I ran across a post recently from Bob Cook. Cook is a youth sports contributor to Forbes.com (I checked out other posts on his blog and I recommend it). He writes that there might be another reason behind the statistic that the numbers of children between 6 and 17 participating in youth sports is down 4% compared to 2009; specifically demographics. He points out that the number of births has declined every year from 2008 – 2012. Could be that there are simply fewer youths to play sports.
To me, this points out the need for digging deeper into the statistics that we are often presented as justification for positions (particularly timely in an election year, right?). Cook’s analysis points out that I would want to see the data for 6-17 year olds participating in youth sports on the same graphic as one depicting the total number of 6-17 year olds. If the decline in youth sports participation looks similar to the drop in overall 6-17 year old children, then perhaps demographics could explain the drop in participation. However, it is my belief that many of the reasons cited in the Washington Post article Cook refers to – economics, the rise of competitive travel/select teams, etc. – are likely at least as explanatory as any drop in the population of 6-17 year olds.
What do you think?