Why Your Child May Be Losing Interest in Their Sport
If you are one of the rare parents who has never bribed your child to get them to go to a practice or perform better in a game and if you promise you’ve never leveraged things like iPad time and ice cream in return for a goal scored, a race won or a home run, then you can skip this article. Everyone else … read on.
It seems harmless enough when we encourage our children to shoot – even when there are teammates wide open and when we reward kids with special snacks in return for scoring. But guess what – it’s these little nuances that could actually lead your child to eventually quit playing sports.
It is something psychologists call the overjustification effect and It is this phenomenon that I believe is partially responsible for the high dropout rate we are seeing in youth sports. In fact, the National Alliance for Sports estimated that 70% of U.S. children will drop out of organized sports by the time they turn 13.
The best way to describe the overjustification effect is to use a parable from Robert Weinberg’s book Mental Toughness in Sport, Business and Life.