How to support juniors and grow the next generation of members.
To ensure sport is attractive to young people, clubs and
organisations must fully understand why young people participate in, and
drop out of sport.
This resource provides some simple guidelines for making sport more
youth-friendly, as well as showcasing initiatives that have successfully
addressed youth participation.
In 2013 the Australian Sports Commission released a report Children: Market Segmentation for Sport Participation.
The market segmentation study provided key insights outlining how the
sport sector can influence motivations and behaviours that children
have towards sport and physical activity.
The most important resource in junior sport is the people who
provide the infrastructure for the delivery of activities and set the
social atmosphere around sport.
they do is important because the quality and quantity of their
involvement has an enormous impact on the sport experience of young
Codes of Behaviour (see Resources) have been developed for the important roles in junior sport and these should be adopted by all sports.
To enjoy their sport, young people should be able to:
To promote their
life-long involvement, young people should also be encouraged to take on
volunteer roles (e.g. coach, official).
All participants should
be given a copy of the Code of Behaviour for Players so they know what
is expected of them. Also displaying a poster of the code will help
remind everyone of his or her obligations.
All young people have a responsibility to practice fair play by:
and carers are a major influence on a young person’s initial
involvement in sport. Their support is important and their opinions and
actions play a large part in choosing:
parents appreciate the benefits of junior sport and actively support it
by taking on roles in administration, officiating and coaching as well
as the parental roles such as ‘taxi-driver’.
Other parents feel
they are unable to get involved. However, involvement can be rewarding
for parents and is important in keeping young people participating.
Administrators can motivate parents to help by:
Parents make a difference to the way sport is delivered and can assist best by:
teachers, in particular physical education teachers, frequently provide
young people with their first experiences in sport.
Teachers can provide valuable support by:
Quality coaching is
vital in sport and to young people receiving the best possible education
and experience from their sports participation. The coach fills many
roles including leader, psychologist, friend, teacher, personnel
and role model.
Important aspects of coaches’ behaviour are set out in the Code of Behaviour.
The multi-faceted role of a coach means they need to develop a wide range of competencies.
The most identifiable role of the coach is helping to educate young people in:
Details are covered in Booklet 24 of this series, ‘Quality coaching – Junior sport policy’.
Organising effective sport requires careful planning and covers:
For young people to have positive sport experiences, their coaches must:
educational role of officials is important in the development of junior
sport participants. Their essential tasks can be grouped into two broad
their management of rules and procedures, officials provide a safe and
secure environment to protect players from physical injury and mental
abuse. This contributes to player satisfaction, enjoyment and
Officiating is a highly complex task because rules fall into two categories:
experience, young people learn how to play within these rules. Progress
through the sport ranks depends on their ability to meet performance
demands and social behaviour expectations.
Officials play a key
role in teaching participants how to play within the acceptable range of
rules rather than simply to play by the rules.
young people about acceptable behaviour and the concept of fairness. In
some sports, skilled referees spend a lot of time in direct
communication with players offering encouragement and advice.
Effective leadership and management skills are essential for every organisation.
play a primary role in the management of the sport, recruiting
volunteers, training all personnel and ensuring leadership succession.
essential in sport because they handle general organisation or specific
components of the sport (e.g. managing a team).
The following are important management roles:
is heavily dependent on volunteers, however, recruiting and retaining
volunteers can be difficult. To make it a positive experience for
volunteers they should be:
Establish links with high schools and train students to assist primary school students.
has a high turnover of personnel making effective training important.
Reduce the loss of information and skills when personnel leave an
organisation by providing:
training programs for all roles in sport are becoming more
sophisticated as they include more coverage of socio-emotional aspects
of involvement in addition to the essential information on functional
A range of different delivery methods, including online training, caters best for the diverse training needs of personnel.
leadership is crucial for rewarding sport experiences for young people.
Current coaches, officials and administrators need to plan for
As well as current staff and volunteers, include young people in planning. Benefits are twofold, for example:
strategies in place takes advantage of the window of opportunity while
young people are still participating to encourage them into leadership
Nurture potential leaders by making sure they have
successful and satisfying leadership experiences, especially junior
Provide leadership training and resources but be careful not to over-manage or control sport leaders.
satisfaction includes feelings of competency, autonomy and
responsibility, so allow leaders to experience these feelings and let
them lead – don’t force them to be followers!
are important in sport, acting as coaches, officials and
administrators. They work to benefit others, often putting back into
sport after having been a participant.
The delivery of junior
sport would not be possible without the continuing commitment of
volunteers in all roles and at all levels of competition.
Volunteers have a responsibility to ensure that sport is conducted in a safe and fair manner.
Volunteering can be a satisfying way for young people to extend their involvement in sport.
People in many roles contribute to the total sports experience for young people. In different ways they:
Most importantly, a positive experience is required for young people to maintain a lifetime commitment to sport.
information is part of a series covering the nine guidelines outlined
in the Junior Sport Framework (JSF) as developed by Sport Australia.
The information in this booklet has been reproduced with the permission of Sport Australia.
The guidelines cover topics to address the needs of young people in sport and include:
booklets outline the main points of the guidelines to assist in the
delivery of best practice in junior sport and to encourage young people
to make a life-long commitment to sport.
A complete copy of the JSF is available on the Sport Australia website.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.