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New Zealand sporting bodies come together to change youth sport

New Zealand sporting bodies come together to change youth sport
September 3, 2019

Youth sport is set to undergo a dramatic shake-up as the leaders of Sport New Zealand and the country’s five largest participation sports - NZ Cricket, NZ Football, Hockey NZ, Netball NZ and NZ Rugby - speak out in a united front against negative experiences that are driving too many young New Zealanders away from sport.

Speaking this morning, Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin advised “we’re taking a stand to bring the fun and development focus back to sport for all young people

“This includes pushing back against early specialisation, over-emphasis on winning and other factors that are driving young New Zealanders away from sport. Sporting organisations are aware of the problem and some are already making changes, but more is required and the six of us are stepping up to say we will lead the way.”

The group have signed a Statement of Intent, published today in the New Zealand Herald, Dominion Post and Christchurch Press, that they believe will pave the way for substantial change in the way young people experience sport in this country.

Individually and collectively we commit to:

• Ensuring all young people who play our sports receive a quality experience, irrespective of the level at which they compete.

• Leading attitudinal and behavioural change among the sport leaders, coaches, administrators, parents and caregivers involved in youth sport.

• Providing leadership to our sports in support of changes to competition structures and player development opportunities.

• Working with our sports and schools to keep minds open while identifying talent throughout the teen years, including reviewing the role and nature of national and regional representative tournaments to ensure that skill development opportunities are offered to more young people.

• Supporting young people to play multiple sports.

• Raising awareness of the risks of overtraining and overloading.

The six organisations have also announced that they will be launching an integrated marketing campaign early next year, targeted at youth sport influencers such as parents, caregivers, coaches and administrators, to further raise awareness of the issues and help drive positive change.

With close to 600,000 young people participating across the five sports each week, the group believe that the collective action will be a ‘game changer’ for young people.

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