Organizational barriers and factors that contribute to youth hockey attrition.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of organizational barriers and personal reasons that may lead youth hockey athletes to discontinue participation. Parents (N = 237) whose child discontinued participation in hockey were surveyed using demographic and open-ended questions to: 1) determine their perceptions of the organizational barriers and personal reasons that caused their son or daughter to discontinue involvement, and 2) determine the changes that could be made to lead their child to continue involvement. Data was analyzed using a combination of descriptive statistics and thematic coding. The results indicated the average attrition age for hockey players was 10 years-old and that parents indicated multiple organizational barriers and personal reasons for their child's attrition. Findings revealed several sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the youth sport organization. Recommendations for organizational improvements and suggestions for managers and administrators to increase participation are provided.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Hockey (United States)
Hockey (Psychological aspects)
Hockey (Social aspects)
Hockey (Demographic aspects)
Teenage athletes (Observations)
Authors: Armentrout, Suzannah Mork
Kamphoff, Cindra S.
Pub Date: 06/01/2011
Publication: Name: Journal of Sport Behavior Publisher: University of South Alabama Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health; Sports and fitness Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 University of South Alabama ISSN: 0162-7341
Issue: Date: June, 2011 Source Volume: 34 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 255493624
Full Text: Previous research indicates that approximately one-third of hockey players do not return each year, with the peak time of attrition occurring at about the Bantam level of play which is around age 13 to 14 (Gould & Petlichkoff, 1988). Over the last 20 years, researchers have been concerned with the high youth sport dropout rates (Gould, Fletz, Horn, & Weiss, 1982) and have examined attrition across a variety of sports. Most studies of youth sport attrition have focused on the influence of psychological factors such as participation motives (e.g., Brodkin & Weiss, 1990; Ryska, Hohensee, Cooley, & Jones, 2002; Weiss & Williams, 2004) and perceptions of the social climate (e.g., Molinero, Salguero, Tuero, Alvarez, & Marquez, 2006; Petlichkoff, 1992; Weiss & Williams, 2004). While these factors are indeed important in understanding how to make psychological and social changes in order to reduce youth sport attrition, few studies have examined the organizational and structural changes that could be made to youth program management to decrease attrition. Thus, organizational structural factors and policy deserve further attention in the ongoing quest to attract youth sport participants and reduce their attrition.

Previous attrition research reveals a predominant and recurring theme centered on leaving sports because of personal reasons. In particular, participation conflicts with other interests. For example, research on youth hockey attrition among boys conducted by the Duluth, Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association (Knapp, 1999) revealed that the most prevalent reasons for quitting youth hockey were the inter-related responses of having "other interests" and "takes too much time." Unfortunately, for those that leave the competitive levels of youth hockey because it "takes too much time" there are few recreational opportunities that would allow them to both pursue these other interests and continue to play hockey at a less intense and demanding level. Personal reasons are indeed important because many children leave for these reasons. However, organizational barriers also may play a role in attrition and deserve attention.

Youth may leave sport due to high levels of training at young ages, which is often guided by organizational decisions. Wall and Cote (2007) interviewed parents of current and former male minor hockey players about their child's hockey participation using a retrospective design to compare the sport histories of the current and former hockey players. Results indicated that players who eventually dropped out of the sport began their off-ice training at a younger age and spent more time in off-ice training at ages 12 and 13 than the youth that continued in ice-hockey. Although this research is important in understanding the developmental activities that lead to youth sport dropout, it does not sufficiently address the organizational changes that could be made to decrease attrition.

