The weather puts 1 in 8 children off playing football

A UK survey of parents reveals some interesting reasons their children aren’t on the field.

Grassroots football is thriving in terms of initiatives, and recent statistics from the FA have shown positive increases in many areas, especially amongst girls/womens football.

These initiatives mean there has probably never been a better time or environment in which to play football, but why aren’t more children getting into it?

The results below come from a survey by Kitlocker which asked parents the key question: Why don’t your children play football?

According to the study, there are several reasons why fewer children are choosing to play football who might otherwise take up the sport.

While half the respondents simply had interests other than football, a full 50% said certain factors were deterring them from becoming involved.

One popular answer was a ‘lack of opportunity’, with 14% of parents admitting that they struggled to find a local team for their kids, even though the FA has introduced 5,000 new youth teams in the space of just four years.

Results from popular search engine Google show that there are large amounts of searches from people looking for local clubs. This suggests that poor online visibility may be a large factor as to why local clubs are not being found.

Perhaps most surprisingly, 13% of respondents were put off by the poor British weather, with both parents and children confessing that they preferred not to spend their weekends on a cold, wet field.

Attempts over the years to tackle this problem have resulted in a number of developments, including the use of indoor and astro-turf playing facilities by clubs to improve playing conditions. Advancements in football teamwear and training wear also serve to make outdoor conditions more tolerable for players.

The list also includes fears over gender bias, with 12.5% of parents saying that their child doesn’t play football due to the male focus on the game, and many reporting that they were unable to find a suitable girls’ team.

Mike Kent, the founder of Kitlocker, said: “With so many FA initiatives in place to improve grassroots football, hopefully it won’t be long before we start to see a turnaround in kids getting into clubs. There are plenty of young boys and girls are out there wanting to play and the FA stats show the clubs are there ready and waiting to recruit, so it is clearly just a lack of communication standing in the way.”

The overly competitive nature of some clubs, both in terms of the coaches and the parents, also featured on the list, along the difficulty of fitting weekly practises and matches into a busy schedule.

The results in full are as follows:

Why don’t your children play football?

  • Other interests (i.e. computers) – 50%
  • Lack of opportunity (i.e. no club/ space) – 14%
  • Weather (i.e. cold, wet, windy) – 13%
  • Gender (i.e. no girls team/ not allowed) – 12.5%
  • The clubs (i.e. intimidating, competitive) – 6%
  • Parents’ lifestyle (i.e. work, don’t have time) – 4.5%

For more information see:

Stewart Coggin on Linkedin
Stewart Coggin
Digital Marketing at Teamer
Stewart has worked in sports media since 2002, initially in journalism and now marketing. After four-and-a-half years on the official Premier League website, he switched to marketing in 2012 with sports coaching providers Green Star Media before moving into the world of 5-a-side football with PlayFootball. He now supports the marketing efforts at Teamer.

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