This is the final installment on the topic of navigating big challenges in modern youth sports culture. The goal for all of these is to keep kids in the game longer, with a focus on their long-term development.

In the first introduction to the series, I spoke about the impact of early specialization on young athletes. The second installment explored strategies for finding the best training environment for child athletes.

To round up and conclude the series, I’ll be going over how kids can find their fun in a sport!

A Balanced Training Environment

A majority of athletes will quit by age 13 because they’re not having fun. It’s as simple as that. We need to curate balanced training environments that emphasize development, discipline and fun.

While putting in hard work and the challenges that come with the sport are all part of the journey, it’s possible to have a balanced training environment. Kids can do all of this while having fun, and it’s what they need for long-term development.

How Youths Can Find Their Fun In Sports

Check out these pointers that help make sports fun for children:

  • A Fun Training Environment: A creative coach who’s willing to build fun into the training session.
  • Being Highly Competitive: Competition is fun!
  • Incorporating Games: There are multiple ways to bring in fun, and coaches need to prioritize that
  • The Bonding Side: This is a huge factor in youth sports, whether its a team or individual sport.
  • Improving skills: If your child loves their sport, mastering a new skill should feel like fun.
  • Winning: This isn’t always under our control, but when it happens we enjoy it.

A Note For Coaches

If you can mix fun training days along with the tough ones, you’ll see engagement go up. Young kids aren’t developmentally ready to grind day after day. By working fun days into the training schedule, engagement will be higher during the tough days.


The end goal is to try to keep kids in the game for longer, and how much fun they’re having directly impacts that!

If you’re struggling to keep your kid in a sport, I’m here to help! Click here to contact Erika Westhoff Performance.