A further examination of attrition research reveals that a more in-depth examination is needed to understand the organizationai and structural barriers to continued participation for boys and girls of all skill levels. In ice hockey, Wall and Cote (2007) examined male dropouts using the parents of elite hockey players, but non-elite athletes or females were not examined. Knapp's (1999) study only investigated boys while little emphasis has been placed on attrition reasons for girls. It is important to determine and understand the organizational barriers that cause both boys and girls of all skill levels to discontinue participation. Recommendations could then be offered to administrators of youth sport organizations to help them restructure or expand existing youth programs to promote more broad-based and continuing participation throughout the youth years and into adulthood. Such participation plays a part in promoting long term physical activity participation that addresses some of the societal concerns about increasing incidence of obesity and overweight youth. Thus, the purpose of this exploratory study was to establish a clear and specific understanding of organizational barriers and personal reasons that may lead youth to discontinue sport participation and to determine changes that could be made to lead to continued involvement.

The Minnesota Hockey (MH) organization was used to examine youth hockey attrition for three reasons. First, Minnesota Hockey programs have the potential to impact a vast number of youth participants, as over 35,000 boys and more than 8,000 girls participate in Minnesota Hockey sponsored teams and programs each year (Minnesota Hockey, 2006). Second, youth hockey is important to Minnesotans given that it is the highest grossing high school sport (Minnesota State High School League, 2008a), and has the second highest hockey participation in the United States (Minnesota State High School League, 2008b). Third, Minnesota Hockey administrators were cognizant that organizational changes needed to be made to enhance the quality of participants' experiences. Therefore, the findings of this study could be implemented in the organization.

Method

Participants

Youth ice hockey parents or guardians were targeted instead of the youth for three reasons. First, parents or guardians make the final decision regarding whether or not to register their child to participate in subsequent hockey seasons. While the child may indicate his/her preference, the parent makes the ultimate decision to sign them up. Second, the MN Hockey administrators were concerned that due to the anecdotal evidence suggesting young ages at which attrition was occurring, the youth may not be involved in decision making regarding participation. For example, the parents may just make the decision their child will not continue participating in hockey because it is just too expensive and thus, the child was not involved in the decision. Thirdly, parents may be more cognizant of organizational barriers than the youth. For instance, youth might not be aware of the lack of structure in practice or the politics that surround youth sport participation.

As such, the participants in this study were 237 parents or guardians of boys and girls who had been ice hockey players. The parents' ages ranged from 27-58 (M = 41.3 years, SD = 5.7). Approximately 57% of the parents who participated in this study were male (n = 137) and 43% were female (n = 97). The vast majority of participants were Caucasian (n = 226) with high education levels as about 92% of participants (n = 218) had at least some college education and 63% (n = 149) had a least a 4 year college degree. Most participants were married (n = 203) with an average of 2.7 children per household. Close to 44% of the hockey households (n = 103) who responded to the survey earned a combined income of more than $100,000, while 95% of the hockey households (n = 226) surveyed earned a combined income of more than $40,000.

Materials

The questionnaire included demographic information followed by open-ended questions: (a) What is it that the child and his/her parents liked about the organizations' programs and policies? (b) What is it that the child and his/her parents disliked about the organizations' programs and policies? (c) What are the reasons their child/children gave for their decision to quit playing hockey? (d) What would it take for them to want to come back to play with a MH program? (e) What role did the coach's skill, expertise, experience, attitude impact your child's decision to discontinue involvement? And if it did play a role, what do you think could be improved about the coaching? (f) What role did your child's teammates play in influencing involvement?

Procedures

All participants were recruited through a Minnesota Hockey database. Parents' or guardians' e-mail addresses were compared from one year to the next to determine the children who discontinued involvement in hockey. For instance, if an email address was present in 2005, but it was not present in 2006, the email address was placed in the contact list for the study. The parent or guardian who was listed on the database with the child was the one who was contacted. Proceeding data collection, Institutional Review Board approval was attained. Participant consent was obtained prior to initiating the web-based survey. Participants were surveyed to 1) determine their perceptions of the organizational barriers and personal reasons that caused their son or daughter to discontinue hockey involvement, and 2) determine the changes that could be made to lead their child to continue involvement.

