Fastest Growing Youth Sports

Basketball is one of the fastest growing youth sports.There is no denying the popularity of youth sports. Dedicated sports fields are full not only on Saturdays, but continually throughout the week. Since sports allow kids to develop important skills, both physical and interpersonal, this surge in popularity is a positive trend. While sports across the board are enjoying increased participation, the following are definite standouts in regards to popularity.

Lacrosse
Lacrosse's Native Americans origins can be traced back to the 1400s. But Lacrosse is not only "the fastest sport on two feet" as its nickname declares; it is arguably the fastest growing sport in the world.

This quick, high scoring game is a combination of soccer, basketball, and hockey. Boys and girls teams are both experiencing increased popularity. Players of all abilities can participate making this an inclusive sport. Plus the addition of top-level college programs could account for the number of high schools taking note of the sport. And since it is a spring sport, athletes with a different primary sport may be flocking to lacrosse leagues to stay in shape during the off-season.

Equipment required for lacrosse includes:

  • Helmet with protective chin pad and face mask to prevent injury
  • Gloves that are thick and padded
  • Shoulder pads are another protective piece of equipment
  • Crosse, or stick, features netting in order to catch and toss the small rubber ball used in play.

Soccer

The popularity of soccer in the US continues to increase; although, it has been a strong force throughout the world for many years. Part of the appeal of this team sport lies in the fact that parents do not have to wait to sign their kids up. Children who have only just learned to walk are joining the ranks in droves.

Although five and under leagues exist, the opportunity for growth is phenomenal. Simple in concept, the sport grows with the player advancing in difficulty and competitiveness. If a child started playing soccer at four, he would have well over a decade of this year-round sport under his belt by the time he hits college.

Equipment required for soccer includes:

  • Cleats for outdoor play, indoor shoes with flat soles are necessary for indoor games
  • Shin pads are worn under knee high socks to protect the lower leg
  • Goalie jersey and gloves for this position

Basketball

Basketball's popularity with boys has been steadily growing over the years, but the big push for this sport is coming from girls. According to AEO, the International Center for Athletic & Educational Opportunities approximately 70% of teens plays basketball worldwide. This means almost 3 out of 4 teens in the world participates in this team sport.

Girls are entering the sport in larger numbers than ever before now that the WNBA has opened for business. Talented girls have more opportunities and incentive to continue their basketball careers into college and potentially afterwards.

Basketball is essentially a very inexpensive game. The only real equipment needed is a hoop and a basketball. Aside from school leagues, recreational leagues such as Upward Sports provide more opportunities for youth to play.


Sources:
WSOCTV: America's Oldest Sport, Lacrosse Growing in Popularity

Sports Business Daily: Basketball still tops in youth participation
Upward Sports: Kids sports leagues and kids sports camps

Content by Sylvie Branch .