High School Sports Are Declining Except For Golf And Volleyball

Participation in high school athletics continues to decline since pre-pandemic levels except for two sports.

Boys golf and girls volleyball were the only sports that actually saw an increase compared to the last full pre-pandemic school year.

Overall, the top 10 sports for both boys and girls remained the same - but in a different order.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, boys golf increased by 4% moving it up to the 8th spot ahead of tennis.

Girls volleyball stayed at No. 2 with it's 0.3% increase, but nearly hurdled over the top-spot of outdoor track and field. The difference is now only a few thousand.


Overall high school sports participation was down 4% since the last time the NFSHSA compiled its annual survey in 2018-19.

We continue to learn more about the detrimental effects that shutting down schools did to children's learning development.

Is it possible that shutdowns and mask mandates also changed youth sports preferences?


Golf has increasingly become more popular - seeing a record number of rounds played last year. It was also the first sport to come back post-pandemic as golfers were able to be socially distant.

Meanwhile, women's volleyball continues to see substantial growth. Last year more people watched the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship than they did the MLS Cup final.

There's no definitive reason as to why certain sports are becoming more popular with younger generations. It could be as simple as more attention is being given to golf and volleyball.

Or maybe it's that children were tired of having to play basketball, running up and down a court while wearing masks for the past two years and wanted to try something else.

Written by
Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.