Data Analysis

The demographic information was analyzed through descriptive statistics such as percentages and distributions. The open-ended responses on the survey were first read literally for what was documented in the text (Mason, 2002) and no interpretation or inferences were made. After the responses were read, the text was labeled with a theme that reflected the meaning of the passage. Thus, text was grouped into categories by theme. Each theme was carefully defined so that categories were distinct from one another.

The majority of responses included multiple barriers and reasons, which were separated in order to determine the frequencies at which a barrier or reason was given. For instante when asked what reasons their child discontinued participation the entire quote, "Too many late night practices, not fun, too much hockey, coaches yelling" was broken up into four subthemes: 1) too early or late practice times, 2) not fun anymore, 3) too much time, and 4) coaches. In particular the first part of the quote, "Too many late night practices" was moved into subtheme 1, while the second part, "not fun" was moved into the 2nd sub-theme. Subsequent parts of the quote were also moved into the proper thematic category. In the results section, some longer quotes are provided to illustrate the multiple organizational barriers of personal reasons participants gave for attrition.

In order to enhance the trustworthiness of data, peer reviewers triangulated the data (Cote, Salmela, Baria, & Russell, 1993). Three researchers including the primary investigator, secondary investigator and one undergraduate student reviewed the data. The primary researcher developed the themes and then shared those themes and corresponding definitions with the other investigators. Following this, the findings from each question were labeled with their corresponding theme and confirmed by all three researchers. Discussion and re-labeling of themes continued until all three researchers came to an agreement.

Results

The findings revealed that youth hockey players' attrition age ranged from 4 to 17 years old with an average attrition age of 10 years old. Close to 27% (n = 71) of the youth discussed by the parents were girls, while approximately 73% (n = 189) were boys. Regarding the open-ended questions, participants discussed multiple organizational barriers and personal reasons for leaving the organization. As many questions elicited numerous responses, the findings are presented in terms of a "top five" most frequently occurring reasons for each question. Sample quotes are provided to illustrate the thematic findings, while longer quotes are included to demonstrate multiple barriers or reasons.

Parent Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction with the Youth Sport Organization

For satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the youth sport organization, the top five responses are illustrated in Table 1. The aspect the parents liked the most was that the children had fun and enjoyed participating (n = 45). For instance, one parent said his/her child "loved playing hockey." Another stated, "he had fun for so many years."

The next two most important features the parents were satisfied with were the friendships their child formed through participation (n = 42) and the opportunity participation provided for personal and character development (n = 35). Parents often indicated their child enjoyed "playing with friends" and "being on a team." Regarding the child's personal and character development, parents said they liked that their child could learn to "build a work ethic," "learn teamwork skills" and "build social skills."

The fourth factor parents liked about the youth sport organization is that they perceived it to be a well-run organization (n = 29). Participants indicated the youth sport organization had "very structured practices" and was "well organized." The fifth most frequently occurring factor parents liked about the program is that their child had the opportunity to learn how to play the game and could develop hockey skills (n = 28). The parents indicated that their child had the opportunity to learn "good hockey fundamentals" and could work on "stick handling" or "skating skills."

The following quotes illustrate that participants often provided multiple factors they were satisfied with regarding the youth sport organization,

Another said, "the sport, the camaraderie, team building, physical fitness, social part, occupies their time during winter" were all factors this parent or guardian liked about the

program. One parent indicated, "it is a well run organization, they stress the importance of development."

These factors parents liked about the youth sport organization are not reflected in what they were dissatisfied with.

The top 2 of the 5 aspects that parents disliked about the youth sport organization is that it required too much time to participate and travel (n = 53), and that it was too expensive (n = 33). Parents extensively discussed that the "season was too long" or it required "too much practicing for young kids." Many times parents simply said it was "too time consuming," there was "too much traveling" or that "driving long distances was too much." Regarding the cost, participants clearly indicated that it was "too expensive" or that they disliked the "high costs associated" with the programs.

