Why Sports Participation is Declining

September 20, 2022

Why Sports Participation is Declining

According to a Scholars Portal research, there is a decline in sports participation across all Canadians. After the age of 15, sports participation noticeably decreases.

The chart summarizes how many Canadians in each age group participated in sports in 2010 (Sport Participation, 2013).


One of the leading causes for declination is that there is not enough time. With every passing year, leisure time decreases for the average Canadian. As a result, shortage of time will lead to a change in priorities. The time left to spare is typically dedicated to work, household work, or other activities altogether. For children, the amount of time their parents have to dedicate and commit to their child’s interest in sports is also a big factor.


The second leading cause is a loss of interest. The people in an individual’s life will also shift their interests and activities. If there is no role-model or real sport motivator in one's early life, there is a greater chance that they may slowly disconnect the emotional attachment they have from playing a sport. If parents are uninterested or have a lazy attitude towards playing sports, it will ultimately influence the child's views on sports participation starting from a young age. What happens then? The child puts away their ball, hockey stick, bat, whatever it may be, and changes their interests.


Another cause is some sports are too competitive. Almost 73% of Canadians argue that sports have become too competitive and less about the fun (Strashin, 2016). Kids are more likely to resign from playing their favourite sport due to the outbreak of disputes, not feeling good enough, or even bullying they may receive from other players.


The last major contributing factor are the costs of participating in a sport. This is heavily dependent on the household income as it is correlated to the ability to afford. Commonly, playing a sport is not prioritized over other necessities. To get an idea of how much some activities costs read this article.

There are many costs involved with playing a sport. These include, but are not limited to: uniforms, club membership fee, transportation, etc. As a result, households with less income are less likely to be involved in sports play whereas households with high income are more involved.

Don’t let this happen to you or at least the youth in your lives! Be their role-model. The benefits of playing a sport are astounding and beginning at a young age will increase performance radically. If the costs are high, find cheaper ways to play your favourite sport! For example, pickup games are a great way to keep playing at a lower cost. Do not contribute to the decline in sports participation!

Check out an article on why sports are so important for our youth here

Interested in flipping the script and reintroducing sports into your life or your friends lives? Check out the Javelin App today and explore a wide array of volleyball pick up games and tournaments for all skill levels or check out our training sessions to get live insight into volleyball best practices for beginner and novice players. 


“Kids Sports.” Canadian Social Trends: Kid’s Sports, March 2008, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-008-x/2008001/article/10573-eng.htm#a5

Mulcahy, Glen. “Why Sports Participating in Canada Is Declining.” PARADIGM Sports, November 2017. https://www.paradigmsports.ca/sports-participation-canada-declining/

Sport Participation 2010. Canadian Heritage, 2013.

Strashin, Jamie. “Why Canadian Kids Are Dropping out of Sports | CBC Sports.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, May 2016, https://www.cbc.ca/sports/sports-participation-canada-kids-1.3573955w

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