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An initiative by
In partnership with Player
An initiative by
In partnership with Player

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An initiative by
In partnership with Player

What you can do

It’s about providing a positive sporting environment for your children.

Here are some top tips:

  • Encourage your kids to be involved in a variety of sports during their school years so they experience a wide range of sporting activities, stay engaged and have time to pick the sport that’s best for them.
  • Provide positive support through the good and challenging times. Keep winning in perspective and focus on developing a love of sport.
  • Be patient and focus on the long-term goal. Emphasise that skill development can take time. Everyone improves at different rates.
  • Allow kids to experience a variety of playing positions.
  • Wait before selecting one sport, even if your child is good at something in particular, and avoid encouraging them to specialise too early.
  • Make the focus on learning and development needs. Motivate your child to get better by relating improvements in their performance to effort.
  • Put their needs first. Leave out personal egos.

Resources for Parents

Coaching Fundamentals

A Focus on Fun

Fun should be at the forefront of kids sport. In this article, Simon Walters & Chris Whatman share a range of evidence...

The ultimate goal is to help all young people realise their potential in sport and in life – winning in the long run.

Young people who enjoy sport develop a lifelong love of the game, turning them into active and healthy adults.

At the heart of this is putting the emphasis on the needs of the young person. Research has helped identify what is happening in New Zealand and overseas and identified three key issues.

Key Issue #1

Childhood success is not a reliable predictor of future success

Young people are all different and development doesn’t occur in a simple straightforward manner – or at the same speed. Competitive sporting opportunities need to reflect this rather than over-investing (both time and money) in just those who the show the most promise at a young age. All young people deserve quality sporting experiences and the opportunity to shine.

Key Issue #2

Identifying athletes early and specialising early on is taking its toll on young people

Too many young athletes are specialising in one sport in the belief this is the best way for them to develop into elite adults. In truth, burnout, overuse injuries and declining motivation are more likely to be the outcomes of early specialisation. We need to delay selection decisions, proactively manage young people at risk of overtraining and overloading and find ways to keep more young people involved in a range of quality experiences in competitive sport – for longer.

Key Issue #3

A focus on winning rather than development

It’s time to stop focusing on high performance and overemphasising ‘winning’ in youth sport. This approach is creating a lack of balance and leads to high workload and high pressure for young people too soon. A focus on development and getting better is what young people want and what successful athletes and people focus on.

Parents need to think about how to put the fun and skill development back into youth sport.

How can you impact change?

New Zealand is a sporting nation; it’s in our DNA. But our world is changing and factors such as societal changes, the role of technology and contention on our time are causing a drop in sport participation in young people.

Start exploring the Balance is Better website for practical resources, case studies and more. It’s the easiest way to keep up with the play.

Remember why young people participate in sport – it’s about fun, the challenge, being part of a team or group, being with friends and self-improvement.

More Resources for Parents

Sports Parents

Tips for coaches during lockdown

We all know Covid-19 is having an enormous impact on our lives right now. Work and social routines are significantly disrupted and...
Sports Parents

COVID-19 and youth sport in New Zealand

The COVID-19 pandemic has widely and dramatically impacted all parts of society. As we continue to digest the shock that this pandemic...
Sports Parents

What is a Good Youth Sport Experience?

In this article, Sport Waikato shares insights into how adults can create a great sporting experience for our young people. So you...
Development & Performance

How Happiness Enhances Performance

This article is shared by Player Development Project Can happiness impact performance? Former Professional golfer and President of New Edge Performance, John...