The third factor the parents disliked was that due to the high demand of ice rinks many of the practice times were either too early in the morning or too late at night (n = 17). For instance in order to obtain access to an ice rink, youth practices were sometimes at 5 or 6 A.M. or 9 or 10 P.M. In particular, parents said the "early morning practices were tough" or that there were "unreasonable practices times." The fourth and fifth factors that parents indicated they disliked about the youth sport organization was that there was too much politics involved for a youth league (n = 17) and that it was too competitive (n = 14). For instance, parents said, "too many politics [were] involved" and hockey was "too competitive at young age levels." The following two quotes illustrate that parents often indicated multiple factors they were dissatisfied with regarding the youth sport organization, "He was 7 years-old, and politics were already involved. Too competitive for our family's liking. Too much time invested for age group. Too expensive." Another person indicated.

Reasons for Discontinuing Participation

Many parents indicated multiple reasons their child quit playing hockey. The top five reasons they stopped playing are provided in Table 2. Similar to the key factor they disliked about the youth sport organization, parents indicated their child discontinued playing because it took up too much time (n = 37). They often indicated there was "too much time commitment." The second reason parents indicated their child quit playing hockey was that s/ he wanted to participate in other activities (n = 30). Some parents were vague and said their child wanted to "pursue other interests," "try something different," or "decided to take a break to try other sports." Other parents were more specific and indicated their child "wanted to take dance classes" or "try basketball."

The third reason the participants discussed related to their child discontinuing participation in the youth sport organization was financial reasons, specifically the high cost to participate in hockey (n = 22). One participant indicated, "cost to play the sport is unreasonable." Another said, "it was an expensive program for the amount of practice and ice time available." The fourth most frequent reason provided by the parents was their child did not have fun anymore (n = 16). They simply indicated "it wasn't fun anymore, why do something that isn't fun?" The fifth factor that influenced why their child dropped out of hockey was that they lacked an interest in the sport (n = 14). One parent said their child was "sick of hockey." Two other parents indicated their child "didn't care to play anymore" and "lost interest for hockey."

A few quotes demonstrate that parents often indicated multiple reasons for quitting hockey. One stated, "he didn't want to quit playing, I told him we can't afford it and we didn't have the time". Another parent indicated,

One said,

Recommendations That Could Lead to Continued Organizational Involvement

The top five recommendations that could lead to continued involvement in the youth sport organizational are included in Table 3. The most frequently occurring answer was that it is too late and nothing can be changed (n = 37). One person said, it is "too late now ... he's into basketball & baseball. He would be so far behind the skill level of the other children playing in his age group without the past couple of years [of] experience." Another indicated, "Now that she has been out of it for nearly a year, I don't think there is probably anything that would get her back into playing hockey. She is very competitive and would feel that her skills would not have kept up since she hasn't been playing."

One key suggestion, and the second most popular response that emerged from the findings regarding changes that the youth sport organization could make to increase participation, is that the league must be more affordable if their child was to participate in the future (n = 31). A number of parents suggested there needs to be "lower costs" and some even indicated "more financial assistance" is needed. No specific fees or amount of financial assistance was suggested by participants.

Next, the parents recommended less time commitment each week and/or a shorter season (n = 28). Many parents gave specific suggestions such as they needed a "shorter season" or "fewer practices" if their child was going to return to play hockey. Other parents recommended having "time off on some weekends" or only "a 3-4 night commitment."

Parents also suggested offering more recreational opportunities with a focus on fun and enjoyment (n = 16). For instance, one parent said there needs to be "a program that is more for fun than skill building" or one that is "geared towards the casual hockey player." Another parent suggested having "a house league program that allowed kids to have fun while getting some great exercise."

The fifth most frequent suggestion for change in the youth sport organization was that the organization should focus on better coaches, management, and leadership (n = 14). One participant said there must be "improved coaching" while another indicated that the organization needed "new members on the board." Two additional parents said they need "better management" and "different leadership."

