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Grassroots Committee Membership Surveys and Questionnaires - Phase II & III
BCMBA Association President
In 2016, a widely published report in the United States stated that 70% of kids were leaving sports by 13 years of age. This statement was a red flag for all youth sports organizations. In the last decade, Canadian team sports show mixed participation rates for children and youth: some increase; some decrease; some about the same. In 2001, baseball across Canada had about 270,000 players. It reached a low point in 2010 at about 90,000 and has since grown to about 130,000 in the last 10 years. Hockey has about 800,000 players; soccer about 700,000 and youth basketball has grown about 20% per year in the last several years. Baseball does not seem to be keeping pace with other sports in player numbers or retention.
The BCMBA Grassroots Committee has been reviewing our membership player affiliation numbers of the past number of years with a slight year over year declines. To our knowledge there has not been any prior research identified possible reasons and strategies for baseball to respond, there has not been direct input from the BCMBA member organizations, that is, the coaches, players and players themselves. BCMBA Grassroots Committee is undertaking the task to better understand the needs and attitudes of youth players by conducting research among the coaches, parents and players. The long term objective of the survey, questionnaires and conversations is to better understand youth players’ motivations for playing baseball and their reasons for discontinuing playing and to develop recommendations for action by BCMBA on behalf of our members.
Many factors influence playing sport. Some of these are external (societal trends, lifestyle, family for example) about which baseball associations can do little in isolation. However, some reasons for stopping playing are internal to the sport. The surveys focuses on baseball specific issues to give guidance as to actions member organizations can take to encourage more players to keep playing baseball.
At this juncture, there is a need for introspection – we don’t know for sure where we are: we need to find out. Parents and their children are discerning, selective participants in sports. So, change is always with us: change is always an outcome of any endeavor. It happens naturally, but if change is to happen with direction and purpose, it requires information derived from purposeful reflection.
It is our intention to begin gathering information by talking to and interviewing three groups in BC Minor Baseball’s membership: coaches, players and parents. Information from these three groups, supported by the work and thinking of others (researchers and sports organizers) will all combine to provide valuable information to BCMBA about baseball for our membership.
Phase I has been completed the 2020 surveys and in-person interviews with BCMBA coaches just prior to the Provincial PHO shutting down our sport when COVID safety guidelines were enforced.
Now that baseball we hope, will be moving to traditional programming we are looking at moving to Phase II & III which involve the players and parents. The pandemic has been problematic for all sports; this is on-going without a defined
ending. The impact of the pandemic has presented an unprecedented opportunity to learn and grow sports accordingly. New questions arising from return to play procedures from both player and parent perspectives need to be analyzed.
Essentially questions for both players and parents will center on the motivation to overcome barriers to play, and, similarly the lack of motivation to overcome barriers for those who did not return to play in 2021. The findings from these answers should inform BC Minor Baseball about focus points for consideration, to be included, in any future change process to accommodate the growth of baseball registrants in BC.
We are looking for players and/or parents within your local membership to participate in this survey. The committee is looking for a vast cross-section of parents and players: grassroots to high performance; 5U to 18U; members that are new to baseball, long time participants or maybe those that have quit the sport that would like to offer reasoning.
BCMBA is looking to begin surveys the last week of January and continue into March. Any interested participants can contact me directly.
If you have any questions, please contact:
1st Vice President
Cc: Steve Coleman