According to a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, around 70 percent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because “it’s just not fun anymore.”
In a different study, nine of 10 kids said "fun" is the main reason they participate. When asked to define fun, they offered up 81 reasons. “Winning” came in at #48. Young girls gave “winning” the lowest ratings. Six out of 10 kids said they quit sports because they lost interest.
Participation in youth baseball and softball, in particular, has declined 1-2 percent every year, says Patrick Wilson, Little League’s senior vice president of operations. “There is a generation of parents now that don’t have a connection to the game because they didn’t play it themselves, and if you didn’t play, you’re less likely to go out in the back yard and have a catch.”
Even some people inside of baseball admit that baseball isn’t the most exciting sport to play or watch as Andrew Pollak writes in Inside Pitch, “Time to face the truth. The best game can become boring.” In fact, a typical three-hour long MLB contains just under 18 minutes of actual playing time. Attend a youth baseball or softball game and you’ll be hard pressed to experience even half of that. This is an unfortunate reality.
After years of observing youth ballplayers wandering off in thought during games, Chris Dahlander, Commissioner of Runner Gunner Slugger Worldwide, asked his kids why they enjoyed playing video games more than baseball and softball. “Because the game never slows down,” his daughter replied.
The bulk of the camper’s time will be spent playing a game called the “Five-Pitch Challenge” (5PC) which can loosely be described as a “hitting extravaganza and fielding merry-go-‘round”that keeps the player’s attention. Dahlander promises, no one will be heard yelling, “baseball ready!”
When Campers aren’t playing 5PC, they get to make diving catches onto a thick gymnastics pad, slide into home head-first using a sliding mat, play the eternal game of Pickle, as well as develop their hitting, fielding, and bunting skills.
“Quite frankly, the other problem with youth sports are the parents,” said Dahlander. “Without a doubt they mean well, but they just don’t realize how much pressure they put on their player.” That’s why Dahlander is live-streaming this event on his Youtube channel and posting scores at the end of the day to the website. “Parents will generally know how their player is performing, but still give everyone plenty to talk about at the dinner table,” quipped Dahlander.
“My mission was to create an event for kids that competed with video games for their loyalty. I believe that even those who aren’t baseball junkies will be repeat campers because it’s just fun. Epic fun,” Dahlander noted.
ABOUT RUNNER GUNNER SLUGGER 5-DAY SUMMER CAMP FOR YOUTH BASEBALL & SOFTBALL
The Dallas camp runs August 3-7, 2020 for baseball players and August 10-14, 2020 for softball players of all skill levels between ages 9 and 14. Each day is three action-packed hours of fun designed for kids. $249 per player and is limited to 40 players per session. Registration closes next Saturday, Aug 1, 2020. More information can be obtained at www.RunnerGunner.com or by emailing email@example.com
ABOUT CHRIS DAHLANDER
Dahlander is the founder of Snappy Salads, a fast-casual restaurant hyper-focused on salads. Started in 2006, Snappy Salads was the pioneer in the “better-for-you” segment and has a mission to leave this world healthier than the way we found it. Dahlander grew Snappy Salads to 14 locations in the DFW metroplex. In October, 2019, the company merged with MAD Greens, based out of Golden, CO, to form the Salad Collective where Dahlander is a board member. Dahlander is married with two children.