Shoosh for Kids Week discourages negative and aggressive comments from the sidelines at children's sport

OUR GAME: Westlakes netball players, from left, Olivia Hebei, Ella Geach and Bree Carrall help deliver the 'Shoosh for Kids Week' message. Picture: Supplied
OUR GAME: Westlakes netball players, from left, Olivia Hebei, Ella Geach and Bree Carrall help deliver the 'Shoosh for Kids Week' message. Picture: Supplied

SHOOSH for Kids Week, the statewide initiative aimed at countering negative and aggressive comments on the sidelines at children’s sport, has been embraced by Westlakes District Netball Association.

Shoosh for Kids Week is a collaborative effort between the NSW Office of Sport and state and local sporting associations to promote positive sideline behaviour at junior sports events.

Negative and aggressive comments made by parents – often referred to as ‘ugly parent syndrome’ – have been shown to directly impact on participation rates and volunteer numbers. 

As many a parent told us when we were growing up, if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

The Shoosh for Kids campaign is designed to make junior sports a positive and supportive environment for all participants.

Between games on Saturday, Westlakes officials reminded all participants and supporters at the netball courts of the Shoosh for Kids catchphrases:

  1. Keep it fun, don’t take it too seriously, it’s not the world titles.
  2. Be enthusiastic but don’t scream and shout comments from the sideline.
  3. Emphasise trying hard, not winning.
  4. Cheer and acknowledge good play by all players on both teams.
  5. Accept decisions by officials, they are human and can make mistakes.
  6. Let coaches do the coaching.
  7. Always remember, volunteers run kids sports.
  8. Understand, uphold and support your club’s code of conduct.
  9. Allow your child to play for themselves.
  10. Think before you speak.

To help people shoosh, chewy Minties were handed around to spectators.

So remember:

  • If your comment is negative, then shoosh!
  • If your comment is directed at a player, then shoosh!
  • If your comment is directed at a referee or match official, then shoosh!
  • Reward good play by both teams with applause, if you can’t then shoosh!
  • Show respect to players and game officials. Remember, it’s their game!

Vicki Geach is the WDNA publicity officer.