• basketball is #1 youth sport

10 Reasons Basketball is Kids’ #1 Sport

Did you know that America’s most popular youth sport is basketball? And that this applies to both boys and girls? In fact, basketball is now even more popular than hockey in Canada!

According to ESPN and other sports organizations, more than 550,000 boys are playing on school teams alone (i.e. we’re not including private and community-based clubs). Throw in the 450,000-plus girls and you’ve got more than a million kids playing school basketball.

What makes these numbers especially impressive is how rigorous the selection process is for school basketball versus other sports (freshman football, for example, often allows anyone to sign up, whereas basketball will only suit 10-12).

So what, exactly, makes basketball so popular? Herewith, 10 reasons basketball is kids’ #1 sport of choice.

#1. High Energy

The bottom line is that kids love action and basketball is unique in just how much action it delivers. Compared to most other sports, players are instantly and constantly thrust into an environment of ceaseless activity.

#2. Participatory

With only 5 players on the court, every player is likely to get a decent number of chances to contribute on both ends of the court (see #3 for more on this).

#3. Offense & Defense

Basketball_380x300As opposed to many other sports, basketball requires kids to play both offense and defense – so instead of watching a select few try to score or, conversely, depending on others to hold a lead, the kids get to do it all.

#4. Great Exercise

Basketball demands a tremendous amount from its participants. While a football game may last 2-3 hours, most of the kids will only engage in a few minutes of actual activity (the average NFL player only plays 11 minutes!). Basketball players must possess an incredible array of physical skills – strength, agility, endurance, explosiveness, and more.

#5. Low Cost

Ok, this may be one of the reasons parents love basketball. Generally speaking, basketball ranks as one of the least expensive youth sports. A pair of shorts, a jersey, a school gym and a couple of referees combine to keep costs low. Usually the priciest requirement is a pair of good high-top sneakers. And when it comes to practice, all a kid needs is a ball and a hoop.

#6. Teamwork

Despite the seeming simplicity of just 5 on 5 action, basketball is a surprisingly sophisticated orchestration of moving parts that, when executed correctly, can be magical. And because even the weakest player on the court still makes up 20% of that equation, they enjoy first-hand the immense satisfaction of being part of a cohesive unit.

#7. Spotlight

Many sports put a lot of separation between the players and spectators, either in the form of distance from the action or burying kids inside bulky uniforms and equipment. Basketball players often play mere feet from packed-in spectators with a minimum of equipment.

#8. Multifaceted

girls bballWe already touched on this, but basketball requires an incredible combination of athleticism, hand-eye coordination, skill, endurance, strength, poise, team work, and more. This rich exposure to many activities is particularly attractive to kids, who are resistant to the idea of being shoehorned into one position or activity.

#9. Physicality

Virtually every child – yes, even the girls – enjoys a level of physicality in their play. Basketball is a surprisingly physical support, allowing kids to scramble for loose balls, compete for rebounds, go for steals, defend, struggle to score, etc.

#10. Fun

This is kind of a no-brainer. Kids naturally gravitate to basketball because it’s got a ball, a hoop, and a bunch of other kids all racing around trying to take control of that ball. In other words, it’s not too far removed from those early playground games.  Fun!


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