So Your Kid Wants to Quit Their Sport Mid-Season?

You may have sensed something was wrong. It’s mid season and your child’s enthusiasm for their sport is just POOF–gone.

They want to quit.

What’s a parent to do? Well, first, be ok. Quitting a youth sport is very common. The real question is: should you allow it in the middle of the season?

One View: Finish What you Start

Most parents will agree that, in theory, once you start something, you should finish it. For instance, lack of playing time, boredom and poor team performances are no reasons to walk away in the middle of the season. BUT, it’s not always that black and white.

The Gray Area

What if the youth coach has little control over the team, and the kids are constantly goofing around? I had this happen one season with my son’s 8-year old baseball team. During the game, kids would constantly leave the dugout, abuse the equipment and even say inappropriate things to one another. It was extremely frustrating for my son, who loved the game and wanted to truly focus on his performance.

In this case, we spoke to him about setting a good example and grinding through the season. We wouldn’t let him quit in the middle of the year. However, we immediately looked for another team and another league as soon as the season was through.

Another common occurrence in youth sports that may lead to a desire to quit mid-season is overscheduling. It can happen at both the athlete and family level.

You may be a month or so into the season and start feeling the stress. Did you bite off more than you can chew? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s what you ultimately decide together.

One thing you may want to consider when quitting in the middle of the year is what will happen to the team. What is roster size of this group? What if you are on a basketball team with only six or seven players, or a baseball team with 10 or 11? That’s a lot different than being on a team where the roster is large enough that your child’s absence will make a minimal impact.

This is especially true if you are considering letting your child quit mid-season on a team that includes his classmates, friends or neighbors. You don’t want to leave the team in a bad situation if you can help it.

Legit Reasons to Quit Mid-Season

As a parent, I always want my child to finish what they started. However, if you are facing a situation where the line has been crossed, then it’s time to consider the possibility of leaving the team. One example is player bullying. Another is an abusive coach.

Before you pack the tent, it’s best to confront the problems with the appropriate person. If your child is being bullied, or is witnessing it, chat with the coach. If the situation doesn’t get better, then escalate the matter to a school, club or league official, depending on the structure of your child’s team.

Same goes if you have a problem with the coach. Go to them first, and if issues aren’t resolved, then go to the appropriate school, club or league administrator. If you still don’t get an acceptable response, then quitting mid-season becomes a very viable option.

Talk it Out with Your Kid

Talk it out. If your child shows signs of wanting to quit, the very first thing to do is have a candid conversation with them. Often times, they may not tell you the real reason at first. You may have to put in a good deal of listening and do some probing to find out what’s actually going on. But trust me. It will be time well spent and, hopefully, you can figure it out together in enough time to save the season – or at least win a life lesson in the process.

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