2020 was set to be the ultimate "Summer of Sport" with football's Euro 2020, the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, cricket's The Hundred starting and the Wimbledon tennis tournament all taking place.
But it's ended up a very different summer and with no weekend sports clubs and no school sports days - what has happened to kids’ sport in 2020?
At the beginning of the month, The Guardian reported on new schools' research where headteachers revealed kids’ sporting activity had "significantly dropped" in the latter stages of lockdown.
But interestingly our research tells a slightly different story. Over a third (39%) of the 2 million 7-14-year olds we talk to in the UK each week feel they have been more active since schools shut, rising to nearly half (46%) of 7-9-year-olds.
So, what’s causing this variance? Well we’re seeing a clear split between “sport” and “activity” for kids and teens.
When asked if they would not describe themselves as “good” at sports, nearly half (49%) of kids and teens say “no”. Confidence in sporting ability peaks at age 9/10, interestingly as they may begin to be selected for school teams in junior school.
As kids get older, we know that sporting confidence drops - 56% of 12-year-olds and 58% of 14-year-olds would not describe themselves as “good” at sport. And over half (53%) of UK kids have tried to get out of a school sports class.
But activity is a whole another topic – kids’ top three choices for getting active in their free time are playing on the trampoline (49%), going for a bike ride (48%) and going for a walk (40%). These views are echoed by the surge in outdoor equipment sales in the past few months and our data also showing that well over half (56%) of kids are going out for family walks at least once a week.
Playing a team sport comes much further down the list (34%) and a solo sport was the penultimate choice (27%) for the kids we asked. Kids also recognised that kicking a ball about (37%) and TikTok dances (34%) kept them active.
Kids and teens are moving away from the pressures of organised sport and are embracing activity that they can enjoy on their own terms and easily fit into their daily routines. Given the vital role that being active has on physical and mental wellbeing, and the expected disruption to organised school and grassroots sport as we head into autumn, this shift could be vital for this generation’s health.
If you’d like to know more, get in touch. We’re here to help.