Two longer quotes that illustrate multiple suggestions offered by participants are as follows,

Coach's Role in Discontinuing Youth Sport Participation

Findings indicated that for the majority of participants, the coach did not play a key role in the child's decision to discontinue playing hockey. Close to 67% (n = 111) indicated the coach played little or no influence on their reason to discontinue. In fact, many parents indicated that the "coaches were great." For the remaining 32% (n = 53) of parents, the coach played a role in the child discontinuing hockey. In a few cases, parents indicated the coach played "a strong" role in why their child quit or the coach had "everything" to do with why they stopped playing. Two parents were very specific indicating the "coach's attitude was 75% of the reason my kid quit" and "the coach was only concerned with winning which negatively impacted my son." Other participants had a concern with parents who coached their child's team and said, "all our previous coaches were only concerned with helping their own kids and their kids' friends, not the whole team."

Teammate's Role

The data revealed that 70% of participants (n = 102) indicated that teammates did not play a role in their child's decision to stop playing hockey. Two participants indicated that "my son really liked the other players" and "both my girls liked their teammates" when asked about the role their teammates had in their child discontinuing hockey. Close to 19% (n = 28) indicted that teammates contributed to their child's reason to discontinue hockey. For example, two parents stated "my son was teased a lot [by teammates]" and teammates were "mean and too competitive." Additionally, one parent stated, "Since the coach didn't require respect and discipline, the kids were little brats to a select few."

Discussion

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the organizational barriers and personal reasons youth discontinued sport participation. Furthermore, changes or recommendations that could be made to lead to continued involvement were also sought. Also, suggestions for future research will be provided as well as practical implications for sport administrators.

Attrition Age

The findings from our study revealed a much younger attrition age than previous research. The average attrition age of youth hockey players in this study was l0 years old compared to Ewing and Seefeldt's (1989) findings that attrition peaked at 13-14 years old. The average attrition age may be younger for hockey players due to many of the reasons the participants discussed including the extensive time, travel, and financial commitments that are required at young ages. Another alternative to the younger attrition age round in this study could reflect Wall and Cote (2007)'s findings that suggest youth who dropped out of hockey began their off-ice training at a younger age than those that continued playing hockey. Additional research should determine if this attrition trend is occurring in a variety of sports and the reasons a younger attrition age might be occurring. Perhaps other sports that have a younger attrition age also require too much time, travel commitments, or training at an early age.

Satisfied and Dissatisfied with the Youth Sport Organization

Parents indicated multiple reasons they and their children were both satisfied and dissatisfied with the youth sport organization. For instance, the findings revealed that the key factor the parents liked is youth had fun and enjoyed playing. Fun and enjoyment also was the key reason round by Ewing and Seefeldt (1989) for youth participating in sport. Another two factors that emerged from this study are the friendships that had formed while participating and learning skills. These factors participants enjoyed about the organization were similar to the motives Gould and Petlichkoff (1988) discussed in their motivational model of youth sport participation which include, learning new skills, fun, and affiliation reasons. Two additional factors that the hockey parents indicated they liked about the youth sport organization was that it was a well-run organization and that they enjoyed the personal and character development the sporting opportunity provided for their child. Organizational factors that influence participation were not discussed in Gould and Petlichkoff's model. Limited research has focused programmatic and organizational factors and more research should be conducted in this area.

Findings also revealed a number of factors participants disliked about the youth sport organization. For instance, parents indicated the top factors they disliked were: Too much time is required for participation and travel, it's too expensive, the practice times were too early or late, there is too much politics, and it is too competitive. Time commitment and an overemphasis on winning have been discussed as reasons youth withdraw from sport (see Weiss & Williams, 2004), but participants in this study emphasized too much competition as a deterrent instead of an overemphasis on winning. Perhaps hockey is even more competitive than other sports, but the difference between the over emphasis on competition and winning is unclear and further investigation into this topic could lead to better understanding of the difference between those two factors. The remainder of the factors (it is too expensive, too early or late practice times, and too much politics) maybe specific to hockey, as a high demand for indoor ice practice leads to higher costs and unusual practice time compared to other sports.

