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Be Part of the Team – new year, new direction

Monday, February 2, 2018

Be Part of the Team – new year, new direction

In 2014 Sport Hawke’s Bay launched a culture shift program, in partnership with the Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sports Trust, EIT and several sporting codes, designed to address the nature of the support provided to sports teams from the side-lines.

Evaluation and reflection on the program showed it successfully raised the level of awareness of the topic.

In the fifth year of the programme, time has called for a shift in focus to encompass a range of behaviours revolved around sport.

Behaviour in sport has been extensively covered in the media with research being undertaken by a number of national sports organisations. There is a lot more information available on other underlying topics that influence the manifestation of behaviour in sport - such as early specialisation and early professionalism in sport.

“We want to influence attitudes about youth sport to keep kids in sport,” said Community Sport Manager, Junior Armstrong. “Data shows that youth are dropping out of sport and their interest in sport is declining rapidly.”

The Sport New Zealand Young Peoples survey shows young kiwi kids aged 5-10 years like playing sport a lot, but this interest drops off between 15-18 years – a 16% drop for boys and 17% drop for girls.

In 2016 we surveyed over 1,700 12-13-year olds. 20% of them said they don’t participate in more sport because it wasn’t fun, 15% said it was because of the pressure to win and 20% said they lacked confidence. In addition, 50% of those surveyed said they would play more sport if they got more playing time.

“We acknowledge that this could be down to many factors, including longer seasons, not playing with mates, injuries, bad experiences, too much pressure from parents and not having fun anymore.”

It’s clear to us that behavioural issues aren't just isolated to the side-line anymore and this could be a big factor in such high drop-off rates of kids in sport between 15-18 years of age. The side-line is just one setting where unwanted behaviour is released as a result of beliefs on sport that already exist.

Sport Hawke’s Bay is taking the Sideline Behaviour campaign in a new direction, focusing on more than just behaviour on the side-line. The ‘Be Part of the Team’ campaign, supported by Eastern and Central Community Trust, will focus on raising awareness of adult behaviour and attitudes towards sport as a whole. This includes supplement use in youth sport, side-line behaviour, early specialisation, inclusion and development of children versus performance.

The campaign will still incorporate the 5 key messages of the Sideline Behaviour campaign as well as encouraging sports coaches, instructors, parents and administrators to adopt Sport New Zealand’s good practice principles for children and young people in sport and active recreation.

We will be partnering with codes and schools to support them in delivering education sessions for their coaches, officials and parents. We will also take a train the trainer approach in supporting sports administrators, and partner with Drug Free Sport New Zealand, and the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council in promoting the safe use of supplements in sport.

“We believe if we can influence and support the mindset of parents, coaches, and administrators to have kids at the centre of their thinking then we can go a long way in reducing the drop-out rate.”

For more information about Be Part of the Team, email Junior Armstrong,


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