With the new sports season fast approaching, here’s are our top 6 tips to help coaches and parents alike.

1. Think about expectations

During pre-season, think about your expectations for your child, players or team. Take the time to also ask them what their expectations are. Why? Read this blog on the accountability problem in youth sports.

2. Hold a parent, coach, player meeting

Hold a meeting prior to the start of the season so that players, parents and coaches can share their expectations.. This is also the best way to start connecting people to help embed a great team culture. Remember to always keep in mind why kids play sport when going into this meeting.

3. Create a team charter

A team charter is a simple one page document that outlines everyone’s expectations. They can be based on the discussions at a parent, coach AND player meeting. The team charter can be used to hold accountability if issues arise.

4. Reinforce key messages

Coaches and parents should always reinforce key messages to one another. Messages like:

  • Why kids play sport?
  • Expectations of what the team hope to achieve this season
  • Expectations of themselves
  • What they can do to support the team

Read our blog How to Make Your Child Fall in Love With Sport for other key messages around the needs of children in sport.

5. Recognise and role model great off-field behaviour

A coach or parent are a child’s biggest role model. Congratulate great displays of off-field behaviour. Don’t know what this looks like? Read Why Kids Hate the Car Ride Home? and What is a Good ‘Sports’ Parent?

6. Be a champion for positive team culture and experiences.

Take the first steps in ensuring that all kids involved are having positive sporting experiences. Book a Good Sports Workshop for your team or club where you’ll learn about issues in youth sports and how they come about. You might surprise yourself with what comes out of one of our workshops.

Why does it matter?

The benefits of participation in sport range from enhancing long-term mental and physical health, learning social skills, improving motor skills to those things children themselves already recognise like enjoying themselves and making friends.

There are many flow-on effects for the family and community; from the experience mums and dads share with their children to the overall value of a healthier population. This only happens if kids continue to play sport, so focusing on creating positive fun sporting environments is crucial to keeping them active for longer and ensuring better long-term results for them and the community.

And yes, centering the junior sport experience around a fun and positive experience even has long-term benefits for the small percentage of kids who eventually transition into elite sport.