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Understanding what motivates kids to play a sport will help you encourage them. See more sport pictures.

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Every year, about 20 million children sign up for competitive sports. However, studies have shown that about 70 percent of children who play sports end up quitting by the time they are 15 years old [source: Center for Kids First]. The causes for this might vary, but one of the main factors in the decision to quit is simple: They simply lose interest in continuing with the sport.

The excitement of wearing cool uniforms, spending time with friends or imitating a favorite athlete can all prompt a child to take up a sport, such as little league baseball or youth basketball. However, staying motivated beyond the initial phase can be a challenge. It is important to understand what drives the young people involved. When you know what motivates someone, it may make it easier for you to encourage him or her.

Whether you are a seasoned coach looking for a way to start the season off right or a parent signing your child up for the first time, consider how best to motivate the children in your life in order to establish a nurturing environment in which they can learn, grow and stay involved.

This article will look at ways you can provide support without crossing that fine line between enthusiasm and becoming over-involved.

For example, there have been many moments in the history of sports when a coach's motivating words led his or her team to victory. You don't have to be a pro, and your speeches may not always lead to such grand finales, but with a little practice, they might rev up and inspire your players. Check out the next page to learn some tips on how to give an inspiring motivational speech.