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All New Zealanders have the right to participate in sport in a safe, fair and inclusive environment.
All young people should receive a quality sport experience, irrespective of the level at which they are involved.
Bold and courageous leadership at national, regional and local levels is required to design and deliver quality youth sport participation and development opportunities.
Aotearoa’s sport sector must work collaboratively to encourage the widest possible change for the wellbeing and sport participation of young New Zealanders.
Sport leaders, coaches, administrators, parents, and caregivers involved in youth sport must collectively lead attitudinal change.
All young people should be offered participation and skill development opportunities.
All young people should be supported to participate in a range of activities and play multiple sports.
Talent Identification should occur later in young people’s development; reviewing the role and nature of national and regional representative selections and tournaments is an important step in ensuring elite sport attitudes and practices are introduced at developmentally appropriate times.
Adults need to proactively monitor and manage the workload (intensity and volume) of motivated young people to mitigate the risks of overtraining and overloading.
Hear what our Balance is Better Champions have to say, who champion the philosophy and work alongside organisations to help them put the needs of their participants first.
Some of New Zealand’s most well-known athletes were not selected in early-age rep teams. Many speak of how they now benefit from having played multiple sports in their childhood. Almost all talk about how impactful a parent or coach was for their athlete journey.
While the journeys these athletes take to become world beaters will vary, for the vast majority of them, their stories contradict some of the myths about how athletes become successful.
In the conventional sense, we know successful athletes are likely to have benefited from playing multiple sports in their youth. They too, are likely to have benefited from have having a focus on development over winning at a younger age. We know that childhood success is not a great predictor of future success.
In the broader sense, its worth considering what is a successful athlete? Someone who wins on the world stage probably meets the definition of being a successful athlete. But what about the someone who continues to play their sport much later into their life? What about someone who is able take lessons from their sport and apply them to being successful in other areas of their life? For young people to get the most of sport, including developing a life-long love of sport its important we think about the stories we tell about athletes.
Often, we hear stories about the prodigious young talent, or the gifted child. But there are so many other stories youth sport, with many important lessons, worth shining a light on.