Sports Participation Decreases After High School

Australia has a well known reputation for its highly praised sporting industry. Sports play a large part in the growth and development of a community and the individuals. Participation rates have been known to decrease after high school due to various sociological factors.

There are important benefits in the form of health and wellness which directly relates to better working individuals in terms of productivity and quality of life. So what is holding back the growth of this established industry? Lack of confidence or ability amongst females in sport, lack of time and interest in the general population, the list could go on.

Female Participation in Sports

What are the barriers affecting females participation in sports? According to the Australian Sports Foundation, 50% of females leave sport by the time they turn 17. This can be narrowed down to reasons such as lack of confidence.  

Closing the gap between grassroots and elite sports and creating an interim level where females can still feel supported by an inclusive club culture can make all the difference. Women and girls have an emotive response when it comes to the enjoyment of an activity. It is essential for large sports organisations to highlight a strong female presence amongst coaches and administrators through their marketing strategies. This will negate the fear of judgement that is caused by lack of confidence.

Growing the number of women in leadership roles within sport will give more young females a chance to look up to those women, and continue their own participation in the sport.

Effects of Decreased Participation in Sports  

Australian youth, (18-24 years old) has the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age demographic. As young athletes approach the end of high school there is a direct correlation between the numbers of individuals dropping out of sport and those who generate some sort of mental illness. Many other interpersonal, environmental factors can also play a part in the early onset of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Mental wellness is declining in young athletes as they don’t prioritise physical activity and tend to drop out of their sports activity. This can be improved with general daily life changes. Regular physical activity amongst young people has been proven to significantly improve one’s mental health state. It may not always be a simple standalone treatment, but physical activity can improve focus, provide a way of de-stressing and improve one’s mood to better handle daily life.  

The benefits of physical activity are well known, so mitigating the factors which lead to decreased interest should be addressed. For students, it’s simply leaving high school and no longer having the same flexible roster. When juggling tasks such as uni assignments, social life, work, family time it’s not hard to see why students are choosing to drop out of sport.

So now what?

Boosting mental wellness through encouraging females with inclusive club culture will boost local community participation. Looking after youths in sport and breaking down the barriers which affect those participation rates, will see positive responses.

Be sure to refer back to our previous blogs if you need further inspiration. Read more about channeling negative energy into something productive, in The Impact Physical Activity Has on Our Mood’