Try Using DialMyCalls Right Now

Start For Free

Get some help from one of our Customer Experience Specialists:


7 days a week

“I am a youth minister and have spent hours in the past calling students individually to remind them of an upcoming event or to get out an urgent announcement. With, I cut that time down to about 1 minute. I also love how I can see exactly who answered live and how long they listened so I know if they heard the whole message. is the best website I have stumbled upon all year! Thanks!”

Central Baptist Church

Try Using DialMyCalls Right Now

Start For Free

Get some help from one of our Customer Experience Specialists:


7 days a week

9 Ways to Encourage Participation in Sports at Your School

Posted by Tim Smith in Schools on December 27, 2018

9 Ways to Encourage Participation in Sports at Your School

If you’re a coach, athletic director, or any other member of school faculty with an interest in increasing athletic participation at your school, you may be wondering how you can do so. How can you encourage kids and their parents to join up, and participate in more school athletics programs?

If your athletics participation rates are low, or you’re otherwise struggling to get students involved in athletics, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the best tips you can use to increase participation in school athletics.

Why Do Kids Lose Interest in Sports

Children’s interest in sports can wane for various reasons, reflecting changes in their preferences, external pressures, or experiences. Here are five common reasons why kids might lose interest in sports:

  • Lack of Enjoyment – If children are not having fun or enjoying the sport, their interest will naturally decline. The fun factor is crucial for kids; if practices or games become too serious, overly competitive, or if the sport does not match their interests, they may start to disengage.
  • Too Much Pressure – Pressure from coaches, parents, or even peers to perform well can be overwhelming for children. When sports stop being about enjoyment and personal achievement and start focusing too much on winning or being the best, the excessive stress can lead to burnout and a loss of interest.
  • Over-Scheduling – Kids today often have schedules packed with various activities, including sports, academic commitments, and other extracurriculars. The lack of free time or feeling over-scheduled can lead to exhaustion and a desire to drop some activities, sports being one of the first due to their demanding nature in terms of time and energy.
  • Lack of Progress – Children might become discouraged if they feel they are not improving, especially if they see their peers progressing faster. This perceived lack of progress, whether in skill development, understanding of the game, or physical growth, can dampen their enthusiasm and commitment to the sport.
  • Shift in Interests – As children grow and develop, their interests can change. What was appealing at one age may not hold the same allure as they get older. They might discover new hobbies or sports that better align with their evolving identities or simply wish to allocate their time and energy differently as they explore various aspects of their personalities and capabilities.

How to Encourage Students to Participate in Sports

Winning - Top 6 Tips to Increase Participation in School Athletics

1. Try to Develop a Winning Program – or at Least a Competitive One

If your team loses every event, game, or meet that it participates in, this is going to take a toll on team spirit – and a vicious cycle will occur, where talented athletes may choose to leave the team altogether. They may even join club teams that are not affiliated with your school, to ensure that they can participate in a more competitive program.

As you lose top talent, your results will suffer – and the cycle will continue. So it’s important to break this cycle at the source. We know that developing a winning sports program is not as easy as just snapping your fingers – but your staff should make it a point to try to be competitive, and provide talented athletes with an opportunity to show off their skills.

Coaches - Top 6 Tips to Increase Participation in School Athletics

2. Choose the Right Coaches

Kids don’t want to feel intimidated or afraid of their coaches. So while it’s important to try to develop a competitive, winning program, it’s equally important to make sure you hire coaches who can do this in a healthy way.

Text Messaging for Schools

Keep Students & Parents Fully Informed

Your coaches need to be supporting your students and helping them improve, not criticizing them or treating them poorly. A culture of intimidation can lead to students quitting athletics programs, and increased stress.

So try to make sure your coaching staff understands that the goal of your sports program should be more than just to win – it’s to help build up each student, through the power of sports and athletics.

Respect - Top 6 Tips to Increase Participation in School Athletics

3. Respect the Time Your Students Have to Spend on Extracurricular Activities

A study by the University of Wisconsin

found that one of the main things that caused students to avoid participating in athletics was not the belief that they lacked physical ability or self-confidence.

While these were contributing factors to low sports program participation, the primary reason behind some students avoiding sports programs was the pressure to participate in other clubs and arts programs – as well as trying to keep up with their daily load of school work.

What does this mean for coaches and those attempting to increase athletic participation in their schools? For one thing, it means that you may want to take steps to decrease the amount of time that students have to spend on athletics – shortening practices or scheduling them at a more convenient time may help.

It also means that you have to emphasize the benefits of sports at your school more effectively, to make them an appealing option for students who may be on the fence about participating.

