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.
major objective for junior sport is the development of life-long
participation in sport. As lifestyles becomes less physically active,
sporting habits and values formed in the growing years are essential in
helping people remain active and healthy.
Sport has many benefits including contributing to health and wellness
by providing increased activity levels, reducing stress and helping to
build a positive self-image.
An enjoyable and challenging junior sports experience can provide the entry to a life-long involvement in sport for:
Sport must be planned around what young people look for to make it a positive experience. In their words:
Young people over 12 years identify the essence of sport as centered around:
Self-discovery and self-improvement
Young people want a safe and supportive environment which encourages them to do their best. They do not enjoy sport when:
The number of young people leaving sport as teenagers, especially
girls, and particularly after finishing school is a major concern.
To encourage ongoing participation for teenagers, sports providers
need to offer activities in a varied and interesting way. Modify sport
to reduce competitiveness and emphasise the social and fun aspects (see Forming links – Junior sport policy).
Parents can help young people to balance the demands on their time if
this is a problem (e.g. manage school work, part-time jobs, family and
peers, entertainment etc).
The early sports experience is important. Sports providers need to
ask themselves if they are providing lots of opportunities for young
people to learn, experience success and have fun.
Above all, young people need to feel they are getting a fair go in their sporting opportunities.
It is important that sport be made to fit kids, and not the reverse.
Modified rules, games and equipment assist in doing this and help young
people to experience success (see Booklet 22 of this series, Sport
pathways – Junior sport policy).
Development programs and modified versions of sport (see Forming links – junior sport policy) offer young people:
Early sport experiences impact greatly on continued participation. All providers must:
Young people’s motivations for sport are influenced by:
This means people involved in junior sport must watch the things they
say and do as they reveal their attitudes about sport and how they see
their young people progress. Adults must remember that ‘being wanted’ is
as strong a motivator for young people as pride, improvement and having
fun. Adults must also be careful not to impose their philosophy of
elitism onto young people as this is a common cause of drop-out if they
do not want to pursue the elite pathway.
Sport has many benefits for young people that contribute to their
holistic development, and continue to advantage them as adults.
Experiences within junior sport are important for continued
participation. To motivate young people to make a lifetime commitment to
sport, we must:
Above all, young people must be treated with respect regardless of
their capabilities, and experience a safe and accountable environment
led by caring sport providers.
This information is part of a series covering the nine guidelines
outlined in the Junior Sport Framework (JSF) as developed by Sport
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:
These 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.