It’s no secret we have seen some bad sporting behaviour on the sidelines in recent times. Unfortunately, this behaviour is not new and it’s not isolated to any one community, club, or sport. It’s a societal issue we need to address. Physical and verbal abuse is not accepted in the workplace or at home, therefore, our sporting sidelines should be no different.
In 2014, we launched our sideline behaviour initiative in collaboration with Hawke’s Bay Rugby, Hawke’s Bay Netball, Central Football, Basketball Hawke’s Bay, Hawke’s Bay Hockey and Volleyball Hawke’s Bay, with the support of the Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sports Trust, Eastern Institute of Technology and recently Eastern and Central Community Trust.
This campaign originally focussed on the sideline as the setting of bad behaviour, however, the poor attitudes and beliefs of parents, coaches and administrators that are too often seen in sport shows the issue is wider than just the sideline as we see more scenarios of player poaching, a win at all costs mentality, student-athlete burnout, and professional scouting from as young as 14.
We have extended our work within the community to address these attitudes and to empower communities to better understand the key issues in children’s sport, better understand the needs of children in sport, and to champion positive change in local communities to ensure their children are having positive sporting experiences.
The attitudes of adults aren’t isolated to just children’s sport as we have witnessed abuse in senior sport, and abuse towards officials. When this form of abuse happens within sport, our communities, schools, and clubs need to unite and make a clear stance to show this behaviour and attitude is not acceptable, and won’t be tolerated. Sanctions and bans address the issue in the short term, however we need to influence the underlying attitudes in communities to have a longer lasting impact.
Our approach towards these behaviours is very much an awareness approach to generate conversations with communities to champion positive behaviour and values. Some clubs, communities and organisations already champion this area therefore we aim to add value through developing strategies for engaging parents, and coaches on difficult issues in community sport.
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