Boys more likely than girls to participate in sports outside of school, study finds

Boys more likely than girls to participate in sports outside of school, study finds

Is it of equal likelihood that boys and girls participate in sports outside of school? According to a study of 2000 8 – 18 year olds, the answer is no.




The poll found 57% of girls play sport outside of school or college, in comparison to 79% of boys.

45% of boys are part of a local sports team or club outside of school, whilst only 27% of girls said the same.


  • More than a third of girls state that feeling they are not good enough to take part is the reason for their lack of participation.
  • 18% of girls say they are too shy.
  • 43% of children asked believe it to be easier for boys than girls to play sports at a grassroots level.
  • 47% of young people surveyed see most sports as male-orientated.


The research was commissioned by supporters of grassroot cricket, Yorkshire Tea, in partnership with national cricket charity, Chance to Shine. Senior Brand Manager of Yorkshire Tea, Ben Newbury, said “Sport can play a key role in building up confidence and self-esteem in children and young adults, so it is disappointing that these are the key reasons girls are playing less sport than boys.

“Women’s sport is really thriving at the moment, with female teams securing high profile wins on the world stage in sports such as cricket, hockey and netball.

“We feel more should be done to break down the barriers that make girls less likely to take up sports at a grassroots level particularly in sports like cricket, which can be perceived as male-dominated.

''Initiatives like National Cricket Week give children an equal opportunity to have fun and learn through cricket.”

Turning to the young people’s perceptions of themselves, the study found 4 in 10 girls describe themselves as sporty, compared to almost two thirds of boys.

When looking at the most popular sports among girls and boys it was revealed that one quarter of 8-18 year olds would like to play a sport usually associated with the opposite sex.

Football is the most common sport for boys to play outside of school, followed by swimming, tennis and cricket.

Girls are most likely to be part of a swimming club, with football, tennis and cricket also popular choices.

When asked if they thought they would continue to play their favourite sport once having left education 62% of boys said they plan to, whilst just 38% of girls think they will.

It did emerge that half the young people think attitudes and opinions towards women’s sports have changed for the better thanks to big wins for female teams in cricket, netball and hockey. Also, 55% of girls said they enjoy taking part in sport and PE in school, with 21 per cent saying they would like to join a local club.

What would make young women more likely to participate in a sport? If their mum played according to more than 1 in 4 girls, also if their friends were involved said 54%.

Top female role models were discovered by the study to include mum as number 1, followed by Harry Potter star and activist Emma Watson, with only one sportswoman, athlete Jessica Ennis Hill, featuring in the top 10.

On Tuesday 19th June, Chance the Shine organised a girls’ cricket festival at Frenchay Cricket Club in Bristol on the back of this research and as part of the fifth annual Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week. The day entailed girls from the south west playing cricket and being coached by two inspirational players from the England Women’s Cricket Team.




Chief Executive of Chance to Shine, Laura Cordingley said “We want to give children of all abilities and walks of life the chance to play cricket and are always working hard to help young people to develop key life skills through the sport.

“We’re very proud of how our coaches can help girls to develop the confidence that will encourage them to not only play more cricket but also to play more sport in general.

“We know how quickly girls can come to decide they are ‘sporty’ or ‘not sporty’ and we are working hard to ensure that all feel comfortable taking part in regular physical activity.

“We’re also proud to play our part in inspiring the next generation of cricketers - it’s great to hear that the majority of girls do enjoy sport and the World Cup winning England cricket team are powerful role models for young girls to emulate.

“Events like the girls’ cricket festival and our wider work show that it truly is a game for all to take part in.”

At Aspire Sports our Active Camps during the school holidays enable your child to choose from Multi Sports, Football, Dance and Stage, Cricket, Hockey and gymnastics. We want to encourage all children to either try something new or pursue their sporting interests and get involved outside of school to stay active, expand their experiences and increase their confidence. To find out more about Active Camps and to book onto our camps this summer simply click here.


Most popular sports for boys to play outside of school:

  • Football
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Rugby
  • Badminton
  • Golf
  • Basketball
  • Dodgeball
  • Gymnastics


Most popular sports for girls to play outside of school:

  • Swimming
  • Football
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Gymnastics
  • Netball
  • Badminton
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Rugby


Top 10 female role models for girls

  • Their mum
  • Emma Watson
  • Jessica Ennis-hill
  • Meghan Markle
  • Zoella
  • Beyonce
  • Their grandmother
  • Kat Von Dee
  • Kate Middleton
  • Kim Kardashian