Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Increased Youth Participation in Ultimate

Last month, The Boston Globe published an article praising the benefits of ultimate - both in popularity and with stellar quotes. Radio Lab's podcast 'American Football' cites similar sentiments regarding football's decline. Local ultimate clubs should take note to start (or continue) youth-specific ultimate events and/or leagues.

Here are some choice snippets:

Why does Henry like Ultimate?  "He says 'we don't have refs and there's a lot more running around."

[Ultimate is described as] "an awesome" sport that combines "athleticism, good attitude, and fun" by Dean Ranzo.

Ultimate Frisbee is the game of choice for Gillian Epstein's children. Her 13-year-old son has been playing for a few years, and this year her 9-year-old daughter signed up as well. "I appreciate that Ultimate is relaxed, all-inclusive, and very positive. We were thrilled that the program agreed to take younger ages this summer, and my daughter loves it — it was the only team sport she was willing to consider."

On the list of 11 sports charted in the article, the number of participants aged 6- to 12-year-olds in the sport of ultimate (439,000) is the highest compared to the other 4 sports with an increase in participation. Ultimate- as a team sport - ranks 7th in participation (as of 2014) and ranks 5th in increased participation (since 2007).  Since 2007, participation in ultimate by 6-12 y.o. has increased nearly 25% with 87,000 more participants.

See below for a condensed chart on the five team sports with increased participation by 6-12 year olds. SFIA considered racquetball and squash as "team" sports.

This trend is nothing new for USA Ultimate. USAU has experienced 12 consecutive years of growth in youth memberships - considered to be under 19. (Youth members are allowed to participate in USAU sanctioned Youth Division events.)
Youth Membership Growth [USAU Annual Report 2014

From the article: Just 40 percent of children ages 6 to 12 played team sports on a regular basis in 2013, down from 44.5 percent in 2008, according to the [Aspen Institute] report, which cited statistics from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Football has seen the steepest decline, but participation has also fallen in baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball. Meanwhile, more kids are playing racquetball, ice hockey, lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee, and squash. 

Read the entire article.

RELATED: Ultimate had over 5 million participants per SFIA in 2012.

1 comment:

Christy said...

Thanks for posting this Michael!