Written by Doctor G

Should My Daughter Quit Basketball?

My 8th grader wanted to quit basketball. “I absolutely hate this, I am not a competitive person. I have DREAD about going, this brings me no joy. Why should I keep doing something that makes me so unhappy when I could do something else physical?” She was on the team last year last year. Hated it.  We told her she had to do it again for the physical activity, but this is her response.

D, in PA

D, it’s time to stop beating the basketball horse. And congratulate yourselves on a really well-spoken 14 year old!

I applaud your values, and your involvement. I agree with making physical fitness and teamwork a part of your daughter’s life skill education! I support your desire to teach her not to be a quitter.

Now let her quit!

There are important life skills your daughter can learn by changing course.

  1. To listen to her own body and emotions.
  2. To evaluate her experiences and spend time where it benefits her goals.
  3. To come to you in a respectful way, when she feels you’re being unreasonable.

Now help her “quit” with a responsible attitude.

  • She should talk to her coach, and “give notice.” She should ask the coach if it would help for her to stay on the team for another two or three games.
  • Apologize to her teammates in a meaningful way.
  • Find a replacement activity that meets her need for fitness.
  • Consider other teams she might try out for in the next 6 months if you all believe she needs that experience.

She’s a good kid who hates basketball. Show her how much you respect her by respecting that truth!


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14 thoughts on “Should My Daughter Quit Basketball?”

  1. I hate basketball too (playing, not watching. Pitt 68 – Providence 64!). Ultimate Frisbee, anyone? Whoever invented it is absolutely brilliant for coming up with a sport every bit as exhausting and demanding as basketball or soccer, but due to its unconventional vibe (and the fact that it is often played barefoot) manages to appeal to the usually sedentary hippie/egghead crowd that I hung out with in high school.

    1. This is a really good point. Basketball is a great sport for some, but can make other kids feel less than. While I think any struggle has some value, there is no good to be accomplished in turning a kid of from physical activity just because of one sport! Also, the trash talk in basketball, especially boys’, can be a real turn-off for some kids.

      Ultimate is a pretty brilliant sport with a hipster edge. Glad you found your niche! Did Pitt win?

  2. I agree! Although she should commit to activity. My Grade 8 son quit band and hockey. He was in too much and was showing signs of depression. He told me what he really wanted to do and we went with what lit up his life. The hockey issues were about bullying. The band was straight out no joy. I’ve always been glad he spoke up.

    1. Way to go watching and listening to your son. Our kids need learning experiences, and need to know we are in their corners too.

  3. Oh man, I felt for that little girl. That was ME when I was a kid. I HATED basketball, but my parents put me in it because my sister wanted to do it. I was terrible at it, didn’t make any friends (the rest of the team was a pretty tight clique though) and I felt that dread every time (even when I think about it now).

    My parents were not a fan of allowing us to quit. They would not let me quit piano no matter how much I hated practicing. But I am so thankful they knew me enough to let me quit basketball. Great advice!

    1. It is telling what we remember most from our childhood experiences, isn’t it? I’m glad your parents showed you the respect of honoring your experience as separate from your sister’s!

  4. Jessica @peekababy

    Kids these days have so little time after school to just be kids and to choose their own activities–why force this girl to continue doing an activity that she clearly isn’t enjoying anymore? Time to choose another physical activity!

  5. Awesome advice. I told my dad I wanted to quit basketball at the same age because I didn’t enjoy it. He gave me a quick “Well, I just never thought of you as a quitter.” This coming from my father who never said much made me feel so guilty that I have a hard time quitting things to this day.

    1. Leigh Ann, it is important to help our kids build perseverance. But it is also an important skill to know how and when to move on from something that isn’t working! This parenting stuff is tough!

  6. agree with all the advice and comments here, especially in remembering that what one sibling loves the other might hate – which happens a lot at our house.

    1. Yes, but it sure would be easier if they all wanted to do the same activities at the exact same times, right? 😉

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