What should you do if your child wants to drop out of sports?

Children and teenagers’ interest in sports can be extremely short-lived. As they transition through different stages of development in their lives, several factors can influence their perception of, and participation in, sporting activities.

Sport drop out in teenagers and children is a common occurrence, and it’s crucial for parents to understand exactly what can cause this to happen and the resulting consequences. In this article, we’ll explain the underlying reasons behind sport dropout, as well as highlighting the key benefits of physical activity, and providing effective strategies to address this issue from both a psychological and emotional perspective.

The main reasons why children and teens drop out of sport

young people taking a break from training

Keeping children and teens interested in sports is a challenging task at times, and they can easily lose interest in sport for a number of different reasons. Identifying the causes of drop out will enable us to implement measures to try to prevent this and to help young people retain their enthusiasm for sport. We have compiled some of the main ones for you, so keep reading!

It isn’t fun anymore

One of the main reasons why children and teens drop out of sport is that it is no longer fun. As they grow older, their expectations and needs often change, and an activity that was once fun and exciting for them can turn into something rather monotonous.

Their interests change

Over time, children may discover new passions and interests that often interfere with the time they would spend playing sports. The sheer diversity of leisure options available to them can result in a natural shift in their interests.

Pressure and expectation

Excessive expectations and the pressure to perform well can be quite overwhelming for children. A fear of failure can often cause them to them lose interest and eventually drop out of sport.

Feeling stuck in a rut and frustrated

When children start to struggle or feel they aren’t making any progress, they may get stuck in a rut with the resulting frustration this will cause. As a result, it’s highly likely that they’ll rapidly lose interest.


When children reach adolescence, they may face new academic and social challenges, and this can decrease their involvement in sports.

Falling in love

Falling in love can mean a shift in priorities, and sporting activities may no longer be as important as personal relationships.

Peer pressure

Peer pressure is a major factor during adolescence. If their friends don’t share their interest in sport, a teenager may feel under pressure to drop out in order to fit in better.

Academic pressure

As children progress through school, academic demands may increase, leaving less time and energy to devote to sport.

The relationship with teammates and coaches

Clashes with teammates or disagreements with coaches can lead to a child losing interest in sport and, eventually, dropping out.

The importance and benefits of sport for growing children and adolescents

The benefits of sport (including football) for teenagers and children’s physical and mental development are both numerous and essential. In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle, participating in sport fosters the development of social skills, self-esteem, and emotional resilience.

Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles and bones, and helps to maintain a healthy weight. Taking part in sports also teaches and encourages discipline, teamwork, and time management, all essential skills to be successful in everyday life.

From a psychological perspective, sports psychology plays a significant role. These disciplines deal with the connection between mind and body, as well as providing tools for managing stress, improving personal performance, and developing a positive mindset.

Warning Signs that a Child or Teen is Losing Interest in Sport

player fatigue

Identifying the signs of a loss of interest early on is essential in order for you to be able to tackle the problem before the child drops out completely. Some common signs may include:

A negative attitude towards training

A negative attitude towards training or sports events may be indicative of a growing loss of interest. You may notice a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to attending events or training sessions, less positivity when participating, and even negative body language and facial expressions.

Failure to attend for no apparent reason

Absence without clear reasons can be an indicator of a lack of interest. The child or teen adolescent may start to miss training sessions for no apparent reason, making up unfounded excuses.

Expressions of apathy or lack of enthusiasm

We’re talking here about visible signs of apathy and an obvious lack of interest in sporting events. Among other things, apathetic facial expressions, a lack of energy, a general lack of involvement, and detached behaviour, can all point to a general feeling of disengagement regarding the sport in question.


A noticeable drop in your child’s performance may stem from a lack of interest or motivation. When a child or teenager loses interest in a sporting activity due to a lack of motivation, this is reflected by a drop in performance.

Distancing from their teammates

A certain detachment from their teammates or some form of social isolation may point to some sport-related problems. In these cases, you can see a certain emotional detachment, with the child avoiding contact and interaction with others, having less communication, and not getting as involved in the different activities.

Frequent mentions of fatigue or tiredness

When a child often complains that they’re physically or emotionally exhausted or tired then this can be a sign of sports burnout. This could be due to training too much, a lack of adequate rest, or excessively high expectations that the child or teen feels they can’t attain, or cope with. This can cause fatigue which expresses itself as a lack of enthusiasm.

Evasiveness when talking about sport

Shying away from talking about a topic, in this case about sport, is a sign of withdrawal. When a child or teen doesn’t want to talk about their sport, they may be trying to avoid feeling uncomfortable and being put in an awkward situation. Because of this, it’s crucial to handle the situation empathetically and with understanding.

How to deal with sport drop out effectively

Youth and sports

If we intervene early on, and do it positively and appropriately, this can help to overcome the child’s loss of interest and encourage a positive attitude towards the sport. We’ve compiled some key strategies for you here:

Encouraging and providing positive vibes

Provide positive vibes regarding the sport in question, highlighting the fun and rewarding sides of the activity.

Keep an open communication

Be open and responsive when talking to your child or teen, in order to understand their feelings and thoughts about sport.

Be personally and actively involved in their activities.

Look for ideas to exercise with your children and actively participate in all their matches and events, showing genuine interest in their involvement.

Listen with empathy and respect their decisions

Listen empathetically and respect your child’s choices, acknowledging that their interests may change over time.

Provide variety in their sporting activities

Try out different sporting activities to find the ones that best suit your child’s interests and abilities.

Set realistic and achievable goals

Help to set realistic and achievable goals, avoiding any excessive pressure that may lead to a loss of interest.

Stress the importance of having fun while they play

Explain that sport isn’t only about competing, but also about having fun and enjoying yourself in the process.

Avoid putting too much pressure on them

Avoid putting them under undue pressure regarding performance and results, and do all you can to ensure they have a positive and enriching experience.

Encourage their sporting friendships

Encourage them to make friends in the sporting sphere, thus creating social bonds that will reinforce their connection with the sport in question.

The importance of sports camps

Sports camps are a great option to consider when you’re looking to attract your children and teens to sporting activities. They build camaraderie and provide the opportunity to experience sport in a whole new way. One such example are summer football camps, which can certainly be a highly rewarding experience.

The benefits of sports camps to keep children motivated

Sports camps are an excellent way to encourage sporting activity in children and teenagers. As well as football camps, you can find camps for many other sports, such as rugby, horse riding, tennis, golf, water sports, and basketball, amongst others. Ertheo Academy offers all these options and so there’s something for everyone! Some other benefits of sports camps that can help to avoid sport drop out in children and teens are:

  • They create a positive social experience by encouraging children to interact and share experiences with others who are passionate about the same sport. 
  • A great variety of activities prevents monotony and holds the children’s interest.
  • The children feel a sense of achievement, which, in turn, boosts their motivation and self-confidence.
  • The fun, hands-on approach in sports camps makes learning very enjoyable. 
  • A healthy sense of competition motivates the children to improve and achieve personal goals, without feeling under any pressure to do so.

Sports camps give children the chance to improve their techniques, physical skills, and abilities, as well as learning about tactics, and this can be extremely rewarding.


There are many reasons why children and teens should be physically active, and sport dropout and a loss of interest in kids and teens is something that many parents struggle with. It’s crucial to understand why this occurs, and to take positive steps to ensure your children have a healthy and well-rounded sporting experience. By focusing on sports psychology, the key benefits of sports, and effective strategies to keep children interested, parents can play a vital role in creating a positive and long-lasting sporting environment for their children. In doing so, they aren’t only building a healthy lifestyle for their children, but they’re also developing lifelong social and emotional skills in their lives.