children stop participating in organized sports by the time they turn thirteen (Brenner & Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, 2016). Most quit because they are not having fun (Witt, 2018). According to the Skyline Soccer Association, the likelihood that children re-enter a sport after quitting is only 33% (Nagel, 2019). Psychological research has shown that children who feel more athletically competent, show more motivation and self-determination (DeMeester et al., 2016). This indicates that the higher the athletic competence, the more likely a child will remain active in youth athletics. Therefore, it is essential to understand how youth athletics impacts self-perceived athletic competence. This understanding can be used to implement any necessary changes in athletic organizations to increase the likelihood that more children will gain the numerous benefits.
- Emily Beam, Advisor: Lauren P. Jacobson
- Self-Perceived Athletic Competence of Young Athletes
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