Parks and rec departments combating declining sports participation numbers

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. (KCRG) - According to a study conducted by Aspen Institute titled "State of Play," youth sports participation numbers have decreased in the last decade.

In the six to 12-year-old age group, baseball has seen the steepest decline at 3.4 percent over the past decade.

Iowa is a state with a rich tradition of baseball and local parks and recreation departments are trying to help increase the numbers.

"We are competing for time for kids and parents right?" said Cedar Rapids Parks and Rec Director Scott Hock. "Parents are busy, kids are busy with school activities. We're competing with screen-time and all of that stuff to get them to participate in our youth sports."

The theory of being a single-sport athlete is also backed up in Aspen Institute's findings. Since 2011, the average number of sports played by kids 6 to 12 has been cut in half.

In recent years, participation numbers have fluctuated in cities like Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha but Hock says the most important thing is making it accessible for the highest amount of people.

"You learn a lot of stuff playing team-based sports that you might not learn if you are doing individual things or spending too much time on your screen." Hock said. "We want to make sure people are participating."