Basketball a key driver in getting youngsters active says Sport England survey

Basketball plays a bigger role in helping children and young people be active than any team sport other than football.

That is the finding of Sport England's second annual Active Lives Survey.

The study shows more than a million youngsters played basketball at least once in the 2018/19 academic year - an increase of 15% on the 2017/18 figures.

That growth is the third biggest, behind cricket and dodgeball.

It means that, when combined with the number of adults regularly playing the sport - 280,900 - there are 1,322,600 players, making basketball the second biggest team sport after football and ahead of rugby.

Basketball has gains to make at the younger end of the age-group spectrum with football, dodgeball, cricket and rugby ahead of it in the Year 1 and 2 bracket, though there has been a 23% increase.

And overall, fewer girls play regular sport than boys.

Basketball England CEO Stewart Kellett said: "It is so positive that basketball is providing great opportunities for a growing number of children and young people.

"The growth of Basketball England's satellite clubs programme and Jr NBA, our provision of Slam Jam for younger children, as well as the introduction of organised under-12 leagues, are all steps in the right direction.

"Also, the continued efforts of the local basketball clubs, volunteers and coaching network continues to reach out to schools and new players, and support more young people. Our strategic plan highlights the need to grow basketball together and these are positive signs for the collective effort of the basketball community.

"Thank you to everyone in basketball who continues to make a difference to the lives of so many young people. 

"We are not complacent and know more must be done to give girls and young women better access our great sport – which we are addressing through our All Girls campaign - and to help less affluent families."

Basketball – key survey points

  • 1,041,700 children and young people (C&YP) playing basketball at least once in the last week in academic year 2018/19
  • Second biggest team sport for C&YP behind football (2,839,800) and well ahead of dodgeball (751,200)
  • Increase of 140,100 (15.5%) from academic year 2017/18
  • Third biggest increase among major team sports behind cricket (30.4%) and dodgeball (22.4)
  • 1,322,600 people playing basketball overall when combined with adult figures (280,900)
  • Second biggest team sport overall behind football (4,896,700) and ahead of rugby (971,800)
  • Biggest increase overall among the top 3 team sports – football (4.9%), rugby (6.0%)

Other survey points

  • 54% of children from the most affluent families considered active compared to 42% from the least affluent families – while from the age of five up, boys are more active than girls at every age.
  • Active children are happier, more resilient and more trusting of others and it's also shown a positive association between being active and higher levels of mental well being, individual development and community development.