Boost Attendance - Top 6 Tips to Increase Participation in School Athletics

4. Get Non-Athletes Involved, And Make Sure You Boost Attendance

No athlete likes turning to the bleachers and seeing only a few people scattered throughout the stands. Part of the joy of athletics is the ability to show off your prowess and abilities before your peers and others, and to feel a sense of accomplishment. So do your best to get other students to attend games and support their peers.

You could even consider implementing a program to help boost attendance – such as giving game attendees raffle tickets, which may reward them with cash and other prizes at the end of the year. The more games they come to, the better their chances are of winning!

Involve Community - Top 6 Tips to Increase Participation in School Athletics

5. Market Your Games And Events To The Community

Students shouldn’t be the only ones who come to your games. You should do your best to market all of your events and sports programs in the community at-large. A few ways to do this include:

  • Making sure scores and match details are reported to local newspapers and blogs after every game.
  • Using an SMS broadcasting and voice messaging service like DialMyCalls to send out event reminders and game information to students, athletes, their families, and other folks who regularly attend games.
  • Using social media like Facebook and Twitter to promote upcoming matches and events.
  • Creating calendars, schedules and posters to promote each team and their events throughout the year.
  • Working with local stores and retailers to sell branded merchandise for your school and team – make sure everyone knows your logo.
  • Participating in community service and charitable projects to make sure your athletes engage with the local community.

Do your best to promote all of your sporting programs – not just the most successful ones! By increasing attendance and community engagement across the board, you can make your athletics programs much more attractive to students, and ensure their success.

Recruit - Top 6 Tips to Increase Participation in School Athletics

6. Work to Recruit Individual Students Into Athletics Programs

One of the best things about athletics programs is that there’s something for everyone. From swimming and tennis, soccer, baseball, track and cross country, to bowling and other sports, every student can find a program that will help them grow as a person, and connect with their peers.

So focus on finding kids in your school who could benefit from the power of these programs, strike up conversations with them, and do what you can to recruit them into an athletics program. Some kids just need an extra “push,” to join up. Be kind and understanding – not overbearing – and you’re sure to connect with your students, and encourage them to participate in athletics.

Health - School Sports

7. Promote Physical and Mental Health Benefits

Emphasize the significant physical and mental health advantages of participating in sports, such as improved fitness, stress relief, and the development of resilience and mental toughness. Highlighting these benefits can motivate students who are looking for ways to enhance their well-being and manage academic pressures. By framing sports participation as a key component of a healthy lifestyle, students may be more inclined to get involved.

Culture - School Sports

8. Create an Inclusive Team Culture

Developing a team culture that values diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect can attract a broader range of students. Make sure all students, regardless of their skill level or athletic ability, feel welcome and valued by the team. Hosting team-building activities and fostering an environment where everyone’s contributions are recognized can help in creating a sense of belonging. An inclusive culture encourages students to join for the social aspects and community, even if they are not the most athletically inclined.

Variety - School Sports

9. Offer a Variety of Sports Options

Providing a wide range of sports can cater to diverse interests and abilities, allowing students to find something that resonates with them. Introduce less traditional or emerging sports alongside conventional options to pique interest. Offering intramural or club sports with varying levels of competitiveness can also appeal to students who may be intimidated by the commitment or intensity of varsity teams. This variety ensures that students can find a sport that matches their interest level, physical ability, and schedule.

Follow These Tips – Get More Kids to Participate in Your Athletics Programs!

Encouraging student participation in sports requires a strategic approach that blends competitive success with an inclusive and supportive environment. Key to this is developing a competitive sports program that motivates students by fostering team spirit and showcasing athletic prowess, while also ensuring that coaches create a nurturing atmosphere that values improvement and personal growth over intimidation. Recognizing and accommodating the busy lives of students by offering flexible practice schedules and highlighting the comprehensive benefits of engaging in sports—such as enhanced physical health, mental well-being, and the development of crucial life skills—can make sports programs more appealing. Furthermore, efforts to include non-athletes, effective marketing to the community, and personalized recruitment strategies play vital roles in increasing participation and building a supportive audience, thereby enriching the sports culture within the school.

Increase Your Student Sports Participation With DialMyCalls

With the power of DialMyCalls’ school alert system you can help encourage students to participate in school sports. In conjunction with the tips mentioned in this article, DialMyCalls can help send out messages to try to develop a winning program, choose the right coaches, respect your students’ time, get non-athletes involved, market your games, recruit individual students, promote physical and mental health benefits, create an inclusive team culture, offer a variety of sports options. Get started today by signing up for a free DialMyCalls account.

School Communication That Actually Works

From Classroom Reminders to Snow-Day Cancellations, Keep Everyone in The Loop