Years ago

The Basket Case

Lots of times I have seen people on Hoops claiming that "the sport is dead" or basketball is dieing etc. Plenty of times I have refuted that with the idea that you cannot just claim the NBL is the sport.

Yesterday, the ABS released their latest sports data, showing participation for children aged 5-14 in organised sport, recreational and cultural activities.

Basketball remains in the top five participated junior sports in Australia, with surveyed participation at just over 220,000 (in this age group). Helpfully the ABS released comparative data from 2006/2009 as well. All data up until April this year.

Here is a quick summary of the top five:

2006 2009 2012 Part Rate
Swimming/Diving 462.5 502.9 492.1 17.7
Soccer (outdoor) 351.1 360.4 397.6 14.3
AFL 200.4 235.1 226.5 8.1
Netball 225.8 228.5 222.7 8.0
Basketball 176.3 201.9 220.2 7.9

Here are my grains of salt:

- It's a survey, so parents would for example include auskick, which is by far the biggest come'n try program in Aussie sport, in their responses so AFL might be skewed more than others (they answer legitimately but we know that in the Northern states very few auskickers go on to play AFL).
- Swimming is always skewed for me. the definition is "organised sport" and I think kids have to participate multiple times - no way this is happening in these numbers unless its school based

The participation rate is the percentage of the population of 5-14 year olds (2.8 million) actually doing this sport.

Other gems include the response that about 1/3 of those basketballers participate more than 52 times per year. Second highest number to swimming and soccer - but by far the highest percentage. Around 1/4 of the swimmers and soccer players participate more than 52 times per year.

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Years ago

AFL cleverly use Auskick enrolments to justify the amount of $ tipped in by the Fed to AFL. This data is definitely skewed by that questionable behaviour and IMO should be discounted. once a kid is tagged by Auskick they are then deemed as a participant, even though they may have only been involved for a 5 minute session.

BA are their own enemies here as they have done such a poor job of collecting data. No one should be able to play on ay court without their data being captured. That is what soccer and netball do and they reap the benefits with Fed $. Every player should be registered on a national database for a nominal fee.

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Years ago

So if AFL use Auskick participants in their numbers, surely BA use Aussie Hoops participants in theirs?

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Years ago

OK. BJF. The above data is not the sports data. It is survey data by ABS direct to parents. I used AFL as an example as I would be pretty certain a parent would not differentiate between doing Auskick and playing AFL when asked "what organised sport does your child do?"

Very little of Fed Gov funding is tied to participation figures. BA got 500k for 3 years in participation funding a couple of years back. At the time AFL got 750 for their version of touch footy on which they had NO data. Football got less than BA from memory. Gymnastics got a mint at the time but have comparatively small participation.

Vart. My understanding is that BA do not include Aussie Hoops data in their participation figures. Neither do Rugby League.

All of the above data will have some element of come 'n try numbers in it - AFL would be most skewed considering how massive Auskick is.

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Years ago

Would be interesting to see the data for the next age group up and how drastic the drop-off is.

From my anecdotal observation it seems there is a huge drop out rate after about U14s...

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Years ago

different set of data Mick, completely different.

Every sport has drop-off after 14-15 years.

The importance of this data is that Basketball is growing in real terms in this age group as well as maintaining its share of the market.

Of the top five here, Swimming, AFL and Netball have all declined since 2009.

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Years ago

Yeah I was going to mention that, but I noticed (again just from my own observations), that kids were leaving basketball FOR other sports, not the other way around...

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Years ago

I think you will find most parents make their kids take swimming lessons each week (I did), to learn how to swim and make sure they don't drown when around water. This is more of a safety decision given the Aussie lifestyle.

This generally only lasts to they are about 10 years old and very few of these continue "swimming as a sport" after they are competent swimmers.

If you are messing around socially at a pool, I wouldnt consider that swimming as a sport, although they are still "participating" in swimming, which could make figures misleading.

Remember one of the most participated "sports" for adults is fishing, as most people would have tried it at some point. This doesn't mean they enter fishing competitions or even do it regularly.

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Years ago

Kids around 15 leave sports for a number of reasons, they get jobs, girlfriends, lose passion, don't get recognised by coaches or the club they are in. In any sport you need commitment and be prepared to work damn hard. Homework also a factor as kids getting ready for uni. By u /23 there's a handful left - most are by now only playing social sports for fitness and fun, not the pressure and politics, that's the reality folks!!!

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There isn't the same money in Basketball as there is in AFL.

Why have to earn a living and then play pro ball in the NBL when you can earn $300,000 in the AFL, just by playing sport.....
The money just is not there.
And the pathway is a bigger barrier in Basketball.

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Years ago

Peter - we also put all of our kids through swimming lessons at the local pools until they were about 11-12. But there is also surf lifesaving, whcih is quite popular in coastal areas. I suspect the ABS survey form would not distinguish that from pool-based swimming. That would help to boost swimming's numbers.

HO - the survey covers participation in out-of-school-hours sporting activities, so the school based swimming is excluded (but depends on the respondents' interpretations, of course). As a parent, I wouldn't have included the week of school-based swimming and aquatic activities that our kids do each year, if filling in this survey. Nor would I include participation in special interest sporting programs (like volleyball, netball, gymnastics) that operate in some schools.

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Years ago

Yeh i quit playing b-ball when I was around 14 in U16s to take up footy because there were more opportunities with it. A lot of people I knew did the same thing. Unless you're physically gifted basketball is just soo hard to make it anywhere.

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Years ago

I hear ya anonymous. I quit bball in under 16s cause I wasnt physically gifted but I was very skilful. Footy was a better choice for me cause the coaches saw my skills not my height. One day theyll wake up when theres noone good left to play point guards

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Callisto 83  
Years ago

I don't think kids quit a sport to play another, as they get older and school commitments increase, social commitments increase.
life gets busier the older you get, then they must decrease the number of sports they participate in.
This in itself greatly inflates the figures we call drop off rates.
As for footy,18 positions vs 5 positions is always going to be a more attractive option.
Just because kids don't play district anymore that also doesn't mean they quit basketball, there are many social competitions around Australia, I wonder if these are in any statistics for basketball?
I haven't heard of any social football or swimming comps for instance, but there could be?

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