Poor player and spectator behaviour at junior sport matches is set to be quashed, with more than 600 sporting clubs and associations signed up to take part in the Shoosh for Kids campaign.
Shoosh for Kids is a collaborative effort launched by the NSW Office of Sport and supported by grassroot sporting organisations and local councils. The initiative aims to promote positive behaviour during social sport games in an attempt to keep kids participating in and enjoying sport.
Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said with larger groups back at community sport it’s essential to keep sideline comments and behaviour positive.
“With a full season to look forward to this winter, the Shoosh for Kids message is more important than ever,” Mr Lee said.
“It’s great to see larger crowds and families back at community sport, and we all have a responsibility to ensure it is a fun, safe environment for children. One of the best ways we can do this is to keep comments positive so that kids want to keep playing and enjoying the benefits that sport offers.”
NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) CEO David Trodden is a founding partner of Shoosh for Kids and is passionate about creating and maintaining an enjoyable and positive environment.
“We [want to] ensure kids want to come back each week, and most of all, have fun playing!” said Mr Trodden.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor Doug Hawkins OAM has spoken to the campaign, saying council realises the importance of sport, with many young people from across the Shire participating in a range of activities. Mayor Hawkins encourages local sporting organisations in the region to support the initiative, and for parents and spectators to understand the important of it.
“The general rule is, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything,” he said.
“My message to players and spectators is be encouraging to players and officials from both sides, support and respect referees, and if you can’t think of anything positive to say, then say ‘Shoosh’ said Mr Hawkins.
Poor behaviour, including the abuse of officials, can lead to a reduce in volunteer numbers and in some instances reduced participation rates.
“When young people are victims of poor experiences, it negatively impacts their enjoyment of competitive sport”.
In addition to sporting organisation, a network of 65 PCYC clubs across NSW have joined the Shoosh for Kids campaign for the first time, expanding the reach to over 70,000 youth who attend clubs and programs.
PCYC NSW CEO Dominic Teakle said the organisation was proud to join forces with the Office of Sport to help address negative spectator behaviour.
“The campaign aligns with one of our fundamental values – Respect – so we’re excited to be on board with this fantastic initiative led by the NSW Government,” Mr Teakle said.
Shoosh for Kids Winter Awareness Month will run from 1 to 31 May 2021, with free resources available to clubs and associations that sign up throughout the campaign.
For more information or to sign up, visit: sport.nsw.gov.au/shooshforkids