Aim to sideline bad sports

Key messages will be promoted as part of Sport Otago's Sideline Behaviour Project aimed at...
Key messages will be promoted as part of Sport Otago's Sideline Behaviour Project aimed at stamping out bad sideline behaviour, sport development adviser Nicola Wood (left) and sport development coaching adviser Scarlett Hagen say. Photo by Samantha...

''Let success be your child's dream, not yours'' is one of the key messages that will be promoted as part of Sport Otago's Sideline Behaviour Project.

The initiative aims to stamp out bad behaviour on sports sidelines by encouraging people to think about their actions and the lasting effects they could have.

Sport Otago sport development coaching adviser Scarlett Hagen said the sideline behaviour of parents, spectators and fans could have a ''huge impact'' on those playing sport.

''It's about getting those key messages out there. Whenever you get passionate parents along to kids' sport you always hear stories and comments about negative behaviour on the sideline.

"A lot of the time it's parents shouting at the referee, coaches or their own children ... they don't realise how much damage those comments are doing to their confidence.''

Each of the 148 primary, intermediate and secondary schools and 67 sport organisations in Dunedin, Central Otago, Balclutha and Oamaru will receive posters with key messages, brochures and flyers with tips on how to have a positive sporting experience.

A code of conduct for spectators, players, coaches and officials and a players' agreement can be printed from the Sport Otago website for sport teams and clubs.

Ms Hagan said it was not only shouting from the sideline that was an issue - the car ride home could be something children ''dread the most''.

''Kids often dread the car ride home if they get told off for passing bad or not doing something right.

"Sideline behaviour can be hidden as well. It's not always just the shouting,'' she said.

The project is supported by the Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation and the Otago Community Trust.

Sport Otago chief executive John Brimble said the campaign was about ''accentuating the positive and encouraging our children, not living our own dreams through them''.

''This is an initiative to stamp out negative sideline behaviour and comment and promote a positive and supportive environment so our youth enjoy their sport and will carry on their participation.

"This is about getting people to think first about their actions and what they may say and, through this, reduce and remove abuse and negativity from the sidelines.''

Sport Otago is hosting a seminar on how to be a good sporting parent on September 9.

The parents of Ben Smith, Ali Shanks and Suzie Bates will explain how they supported their children to become champions.

• Visit for more information.



1) Respect the officials' decisions; be a good sport.

2) Show your love of sport by applauding all competitors and opponents.

3) Provide positive, supportive and motivating comments; sport is fun.

4) Be thankful to the coaches, umpires and officials who give up their time to help sport.

5) Appreciate all levels of sport engagement, regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability.

6) Remember that the game can be very different to take part in, compared with viewing it.

7) Do not curse, use derogatory language, show anger or aggression, or be excessively negative.

8) Be well-mannered at post-event functions and when speaking with stakeholders.

9) Do not criticise, ridicule or put pressure on players, the team, officials or spectators.

10) Do not drink alcohol in any sport environment. Keep sport venues smoke-free.

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