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Loyalty, Does it Exist in Youth Sports Anymore?

Job hoppers, gym/team hoppers have a lot more in common in today’s society than we thought as I asked: “why is it so common for everyone to jump around nowadays?”

As I looked back, I came across an article that referenced the 1950’s. In those days, young adults either graduated and found a job or enrolled in the military.  If they found employment in their early 20’s, they usually stayed with the same company until retirement. It was the local factory or the big corporation in town, i.e., the phone company, car manufacturer where everyone was employed.

Coming from a generation that experienced the great depression and world war 2, it made complete sense that people valued certainty/security, thus were not be risk takers. They were grateful for the fact that they had employment and can put food on the table. At that time, most men were the breadwinners while their partners stayed home to tend to the house and children. That was the way society depicted the American family and for most, that is just the way it was.

Fast forward to the year 2016 and what to do you see?

People are inundated with too much information. The internet at our fingers has us bouncing around from one thing to another and lures us to job hop and move frequently.

To give you an idea; according to a survey statistics on employee loyalty, retention, and engagement, the results are far from the mindset of the 1950’s era.
  •     $11 billion lost due to employee turnover (Bloomberg)
  •     Total turnover of 2014: 15.7% (Compensation Force)
  •     Each year a company loses 20-50% of its employee base (Bain & Company)
  •     33% of women are engaged with their employers, 28% of men (Gallup)
  •     Almost 50% of organizations fail to measure employees’ engagement with the customer or the brand (Edelman)
  •     Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged (Cvent)
  •     31% say they changed jobs in the past three years (Gallup)
  •     Companies that increase their number of talented managers and double the rate of engaged employees achieve, on average, 147% higher earnings per share than their competition (Gallup)

These stats blew me away. In a time where we are so technologically connected, ironically, it is the one thing we are missing socially. Moreover, I noticed a pattern as I asked how is this relevant when compared to our youth sports organizations of today?

Well, 20 or so years ago kids didn’t leave their team or gym hop like they do today. There were not multiple gyms or organizations; there was usually one in your area that you went to, and they stressed camaraderie, team spirit and loyalty to your team, coaches, and organization.

So what is missing today that makes 70% of kids leave their sport by the time they are 13, or leave one group to go to another? Sure we can say, other interests, puberty, too much pressure or it was just time to move on.

Consequently, are we as parents, modeling the fact that if we do not like the situation we are in to leave? That the grass is greener on the other side? Or is it because the current environment that a child athlete may be in is “disengaged, no longer fun or isn’t nurturing to their physical and mental growth?

Think about it; employee retention has a lot to do with athlete retention and if you have an organization where you are turning over a lot of athletes start to ask WHY? And then begin to come up with reasons to engage positively with your current customers, athletes, and parents.

It takes more effort, time and money to recruit a new employee and the same goes for team members.
Start adding to your annual business/marketing plans ways to engage in your current team athletes and watch what happens.

Five ways to engage:
  • Fostering a fun and nurturing learning environment (goal setting, team building and celebrating milestones are all part of the process).
  • Hold regular meetings with staff, parents, and athletes- engaging and clearly communicating your intentions.
  • Have simple and clear mission and vision statements that all involved understand. An updated team handbook is an excellent way to start.
  • Get to know your athletes and understand their individual needs/goals and try to meet them.
  • Be encouraging and supportive by realizing that athletes learn by example. Coaching and mentoring go hand in hand.

The bottom line is most young athletes just want to belong, they want to be acknowledged for their efforts and want to please their coaches, parents and overall feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

By fostering a positive learning environment and engaging in the team, most kids will want to stay for the long haul and others will wish to join because of the positive energy that surrounds them. It doesn’t take much to build up a team and have others realize that sometimes the grass may not be better on the other side; sometimes you just need to water it.


b-jodiJodi Brichta-Coyne is a small business consultant, lifestyle coach, Author and Speaker. Her book “Are you still there God? It’s me, Jodi” is available for download on Amazon and is self-help book for mid-life women in transition. She is married, a mother of 2 and enjoys writing about the challenges women face today trying to find balance between being a mother, wife, business owner and a supportive sports parent.  She is also the co-founder/owner of Gold medal moms. contact Jodi at or visit

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