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Inside the 2018 #'s of AWSA


JeffSurdej
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@scotchipman I believe if USAWSWS had a booth, swag and prepared FAQ's it wouldn't be difficult to get local volunteers/clubs or boat dealers to help man the booth. Some standardized post-show report would be helpful to fine tune the effort.

 

The primary goal would be to answer questions about towed watersports in general and sport division questions more specifically. A prospective "new member" kit would be awesome. Follow-up from USAWSWS required.

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While I certainly appreciate Jeff posting the numbers and being open about it, those #s are absolutely terrible!!! Zero overall statistical growth year over year. Decline in # of events. Decline in head of household. Decline in dependents. Thankfully, there's growth in U25. But this should wake people up! You can dislike my comment on this all you want, but it doesn't change those numbers.
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@Than_Bogan I don't disagree. Just saying that the #s should scare people. If 3 event waterskiing is going to rely on the U25 crowd to take up the slack, things are going to be hurting for a long time because they don't have the disposable cash yet like that group did when those of us in our 40s and early 50s were coming up in the ranks. Today's 23-25yo typically is not going to be able to pay $80,000 for a boat or plop down $2000 for a ski blank without giving up something else in their lives. That has negative implications across the industry. The industry as it stands today needs the 35-50yo's with the moderately high incomes to survive because it's priced itself out of affordability.
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generations1.jpg?w=768&h=539

Looking at population and birth rate info, it is clear that the number of births drops off after the Baby Boomers. One must consider that while the current population of baby boomers appears to be similar to the more recent generations, Baby Boomers have already shrunk a lot due to age mortality. The newer generations have not yet experienced their mortality events and despite longer life spans, may still end up with a steeper and lower population as their groups age.

 

So what? Well, the US population with disposable income will likely be smaller in the coming years. If that is true, so will the sport's population.

 

 

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I think what would surprise everyone is the number of real good skiers that continue to ski on a very regular basis yet have declined to participate as either awsa members and or do not participate in sanctioned events.

 

 

Why would anyone pay $100 to ski in a tournament for maybe 3 rounds or a total of 12 passes ( if they was lucky) after driving 4 hours from home and also either staying the weekend in a hotel or that camper you bought and food..

Overall price for 12 passes on the slalom course (again if you was lucky) out of pocket cost for the weekend could go over $500 or more... then add a spouse and or junior!!

Hmm!!! Maybe we have just over priced our selves out of a competitive sport!!

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This may be a it off topic, but we (our ski club/lake) have decided to cease sponsoring tournaments. Declining entries and declining numbers of club members dictated an end to 23 years of hosting 2-3 tournaments per year. Honestly it's bittersweet. I'll kinda miss it but in general it's a relief.
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Another comment on skiing and lack of deep interest. Recently a lady sent me an email. She said that she and her husband were "avid slalom skiers". They ski on a nearby public and she stated the "non skiers were getting to be a bit too much". She asked me about our rates and I replied "$900 for head of household and $100 for each additional skier in the household". Ski whenever you want, as much as you want with on site/outside storage. Never heard back from her. People around here don't want to pay for private site access, so the assumption is, not as "avid" as described.
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I know competitive water skiing isn't a team sport, but I find this interesting.

 

Here is an interesting short read on decline of organized team sports. And another.

 

It seems that team sports are too expensive, too specialized, too exclusive, too intense, too competitive, and no longer accessible such that fewer kids and parents are participating. Hmm...

 

This suggests that entry into a sport should be fun, economical, and not overbearing. The more a young athlete enjoys a new sport, the more he or she will do it. Thus, the more they will improve. As one's skills improve, the opportunity for drive to excel grows and so does the opportunity for competitive commitment to the sport.

 

Note the summary on Hockey's growth in the US.

There are team sports success stories out there. USA Hockey, which found several years ago that nearly half of kids playing quit by age nine, reduced the attrition rate after determining—and addressing the fact—that kids were being asked to play too much, families were being asked to travel too far, and parents were increasingly worried about safety.

 

The group developed the American Development Model (ADM), which reduced the amount of travel time for younger players, banned body checking for younger players, and changed how the game is played. Rather than playing the whole length of the rink, kids under eight now play side-to-side, meaning more kids get their sticks on the puck instead of just the fastest skaters. The number of kids on the ice at any time was cut from six to four, and the number of games in the season was slashed by 50%.

 

Ken Martel, technical director of USA Hockey’s ADM program, told the Sports Business Journal: “The average parent looks around and they go, ‘What we’re doing doesn’t seem right.’ In their gut, they know it’s not right. Why should my 9-year-old in Chicago have to travel to Boston to play in this tournament? All they hear is the loud voice of the youth coach who wants his piece of the glory or the business operation that’s going to take their money because they can convince you that your kid is the next coming.”

 

Also...

USA Hockey also recently eliminated national championships at the peewee (under-12) level to discourage parents from building super teams. “We felt it would be hypocritical for our sports to offer up an event that encourages people in the field to start to put together super teams at an early age,” said Ken Martel, the technical director of development at USA Hockey. At first, mothers and fathers complained, but “once it was eliminated, just crickets. People like it.”

 

 

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Yeup. There was very little reason for my daughter to stay in it even though she PBed at every tournament she went to. Most of her experience was rewarded with a name on a rankings list...woopdidoo. When she got into Olympic Archery, it was very apparent that things were well thought out for youth programs with the primary focus on fun and hooking them in. Was never a trophy for all either. Very much true competition. Once hooked, she went on to excell and was ranked #2 in the county for highschool age and won plenty of regional and state competitions. She is now a level 2 certified Olympic Archey coach and will be coaching her second year at the highschool she graduated from. In all the time I spent in and around the archery programs, I never saw a kid quit but rather push themselves to get better. I attribute this to the structure of the program. I'm sure there are lessons to be leaned from other sports. It's up to the willingness of those in decision making capacities in our sport to have an open mind to change and perhaps radical ones.
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