“What are you doing there?! Get in position!”

“Why are they playing? They’re going to lose us the game!”

“If you screw up one more time I’m taking you off!!”

These or other similar phrases can be a familiar feature at your child’s sporting fixtures. We can often get caught up in the moment and say things that aren’t helping our children be their best on the sports field. There’s no doubt our intentions are good, that we are wanting the best for our children, but it’s important to remember, for most kids, winning is not nearly as important and as having fun.

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 mum 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.