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Making Sport Enjoyable for Kids

 soccer girls smiling

Sport provides a host of great benefits for kids – they learn new skills, develop confidence, make new friends, play in a team and get physically active. 

By making it a fun environment, with opportunities for success and encouragement for all, you can help kids really enjoy their sporting experiences and keep them involved for years to come. 

Whether your children are brilliant or just average, the games they play will help them grow.

What Parents Can Do

Parents can help create a positive sporting environment and reduce ‘sport rage’ by being good role models.

Encourage fair play

  • Cheer and acknowledge good plays by both teams
  • Thank the official, coach and other team after the game

Respect officials, coaches and opponents

  • Accept decisions by officials – they are human and can make mistakes
  • Deal with issues in a controlled and professional manner after the game

Keep your emotions in check

  • Be enthusiastic, but don’t scream instructions from the sideline
  • Don’t get into shouting matches with anyone
  • Never use bad language or harass others

Uphold your club’s code of conduct

  • Understand, uphold and support your club’s code of conduct for parents

Help kids enjoy sport

  • Emphasise trying harder and having fun – not only winning
  • Never ridicule or yell at a child for making a mistake

Children are always winners when you let them enjoy themselves. The important thing is to encourage them – not push them. 

What Kids Say About Sport

As parents, it’s good to keep in mind what children really want from playing sport. Here are some typical comments:

  • ‘I don’t mind if I don’t win every time I play – in every game someone has to lose.’
  • ‘My dad is great – he just watched.’
  • ‘I don’t really care who wins as long as I have fun – although it’s good to win at least once.’
  • ‘When spectators yell at the referees it’s like that person has wrecked the game for everyone.’
  • ‘I don’t play anymore because mum used to yell too much. I got sick of it.’
  • ‘I feel good when we score a goal. I guess the other team must feel the same way when they score.’

(Taken from the Central Coast Sport Rage seminar, 2003 and Kids Sport – A Very Real Guide for Grown Ups, Denis Baker.)