In an effort to tackle the growing number of teenagers dropping out, New Zealand’s five biggest sports organisations are now looking to make sports less competitive.
The governing bodies for cricket, football, hockey, netball and rugby have signed a statement of intent to implement major changes to the way kids play sports, making it more fun.
By making sports more inclusive and not just focused on winning, they hope that the number of children dropping out when they are teenagers is arrested.
The proposed measures include changing the competitive mindset in adults, reviewing national and regional representative tournaments and looking at how talent is identified with teenagers.
Whether the steps taken would provide the results remains to be seen. But the organisations are concerned with the growing number of children giving up sports as the grow older.
The group is of the opinion that early specialisation and over-emphasis on winning, among others have been a major drawback in the past.
There would be a stronger focus on training and supporting parents and coaches to think about what their children want from sports, instead of what the parents want.
The organisations would also support children playing multiple sports apart from raising alarm on excessive training.
They are committed to provide leadership support as well as player development opportunities.
Some sports have already stopped junior competition programmes for children under 13 years old, and some are reviewing their junior programmes.
With the changes, they believe sports in New Zealand would create more rounded and socially-balanced individuals.