Youth sports was one of the constants during the pandemic and one of the only outlets for many young athletes. If a player didn’t drop their sport, they were all in and younger players were playing sports at a high rate. As 2023 gets rolling, youth sports will continue to grow but may grow in different ways.
During the pandemic and after, youth sports participation dropped. As sports participation dropped, many athletes dropped out of playing sports and have not come back. However, the younger youth sports athletes are joining organized sports again and while the dip will continue to cycle through over the next few years, that increase in youth sports at younger ages will continue to grow.
Here are our five youth sports trends for 2023.
Multi Sport Activity Increases
The number of athletes playing more than one sport will increase in 2023. As athletes want to prioritize fun above specialization, taking on more than one sport will increase. After the pandemic, free play and some new sports increased in popularity. Expect athletes to try new sports that are more casual and may not be as organized as club sports. The focus will be about fun.
Youth sports athletes want to be coached and want to improve in their sport. We expect coaches, clubs, community based organizations to focus not just on scheduling but also making development a priority. This will come in the form of technology, practice planning and communication. The use of technology to connect players and coaches will see an increase. Technology allows coaches and sports organizations to show what they are doing to focus on development for players.
Focusing on Mental Health in Athletes
In 2023, the trend in helping athletes’ mental health will continue to be front and center. We expect athletes to have more access to tools and resources to cope with mental health issues. Expect more resources available to sports organizations, parents and schools.
Sports Participation Continues to Grow through Community-Based Programming
More than half (58%) of children who participate in sports played their primary sport through community-based programming in Fall 2022, according to our latest youth sports parent survey. That’s a jump from 38% in Fall 2021, when the pandemic had a greater impact on playing opportunities. – 2022 Aspen Institute
Increase in Youth Sports Technology
The use of technology for practice planning and team communication will continue to increase in 2023. While most platforms focus on scheduling, planning and registration, coaches, clubs and sports organizations need more. From our technology survey in 2022, one of the biggest features used was practice planning and team/player communication. Expect higher usage of technology to help player development.
For youth sports players, club administrators, coaches and parents, iSport360 is the leading sports technology platform that helps your players be the best they can be. With over 185,000 coaches and players on our platforms, our clubs rely on iSport360 to manage player development both on and off the field, court, pitch and ice.