Kia Kaha, Kia Ora | Be Active, Be Well


What is Good Sports?

Good Sports is a tool to help parents, coaches, teachers, and sports administrators understand how they impact children’s sport experiences.

Sport New Zealand have partnered with Good Sports to help deliver their Balance is Better programme.

The shared aim of both campaigns is that every young person involved in sport deserves to have a positive experience, and develop a life-long love of sport or physical activity, irrespective of what level of sport they are involved in.

Why is it needed?

When examining how much a child enjoys their experiences in sport, research shows that the adults who support and impact those experiences, are hugely influential.

Unfortunately, a lot of adults (even despite the best of intent) behave in ways that have a negative impact on children’s experiences in sport.

Here is Jennifers story 

The Good Sports Spine ​​​​​​​

The Good Sports Spine is a sense making tool to help adults understand how they impact children’s sport experiences. The two different ‘climates’ should be seen as opposite ends of a continuum. Good Sports aims to encourage adults to move towards the Climate of Development.

The Good Sports spine was developed to help adults understand how their behaviour and actions can impact children’s sport - and where they might currently see themselves within the spine.

The spine has two different climates are viewed as opposite ends of the continuum. The Climate of performance (on the left) and the Climate of Development (on the right).

It is recognised that human behaviour can be messy, and people don’t fit into neat little boxes, and these shouldn’t be interpreted as fixed categories.

However, the Good Sports project advocates for adults to move towards the Climate of Development.

Every young person in sport deserves a Climate of Development where coaches, parents, teachers and administrators – as influencers in their lives can;

  • Define success as effort and improvement
  • Include everyone so they feel they matter
  • Share control with the kids
  • Design for learning through play/modified games
  • Enable children to have a variety of experiences

In doing so, a Climate of Development can better support our young people’s most basic needs (pictured in the centre of the spine) – Inspiration, Connection, Empowerment, Play and Variety.

How do you use the Good Sports Spine?

Think of the Good Sports spine as a map that lays out a range of common adult behaviours in youth sports and their relationship to children’s needs.

You can use the Good Sports Spine as a guide to think about your own interactions with children in sport and how your decisions affect your child or other children in sport.

  • Read through the Spine and think about your role as an adult involved in sport, whether you are a parent, coach, teacher, sports administrator (it’s likely that you are more than one)
  • Reflect on your past or current experiences in sport and try and see where you sat on each of the Good Sports boxes or rungs.
  • If you were to move towards a Climate of Development what is one thing, behaviour or action you might be able to change?   
  • Think about some future scenarios that you may encounter in your role or roles in children’s sport?   How might you be able to think or act differently?

For more information on Good Sports and Balance is Better

Good Sports

Balance is Better​​​​​​​

Any questions regarding Good Sports please contact Tim  or Kate