Administrators play a vital role in sport, particularly to reduce the potential for things to go wrong. Here, you can access resources to help you manage risks in your sport.
Coaches and officials are what make sport tick. They play a crucial role in helping keep sport safe, fair and inclusive. Here are a number of tools and resources to help you do just that.
If you are a player then you can make a huge contribution to making sport safe, fair and inclusive. Your behaviour influences others, not only your team mates, but everyone involved in sport.
As a parent you should be aware of your clubs responsibilities. At the same time you also have responsibilities and you can play a huge role in creating a safe environment for your child.
And research suggests it’s not just those who are directly subjected to that behaviour, but that regular exposure to background anger is equally distressing for children who witness it. A New Zealand study—‘The Effects of Adult Involvement on Children Participating in Organised Team Sports’1—recorded children’s observations of the adults around their sporting events, noting that angry shouting from the sideline frightened and de-motivated them.
The finding supported earlier research that background anger at children’s sports events can be uniquely distressing for children because of its ‘public’ nature, and that children experiencing sustained background anger can become increasingly sensitised rather than desensitised.
Previous research has also found that anger expressed between adults in the sports context, is especially more distressing for children than anger expressed between an adult and a child.
This is borne out by anecdotal evidence in Australia from Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou. In backing the Play by the Rules’ recent ‘Let Kids be Kids’ campaign which raises awareness of the impact of poor sideline behaviour, Postecoglou says that he had first-hand experience of background anger as a young player.
As a 10 or 11-year-old playing soccer, Postecoglou recalls one match where parents on the sideline started arguing and fighting, leaving him and other children from both teams on the field, huddling together for support. He said it had a profound impact on his awareness that the parents had forgotten that they were there to give their kids a fun experience, but the reality was the opposite.
Postecoglou is one of a number of high-profile sports people who share similar stories as part of the ‘Let Kids be Kids’ campaign. While they have risen above those challenges, many children don’t. The campaign offers resources that can help adults on the sideline better understand sideline behaviour.
It also offers practical, real-life case studies of organisations’ efforts to address poor sideline behaviour including the New South Wales SHOOSH for Kids campaign.
But poor sideline behaviour is not the only thing that can emotionally affect a young sports participant. Among the most confronting findings of the New Zealand research were those recorded from examining coaches’ behaviour at 72 rugby union, netball, soccer, and touch rugby competitions for 6–11 year olds in the Greater Auckland area.
Children in this age group have been referred to as being in the sports ‘sampling’ years, when they are experiencing new sports and it is a formative time that can strongly influence their ongoing experience in sport.
The study looked at comments made by the coaches under observation and the target of the coach’s comments (e.g. player, referee, team etc) and categorised those comments as positive, negative or neutral. Among the findings: