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"girls are leaving basketball"-interesting read...


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"Two decades ago, girls’ basketball was the queen of high school sports. Nearly half a million players crowded gyms across the country, and schools packed rosters of varsities, joint ventures and freshmen. 

But in the last school year, basketball jumped to the fourth most popular girls’ sport, according to data released this month by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Girls’ basketball has lost 19% of its players since 2002, while the top girls’ sports, track and field, have increased by 10% with volleyball (+15%) and soccer (+27%) up." 


Edited by whoopdeedoo
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JMO (based on my experience of raising an athletic daughter in the state of Nebraska who participated in three sports at the club level):  the overwhelming majority of basketball coaches (club and HS), expected her to play year-round basketball and either drop or greatly reduce her other activities.  She enjoyed the other two sports too much, so guess which sport she dropped after her freshman year in HS?  Basketball, and she wasn't the only one.  I know of at least a dozen girls her age that could have easily played DII basketball, a few even DI basketball, that gave it up for that reason.  These girls, including my daughter, preferred to play on the intramural team in HS (with the boys), and focus their efforts on softball, soccer, volleyball, or track and field because they were fed up with coaches who demanded they be in the gym year round.  Most of these girls went on to compete at the DI level in sports other than basketball.


Could they have been an asset to their HS basketball teams?  Yes, definitely.  Did they want to make basketball their priority 365 days of the year?  No, absolutely not.  But it was made clear by their HS coaches that if they weren't willing to do that, they would be riding the bench.  These were girls that attended every HS practice during the season, but maybe weren't in the gym during the offseason as much as the coach wanted to see (only because they were participating in other sports).  A good example of this was when we were on the east coast at a championship level event one summer, my daughter was still in middle school.  The HS coach called her and asked if she would play in a summer basketball tournament that he was coaching for the HS team.  She would have loved to, except we were in South Carolina for the full week and wouldn't be back in time.  That should have been the end of it, right?  Nope.  He put her on a guilt trip for a good year after that, made her feel horrible for not flying back early to play in this tournament.


My daughter played a lot of different sports at different levels growing up.  The only one she ever soured on was basketball, which was too bad because up until around 8th grade, it was her favorite and the one she thought she wanted to do in college.  Then it got hyper-demanding of her time and, unfortunately, there was a lot of politics in it as well.  It became a negative experience for her and for several other kids we knew.  It was much easier to balance multiple sports by dropping basketball.


The other thing we noticed throughout her years playing sports is that some of the least athletic kids we ever met were on the soccer fields and basketball courts (more so on the soccer fields).  You can be skilled but not athletic to play both those sports, or it's at least easier to hide your lack of athleticism.  That's not true with VB and track and field.  If you aren't athletic, it shows, you can't hide it.  More and more athletic girls started choosing VB over basketball.  Most of the nonathletic ones (or average athletic) avoided track and field like it was the plague.  If you can't run, jump, or throw, you aren't going to have much success in track and field.  But you might have success in soccer if you can play disruptive defense, or in basketball if you can consistently nail a 3 point shot.  And that gives their parents something to brag about.  If I had a dollar for every time a basketball or soccer parent told me their daughter was a DI recruit (when she was only 10 years old), I could retire 10 years early.

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