20 June 2024

~5 minutes read

Allianz Launches Their New ‘Stop The Drop’ Research with Irish Olympic Silver Medallist Sonia O’Sullivan

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Allianz Launches Their New ‘Stop The Drop’ Research with Irish Olympic Silver Medallist Sonia O’Sullivan
  • The average age of sports dropout for children in Ireland is 11 years of age. This means that their sporting journey last an average of 4.5 years, finishing just before they transition to secondary school.
  • Of those children who have dropped out of sport or have never taken part at all, a disproportionate number are female. Roughly half of this overall disengaged group have played sport and stopped, and the other half never started in the first place.
  • 63% of parents whose children have stopped playing sport suggest that it is too competitive.
  • Reasons cited for boys dropping out include pressure to excel and lack of enjoyment while reasons for girls dropping out include developmental factors and preferring other pastimes or academic pursuits.
  • Approximately two thirds of parents feel there isn’t enough focus on or support for keeping children in sport. 56% of parents say they would like more support to help keep their child involved in sport.

Allianz have launched their new ‘Stop The Drop’ research with Olympic silver medallist Sonia O’Sullivan.

The “Stop The Drop” campaign report sheds critical light on the decline in sports participation among Irish children, particularly during the pivotal transition from primary to secondary school. This decline not only impacts the immediate health and social benefits associated with sports participation but also poses a long-term risk by shrinking the pool of future athletes across all levels.

The advantages of engaging in sport is well-documented across all age groups, and lifelong participation often stems from childhood involvement. According to Sport Ireland’s latest research on children’s sport participation (CSPPA 2022), there is a concerning national issue: 1 in 5 kids are quitting sports between primary and secondary school. This decline is troubling as it narrows the future pool of athletes at novice, amateur, and professional levels for the coming decades.

As the biggest insurers of schools in Ireland and one of the biggest insurers of sport in the country, Allianz are dedicated to doing their part in addressing this challenge, aiming to live up to their purpose of securing the future for their customers and their families.

In pursuit of a deeper understanding of the future facing changing narratives in sport, Allianz initiated a comprehensive research project to explore the main obstacles and prospects related to sports participation in Ireland. This research, carried out by Ipsos B&A, employed semiotic analysis and qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The individuals interviewed encompassed a diverse group, representing various life stages and levels of engagement in sports. This group included; Individuals who are heavily involved in sports, either for themselves or their children; sports veterans and coaches; experienced sports professionals and coaches; enthusiastic sports fans who regularly attend live sports events but are no longer active participants themselves and people who are involved in sports but face additional challenges due to factors such as sexuality, race/ethnicity, or physical differences. Those working in elite sport were also interviewed ranging from players to trainers and journalists. with parents, children, coaches and sporting bodies including.

Allianz recognises the vital role that coaches, teachers and parents play in the lives of young people. Their support and encouragement can make all the difference when it comes to a young person choosing to stay in sport or to drop out. For this reason, Allianz has partnered with Move2Be to create their #StopTheDrop resource hub. This hub aims to provide practical supports to arm teachers, coaches and parents with the knowledge and skills needed to support the next generation of athletes. It will also help these groups support young people in navigating the hidden barriers that can often result in them dropping out of sport.

Speaking about the research, Allianz CEO, Phillip Gronemeyer, said: “Allianz has a long-standing commitment to Ireland and has always strived to live our purpose of securing our customers’ futures. Over that time, championing sport has always been a core part of how we have supported the passions of our customers. Despite sport being a key part of our national identity, 1 in 5 children stop participating in sport when transitioning from primary to secondary school. As the largest insurer of schools in Ireland, insuring over 500,000 children, we want to play a part in stopping this drop in participation in sport.”

Irish Olympic medallist, Sonia O’Sullivan added: “As an athlete, I am honoured and excited to be supporting the Allianz ‘Stop The Drop’ campaign. As a sportsperson myself but most importantly as a parent, I know first-hand the positive impact sport has on young people and the importance of that. Keeping children engaged with sport, at whatever level works for them, can aid them in developing so many important life skills, enabling them to go on to great things into their teenage and adult lives.  The Allianz Stop The Drop campaign aims to highlight the issue around childhood sports participation in Ireland today, one we cannot ignore for the sake of our children’s futures.”

Sonia O’Sullivan will be on Galway Bay FM’s ‘Over The Line’ this Friday (21st June 2024).

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