Winter and summer sports to align seasons

Photo: File image / Getty
Photo: File image / Getty
Young people in Christchurch will find it easier to play organised sports over both winter and summer after a new agreement was reached between the codes to create a gap at the end of each season.

It will also give Christchurch City Council more time between the sporting seasons to prepare the playing fields, said council recreation and sports services manager David Bailey.

"With winter and summer competitions often overlapping, sports field maintenance has been a challenge so we are pleased that sporting codes have now agreed there should be a gap between winter and summer sports.

"It will give young players a true gap between seasons and, importantly, it will give us a renovation window in the autumn and spring to undertake sports field maintenance in preparation for the next season of play."

Under the memorandum of understanding signed by the council, School Sport Canterbury, Primary Sport Canterbury and 12 Canterbury sporting codes, the junior and youth winter sport season will start on April 30, at the earliest, and it will finish on September 4, at the latest.

Summer sport will start on, or after, October 15 and will end by March 25.

Sport Canterbury sport development advisor Mike Peacock, who led the initiative, said the benefits of aligning the winter and summer sport season dates are numerous.

It will help reduce player burnout and over-use injuries, give young players more flexibility to play multiple sports, and ease the pressure on families.

"Having a clear break between winter and summer seasons makes the transition between playing both winter and summer sports so much more manageable, resulting in less challenges for families and actually allowing everyone to have some ‘down-time’, plus the ability to prepare to look forward to each new season more," Peacock says.

"We also hope that all aspects of this change positively impact volunteer coaches, officials and administrators, who likewise, suffer burnout and fatigue as a result of workload and conflicting long seasons."

The sports which signed the memorandum include netball (Christchurch Netball Centre, Selwyn Netball Centre and Mid-Canterbury Netball Centre), Canterbury Rugby Union, Canterbury Rugby League, Canterbury Basketball, Canterbury Hockey, Mainland Football, Canterbury Cricket, Canterbury Rowing, Tennis Canterbury, Athletics Canterbury, Canterbury Softball and Touch Canterbury.

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