Reasons for Hockey Attrition

The top reasons participants indicated they discontinued hockey involvement are similar to what they disliked about the youth sport organization. The most frequent factors the participants disliked were: hockey takes too much time, they want to do other things/activities, financial reasons, it is not fun anymore, and there was a lack of interest/didn't like it. Gould and Petlichkoff's model discussed different attrition factors such as, failure to learn new skills, lack of affiliation, lack of thrills and excitement, lack of exercise and fitness, and no challenge/ failure, but similar to our study they indicated lack of fun as a reason for withdrawal. Similar to the findings in this study, Fraiser-Thomas, Cote, and Deakin (2008) found that swimmers dropped out when they did not have the opportunity to participate in other activities because of the large time commitment required to swim.

Likewise, Johns, Lindner, and Wolko (1990) indicated that over 65% of gymnasts who withdrew from sport provided time consuming reasons for withdrawal. Other reasons the gymnasts provided included losing interest in the sport, too much pressure, and the expense. Similar to this study that revealed financial reasons for discontinuing hockey, gymnastics also reported prohibitive costs. In addition to this study, other researchers have found that a key factor contributing to sport attrition is that the children wanted to do other things (Gould, Feltz, Horn, & Weiss, 1982; Knapp, 1999; Molinero, Salguero, Tuero, Alvarez, & Marquez, 2006). Specifically, Molinero et al (2006) found that having other things to do was the most important reason for youth sport attrition, whereas other important reasons found in their study included a dislike for the coach, perception of failure, and a lack of team atmosphere. This study also revealed that coaches and teammates can impact youth withdrawal from sport. The findings of this study as well as recent research by Fraiser-Thomas et al., Johns et al., and Molinero et al. suggest Gould and Petlichkoff's model should be revised.

Limitations and Further Research

Exploratory research, by nature, has limitations and one of the limitations of this study is that only parents were surveyed to gain information about why their child/children did hot return to play hockey. Perhaps the child did not communicate the exact reason they did not want to continue and as a result the findings may not accurately reflect the child's perceptions. It also could be likely that parents' perceptions differed from their child's regarding why they did not want to continue participation. In the future, further research should be conducted on attrition reasons in youth hockey to confirm the results of this investigation. The current study should also be extended by including both parents and their child to determine if they indicate the same attrition reasons.

Other areas need additional examination beyond this. As revealed by other researchers and this study, Gould and Petlichkoff's model needs revision. Furthermore, few studies have asked participants for their recommendations regarding what changes need to occur if young athletes are to return to the sport participation and more work is needed in this area. Also, future research should explore organizational barriers to youth sport participation because few studies examine these barriers. Gaining a better understanding of organizational barriers is an important part to implementing informed programmatic changes in any sport organization, and could be important in improving the experiences of youth athletes.

Practical Implications and Recommendations for Youth Sport Administrators

The findings of this study provide a better understanding of practical implications that youth sport organizations and other sport administrators could use to retain youth participants or influence their return to participation. First, the top four of the five factors that participants indicated they disliked about the youth sport organization (too much time is required for participation and travel, it's too expensive, too competitive, and practice times are too early or late) can all be addressed through programmatic changes. Administrators should provide recreational opportunities for youth participants that require less participation time and travel, as currently few opportunities for youth exist with lower levels of commitment. Likewise, recreational opportunities for youth should be affordable and offered during reasonable hours. This would allow youth to participate in sport two or three times a week, but still allow time to be involved in other activities. Furthermore, based on the findings, youth sport programs should be less focused on competition, with a stronger emphasis on fun and enjoyment, developing friendships, as well as personal, character, and skill development. The administrators of youth sport often only offer competitive skill development opportunities that focus on winning, practice four to five times a week, and travel to competitions on weekends. The findings from this study reveal a demand for less intense youth sport opportunities and youth sport administrators need to adapt their programs to reflect this interest.

