JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Researchers said two to three hours a week of sports participation boots cardiovascular conditioning, not to mention the social and emotional benefits of being part of a team.

Yet, there’s a huge drop in organized sports participation. It’s been estimated that as much as 70% of all participants quit by their teens.

George Washington Sports scientist Amanda Visek and her colleagues recruited nearly 250 players, parents, and coaches from a Washington, D.C., soccer league to define or map fun. They started first by asking the study participants to brainstorm all of the things that make sports fun. The list was long.

“Who would have thought, right, that fun, this three-letter word, could mean 81 specific things?” said Visek.

Participants then organized the 81 factors into 11 categories and rated the importance of each, determining the top three. Trying hard was number one, followed by team dynamics and positive coaching.

Visek said parents play a vital role, too. She suggested parents keep it positive, offer encouragement and support. Parents should also keep the focus on what kids are learning and ask what was most rewarding.

The sports scientists said winning was one of the 81 factors that participants named, but it was not anywhere near the top of the list. In fact, winning game in as sports “Fun Factor” number 41.