Each year, the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations lists trends in high school sports participation across the United States. Recent findings indicate that participation in sports continues to grow on school campuses, and the number of participants in the 2017-2018 school year reached an all-time high of 7,980,886. A steady increase in several boys and girls sports extended the overall growth streak to a record-breaking 29th year. For those interested in knowing which school sports garner the most participation, here is a spotlight of the biggest contenders.


• Football remains the No. 1 participatory sport for boys, with outdoor track and field coming in second.

• Basketball, baseball, soccer, cross country, wrestling, tennis, golf, and swimming/diving round out the remaining top sports for boys.


• The most popular sport for girls continues to be outdoor track and field. The No. 2 position belongs to volleyball.

• Basketball, soccer, fast-pitch softball, cross country, tennis, swimming/diving, competitive spirit, and lacrosse are the other prime girls’ sports activities.