Date of Award

Summer 7-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Exercise Science



First Advisor

Brian Serrano

Second Advisor

Denise Howard


Sports participation has the potential to positively impact a young athlete’s physical, mental, and social health. Although some athletes have positive experience with sports, many choose to leave sports for a number of reasons. Sport participation has been on a decline in both the United States and Minnesota over the past 10 years. The purpose of this study was to understand the motives as to why experienced athletes decided to quit sports. Minnesotan adolescents aged 12-17 who quit sports after at least three years of participation were the subjects for this study. Thirty-two adolescents participated in a 20-question Likert-scale survey, and three adolescents participated in open-ended interviews. Survey data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and conditional probability, while the interviews were hand transcribed and coded for themes. Results from the surveys identified that time commitment, finding other activities to pursue, and stress and nervousness were the most prevalent in athletes who quit sports. The interviews identified five themes to leaving sports: athletes found other activities to pursue, athletes had a lack of enjoyment, sports involved too much time commitment, athletes did not feel good enough to play their sport, and the team environment was negative. Findings from this study can be used to encourage positive coaching strategies, encourage positive team cultures, show the importance of positive sport psychology techniques, and encourage organizations to look into time commitment constraints.