"Why do you play sports?" Every youth sport participant should be asked this question, says, high school junior, Peter Barston, who has been actively playing sports for 10 years. He feels this age old question has been left behind, as parents and coaches focus on winning records, early recruitment and advanced travel and all-star teams.
So last year, the Connecticut youth took it upon himself to find out what really drives kids to play by asking his peers this very simple, five word question, “Why do you play sports?”
After brainstorming, Barston decided to present a one page survey to 1,000 youth basketball, baseball and softball players from his hometown ranging from 4th to 8th grade. What makes his survey unique is that it was conducted in person without coaches or parents present. “Just a kid asking other kids a simple question,” wrote Barston. This approach gave his peers a chance to provide answers that were thoughtful, sincere and lacked the stigmatism of coming from an adult or educator
Barston's first survey was a huge success - giving his local community a greater insight into what their youth athletes find important. The survey results, which were categorized by sport, gender and age had a very consistent pattern. It showed that the most important reason for playing was to have FUN.
Barston's local Little League found the survey to be so helpful they posted it directly on their website. From this small exposure, communities from all over the world have now been referred to Barston's site, www.sportsreasons.com. See what the New York Times and Chicago Daily Herald had to say about Barston's project.
The Weplay team believes wholeheartedly in Barston's mission, which is why we encourage every Weplay athlete and player to take the survey.
Barston continues to build upon and improve his website, which he hopes will inspire communities to learn more about what their youth athletes really want. “We all have to remind ourselves to stay true to our reasons for playing sports whether we are a coach, a player or a parent,” he wrote.
Find out what’s important to your youth athlete. Pass along this survey to your local youth sports program and community network.