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Stamping out the ugly side of community sport

Stamping out the ugly side of community sport
June 21, 2014

With New Zealand’s school and junior club winter sport season underway, a new campaign has been launched to stamp out poor sideline behaviour by supporters.

The campaign, Be Part of the Team, is a joint initiative by Sport Hawke’s Bay, Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, Central Football, Basketball Hawke’s Bay and Hawke’s Bay Hockey.

Sideline behaviour has gained plenty of media coverage recently and Sport Hawke’s Bay Chief Executive Colin Stone said incidents of poor sideline behaviour is having a negative effect to those playing and it was time “sideline supporters improved their behaviour”.

Stone explained “supporters on the sideline need to realise that they are part of the game that’s being played. Their attitude can have an impact on what’s happening and we want that attitude to be positive not negative.

“The thrust of the campaign is that parents, other family members and friends watching from the sideline are actually part of the team, and they have an important role to play.

“We know of instances of young people giving up sport because of the attitude of their supporters on the sideline and that’s the last thing we want. Sport is about having fun.”

The campaign has been financially backed by the Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sport Trust, which was set up to promote sport participation by youth.

Trustee Tony Maidens states “most weekends I see examples of supporters on the sideline not behaving and the impact it has on kids, so we need to stamp it out.

“Sideline misbehaviour is unacceptable, we want everyone to enjoy themselves, whether that’s playing or watching.”

The initiative was developed following a report by Edmond Otis, a senior sports and recreation lecturer at EIT Hawke’s Bay.

The report recommended that the best way to combat sideline behaviour, is to ensure that everyone at a sports game, is a participant and understands their role.

Sport Hawke’s Bay and Otis set up a working group of sport codes that wanted to join in and developed a unified campaign.

Otis explains “the sideline behaviour issue is an important topic in all sports from local to international.

“The approach we are using takes fundamental principles, that we have seen be effective, and helps the different codes apply them in a way that is relevant to their people and environment.

“Sideline behaviour has an impact on all aspects of the game and can lead to withdrawal from sport as a participant, coach or an official.

“Buy-in will get the results that our athletes, parents, fans, coaches, referees, and communities want.”

Otis adds that it is vital to get sport codes involved early “it’s been great that codes such as rugby, football, hockey and basketball are showing leadership and it’s now important other codes adopt the initiative too.”

In launching the campaign codes of conduct cards will be handed out to supporters at major sport facilities throughout Hawke’s Bay.

Councils throughout Hawke’s Bay are supporting the initiative and it’s hoped that signage can be placed at the various council-owned sports parks and venues.

The messages on the cards and posters are: They’re kids, coaches are volunteers, refs are human, it’s a game and let success be their dream.

Stone concludes “it’s all about encouraging those on the field to enjoy themselves, not just the players but coaches and referees.”

For further information please contact Kevin Murphy at Sport Hawkes Bay 027 297 0238.

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