Some of the biggest wins in sport are not necessarily just those that come with the final whistle, but also those that come afterwards.
When young people understand the wider value of sport and start giving back – to their sport, school, club, or community – it supports further development of skills such as leadership, and ensures the next generation has access to the same opportunities.
There’s no denying that community is essential for sport to thrive. While the focus is typically on the players, everyone involved with sport knows that there is an army of people behind the scenes – administrators, coaches and officials to name a few – who work together to make it all happen.
These crucial people are often volunteers, many of whom once played on the other side of the sideline. Sport New Zealand research found that nearly one in five Kiwis volunteer in sport each year, with 73 percent of people agreeing that sport helps build vibrant and stimulating communities. The sentiment is universal – Volunteering New Zealand’s State of Volunteering Report found that “contributing to the community” was the key motivator for the majority (90 percent) of volunteers.
So how do we encourage young people to think about giving back to sport and their community?
It all comes down to ensuring they have a quality sporting experience themselves, and this is where administrators, parents, and coaches come in. Along with being good role models, there’s a huge opportunity to encourage young participants to think beyond sport as a player, and how they can give back in other ways later on.
Whether it’s through returning to your club as a coach, supporting the wider community with fundraising or mentoring, or even helping to inspire the future aspirations of younger athletes, sport has the power to build and strengthen communities and create young leaders to carry the baton.
The big win is when they give back. Let’s make sure young people take all the wins from sport. Learn more at https://balanceisbetter.org.nz/