Posted in Featured News , Front Page News

A decline of the focus of physical education (P.E) in some schools across the country has academics and researchers highlighting the importance focus of out-of-school sport for youth.

However why and how can we re-engage kids who have become uninterested in sports. Statistics from the University of Wollongong show that 250,000 kids drop out of organised sport each year in Australia. This is an alarming statistic with psychological problems found in 10 – 20 per cent of kids who drop out of organised sports.

To begin to counter this problem at a local level, we need to look at some of the main reasons why they become disengaged.


  1. It’s not fun anymore

Clubs, parents and all teammates need to stick together and ask players: “Are you having fun?” Author of ‘Changing the Game project’ John O’Sullivan, believes being open with kids and find out why they’re not having fun is the key. Form good relationships with clubs, coaches and other parents so you can find out when players aren’t enjoying themselves. From the SMJFL, our players say the fun of the game is one of the most important reasons they like to play footy.


  1. It’s about the parents and not the kids

University of Queensland professor Matt Sanders told The Australian last year that parents should be aware of other spectators and object when they get too emotional.

“The parents have got very high expectations of their own kids, and when things don’t go to plan they become emotionally distressed,” Sanders said in The Australian.


The spectator behaviour is something most SMJFL players rate highly as something they want to change about playing football, and something as a league the SMJFL takes very seriously.


  1. It’s all about winning

Win or lose by 100 points? Well, it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. For players, the most important thing is participating. Kids who want to play sports want to be selected, and many clubs find ways to involve kids even when their players are injured, such as running water and encouraging them to still attend training. The majority of SMJFL players see winning as their least favourite thing about playing footy, which shows similar trends.


For the SMJFL, the welfare and enjoyment of our players and umpires is the priority. Clubs, parents, supporters and other players need to work together to check up on kids and keep discussions open about why they’re no longer enjoying playing footy.

Compassionate language and watching for overly ‘enthusiastic’ supporters on the sidelines are the keys things all players, coaches, friends and family should be taking on board.

Remember the club officials are there to help and should be your first point of call with any problems kids or parents are having with their kids in footy.

As the excitement of the Lightning Carnival and the finals season begins, parents, friends and players should be having fun and playing or watching a sport they enjoy.

From the SMJFL By-laws, these are for the parents and supporters to remind them of the proper conduct and while their child and/or team is playing footy.

Parents and Supporters

 Remember that you are there for the participants to enjoy the game.

 Encourage participation, but don’t force it.

 Teach that enjoyment is more important than winning.

 Never ridicule mistakes or losses – supporters are there to support not downgrade.

 Lead by example and respect all players, coaches, umpires and spectators – physical or verbal abuse will not be tolerated.

 Recognise all volunteers who are giving up their valuable time.

 Never publicly criticise umpires – raise personal concerns with club officials in private.

 Do not use ugly remarks based on race, religion, gender or ability – you’ll let down your family and yourself if you do – and many such comments are actually now illegal.