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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW: Study Dispels Myths About What Makes Youth Sports Fun for Kids

A new study by Dr. Amanda J. Visek, an associate professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the George Washington Milken Institute School of Public Health, looked at what makes organized sports fun for kids. The study, published November 14, dispels the popular myth that what makes sports the most fun for girls are the social aspects, like friendships, while for boys the fun factor has to do with competition.

“Our data indicate girls and boys are more similar than different when it comes to what makes playing sports fun,” Dr. Visek said. “What counts most for girls and boys are things like ‘trying your best,’ ‘working hard,’ ‘staying active,’ and ‘playing well together as a team.’ These findings are the same for athletes at younger and older ages and across recreational and more competitive levels of play.”

Dr. Visek’s study is a follow-up to the original research she and her colleagues at the Milken Institute SPH previously conducted that engaged soccer players ages eight to 19 in concept mapping all of the determinants that make playing sports fun for players. The resultant maps, called FUN MAPS, uncovered 81 fun-determinants within 11 fun-factors. This new study took a closer look at that data and found that, among the 81 determinants of fun, ‘winning’ ranked No. 40 in importance, scoring farther down on the list than many might have guessed.

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