Strava Releases 2023 “Year in Sport: The Trend Report,” Revealing Workout Motivation in Different Generations  

Strava, a digital platform with a community of over 120 million athletes, released its, “Year In Sport: The Trend Report.” The report surveyed 6,990 individuals, both in and out of Strava’s community, and provided insights into the exercise habits of people across different generations as well as observations on the evolving workout trends for the year 2024. Gen Z was found to stand out with differing habits, motivators, obstacles and interests when approaching physical activity.

One prominent takeaway from the report is the importance of social connection as a primary motivator for exercise. This appeared as a cross-generational response, but was particularly notable for Gen Z with 77% responding that they a stronger bond to seeing friends and family’s activities on Strava. Gen Z is also 29% more likely than Millennials to exercise with another person.

The report highlights Gen Z’s distinct exercise behaviors; they are 31% less likely than Millenials or Gen X to work out because of health concerns and more likely to pursue athletic performance. While 39% of Gen Z Strava users started a new job and 30% relocated in 2023, they were still 32% more likely than other generations to say they’re in better shape than last year.

Zipporah Allen, Chief Business Officer at Strava, notes the impact of Gen Z’s values of community, activism, and connection in an increasingly digital world: “Over the past year, we’ve seen Gen Z as the primary source of community growth through new clubs on Strava. They’ve also contributed to the increase in sports, like running, despite having the most barriers to staying consistent. This shows exercise will be a central value for this generation, which is why they’re already turning to Strava as the key platform to stay motivated and connected.”

Emerging Sport Quickly Gains Popularity

As the summer approaches, parents are scrounging for ideas and programs to keep their kids busy. Despite the increasing number of available opportunities in recent years, today’s parents still dread to hear those inevitable words: “I’m bored.”

Almost 60 years ago, three fathers found themselves in a similar situation to many parents today. Tired of hearing their children complain they are bored, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum got creative. They created a makeshift game using ping pong paddles, a perforated plastic ball, and an old badminton court.

Over the years, the improvised game developed into a real sport called Pickleball. According to the USA Pickleball Association, 4.8 million people in the US play the game and it is the fastest growing sport in the country. Just in the last two years, there has been a 39.9% participation increase, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Within the US and Canada, there are an estimated 9,500 pickleball venues. The International Federation of Pickleball reports that the game is played in 70 countries. Tournaments are featured on many television stations, including Fox Sports, ESPN+, and CBS Sports.

So, what exactly is Pickleball?

The up-and-coming sport is often associated with tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Many choose to play in indoor or outdoor tennis courts, lowering the nets and implementing additional boundary lines. Players hit a perforated ball over the net using paddles, with the goal of preventing the opponent from hitting the ball back.

Because of its simple rules and accessible equipment, the game has gained popularity. Older folks have taken a particular interest in the sport, as moving around in a small court is easier than having to run across a large court or field in other sports. The pandemic powered its popularity as well, since players are distanced at all times.

Contrary to popular belief, the sport does not include any pickles and it is unknown how the game inherited its name. Some speculate it was named for Joel Pritchard’s family dog, who was called Pickles. Pickles enjoyed running away with the plastic ball, and the family referred to it as “Pickles’ ball” – similar to today’s name, Pickleball.

Regardless of its origins, Pickleball is undoubtedly a fun sport for people of all ages. If you think introducing this game to your kids may help eliminate some boredom this summer, give it a whirl!

Geoff Richards Shares His Thoughts about Rugby

Steve Mitchell from recently interviewed Geoff Richards, the former rugby union player and coach. He coached England at the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup and then resigned as Head Coach in 2007. The article was published in the Rugby Times.

Here are some of his thoughts in his own words. When asked how he and the team responded to losing to New Zealand in the World Cup Final, Geoff Richards said,“Following the last World Cup in Barcelona, we were very disappointed, we had set our sights high and wanted to win but you have to take away the positives and move forward. We had after all moved up in the World rankings from third best to second best in the World.”

When asked whose decision it was to switch Selena Rudge from center to hooker, Geoff Richards responded,
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“It was her decision and it started some time ago before the World Cup. It arose from the way she plays, she loves contact and really wanted to play in the forwards where she would be more comfortable. She has fantastic abilities but she has to learn the technical aspects of that position and she is doing that and working on the scrummaging aspects of play and that’s coming and as it does she will develop as an international in her new position.”

Mitchell then asked him how he can ensure that the team maintains its streak of form. Richards answered, “Well, it’s all down to the individual and personal bests. How we can help them to develop as a player and as a unit. There is still a lot that we can do, but above all we need to be playing New Zealand every year. They are so strong that when you play against them it becomes a different game. We need to be playing top opposition and the more you play them, the better you are going to get. That isn’t to say that the women’s game is in anything like a two tier Six Nations situation, women’s rugby is still a fast developing sport amongst all of the competing nations and we ourselves expect a very vigorous examination against Scotland in a couple of weeks time.”