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Resources for Parents

Sports Parents

Parents: Time to talk about your child’s why

Parents’ motivations for supporting their children to play sport and children’s motivations for playing sport don’t always line up. We hear from Kelly Curr about why...

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

Case Studies

Case Study: Izzy Hegan

Competitive runner and recent school-leaver Izzy Hegan shares what she has learned about balancing her personal development and enjoyment of sport against...
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Development & Performance

Are we writing them off too early?

In this series of Balance is Better articles, Sport NZ explores the myths surrounding youth sport and the shift in thinking needed...
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Development & Performance

Building Mental Strength

This video is shared by Player Development Project. The psychological component of player development can be seen as the most complex. It...
Sports Parents

Making Sense of Youth Sport

As you delve deeper into understanding the issues and challenges in youth sport today, it becomes clear – it’s complex. So how...
Sports Parents

Research: Bullying and the Peer Group

This article is shared by Player Development Project Research Paper By: Christina Salmivalli The Big Idea This review paper was published in...
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