In addition, youth sport organizations should continue to enhance coaching education programs to improve youth coaching and leadership. Even though this study indicated that close to 68% of the participants whose child stopped playing hockey indicated the coach had little-to-no influence on their decision to not continue playing hockey, the coach influenced approximately one-third of participants. Molinero and colleagues (2006) found that the coach was the second most discussed reason for attrition in young athletes in a number of different sports. Furthermore, other researchers have suggested that coaches can have a strong influence on whether or not youth dropout of sport (Scanlan & Lewthwaite, 1988). As such, an emphasis on quality coaching and coaching education should be a priority for youth sport programmers.

To conclude, a critical finding in this study is that once youth leave the sport, few return. This provides evidence that youth sport organizations need to take a proactive approach to increase participation and decrease attrition rather than a reactive approach. More specifically, youth sport organizations should spend their time and resources examining how their programmatic offerings and other factors such as access to facilities, fees, travel, and competition level offerings may contribute to youth attrition. Once this has occurred, the organizations should determine how these factors can be modified to enhance participation opportunities for youth.

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Suzannah Mork Armentrout and Cindra S. Kamphoff

Minnesota State University

Address Correspondence to: Suzanna Armentrout, Department of Human Performance, 1400 Highland Center, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN 56001. E-mail: suzannah.armentrout@mnsu.edu
I have been a hockey mom for the past 20 years, and the program has
   given my children an opportunity to belong, exercise, learn a
   sport, learn how to participate as a team member, learn how to lose
   with pride, and sportsmanship.


The amount of time required to participate. It was bad enough
   having practice or games every day of every weekend, from basically
   November to March, when our son was in the youngest group, then
   when he moved up to an older level, it became four days a week.
   That was too much.


Participation in hockey meant he could not participate in school
   activities like ski club, plays, or other sports. By [age] 12 the
   expectation was [to practice] 6-7 nights per week and participate
   in summer development programs and leagues, although officially,
   other sport were encouraged.


It was mainly a parental decision. The competition level is pushed
   too far at too young of an age. The time commitment was
   unreasonable and there was unreasonable financial commitment. There
   was also a lack of an opportunity to play in a recreational league
   and the politics related to the local hockey association were
   awful.


At his age he enjoys the social aspects more than the sport, and he
   may always be like that. He likes to skate, but not 6 days a week.
   Maybe a program geared toward a casual hockey player with a focus
   on enjoyment rather than one where everyone is trying to be the
   best player.

   Our son already wants to return to hockey, but we are unwilling
   given the crushing schedule that goes with it. If the time
   commitment were reasonable, we might consider it. The cost is also
   prohibitive, at least for many, so that would need to be improved
   too.


Table 1. Parental Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction with the Youth
Sport Organization

                                           Dissatisfied with the
    Satisfied with the Organization             Organization

1   Fun & enjoyment (n =45)           1 Too much time & travel (n= 53)
2   Friendships (n = 42)              2 Too expensive (n = 33)
3   Personal & character              3 Too early or late practice
      development (n = 35)              times (n =17)
4   Well run organization (n= 29)     4 Too much politics (n= 17)
5   Learning skills and how           5 Too competitive (n = 14)
      to play  (n = 28)

Table 2. Reasons for Discontinuing Participation

Reasons for Quitting Hockey

1  Too much time (N = 37)

2  Wants to do other things/activities (N = 30)

3  Financial (N = 22)

4  Not fun anymore (N = 16)

5  Lack of interest/didn't like it (N = 14)

Table 3. Recommendations That Could Lead to Continued Organizational
Involvement

Recommendations for Continued Involvement

1 It is too late/nothing (N= 37)

2 More affordable (N = 31)

3 Less time commitment (N = 28)

4 More recreational opportunity/focus on fun (N = 16)

5 Better management/leadership/coaching (N= 14)
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