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Why do kids stop wrestling?

What Winners Wear!

Why do kids stop wrestling?


Fewer kids dream of someday winning an Olympic title like John Smith or being a four time NCAA Wrestling Champion like Kyle Dake. We see fewer kids continuing their wrestling careers, so we ask ourselves why, and the reasons are numerous. Many of the reasons kids stop wrestling can be either caused or negated by coaches and parents. The following data is from a recent study conducted by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) and the survey provides a great insight into why fewer kids are participating in sports in general. The following results are based on a sampling of 1000 kids between the ages of 7-17, and while there are a sundry of reasons I’ll list only the top ones sighted by the NSGA study.

  • Burnout
  • Issues with coaches
  • Lack of success
  • Lack of time
  • No interest/lazy
  • Financial reasons

As I travel the country to various youth wrestling events, including the Brute Nationals, I often hear a proud parent state “yeah, last week we wrestled (name) at the (event name) and . . .“ The reality is, it is the son or daughter who was the one who either won or had a close match with a well-known competitor. I hope you didn’t miss the part of the sentence when the parent said “we wrestled.” Anyone who has wrestled to any degree knows – there is no “we” on the wrestling mat. While this parent is rightfully proud, and basking in the glow of their wrestler’s accomplishments, they are at the same time applying unintended, unnecessary, and unhealthy pressure on a young person. I will end this by stating that the single largest reason kids stop participating is because they “no longer like the sport.” Is it the sport, or the experience, they no longer like?

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