We look up to our champions and we remember and respect the sporting heroes of yesterday – a great many of whom are revered for their deeds on the athletic field. Winning, of course, is a vital part of that tradition – but not as important as the spirit of Australian sport. All that spirit stems from our commitment to fair play. The Australian Sports Commission has developed Codes of Behaviour for use in sporting programmes for children. Little Athletics is a community activity that utilizes Athletics to help foster the development of Australia’s children, and as such totally endorses these codes for all its participants.
A child’s basic training in good sportsmanship comes from the home!
- If children are interested, encourage them to participate. However, if your child is not willing, do not force him or her.
- Focus upon your child’s effort and performance rather than the overall outcome of the event. This assists your child in setting realistic goals related to his/her ability by reducing the emphasis on winning.
- Teach your child that honest effort is as important as victory, so that the result of each competition is accepted without undue disappointment.
- Encourage your child to always participate according to the rules.
- Never ridicule or yell at your child for making a mistake or losing a competition.
- Remember children are involved in organised sports for their enjoyment not yours.
- Remember that children learn best by example. Applaud good performances by all athletes.
- If you disagree with an official, raise the issue through the appropriate channels rather than question the official’s judgment and honesty in public. Remember, most officials give their time and effort for your children’s enjoyment.
- Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from children’s sporting activities.
- Recognise the value and importance of volunteer coaches. They give up their time and resources to provide recreational activities for your child.
The best coaches are more interested in their athletes’ well-being and development, not whether they win or lose.
- Be reasonable of your demands on the young athlete’s time, energy and enthusiasm. Remember that they have other interests.
- Teach your athletes that the rules of the sport are formal agreements, which no one should evade or break.
- When coaching, group athletes according to age, height, skill and physical ability whenever possible.
- Avoid over-attention to the talented athletes. The “just-average” athletes need and deserve equal time.
- Remember that children compete for fun and enjoyment and that winning is only part of their motivation.
- Never ridicule or yell at the children for making mistakes or losing in a competition.
- Ensure that all equipment and facilities meet safety standards and are appropriate to the age and ability of the athletes.
- Scheduling & length of coaching practice times & competitions should take into consideration the maturity level of the children.
- Develop each athlete’s respect for the ability of opponents, as well as for the judgment of officials and opposing athletes.
- Follow the advice of a sports medicine physician when determining when an injured athlete is ready to compete/practice again
- Remember that children need a coach they can respect. Be generous with your praise when it is deserved & set a good example.
- Make a personal commitment to keep yourself informed on sound coaching principles and the principles of growth and development of children.
It isn’t whether you win or lose, but how you play the game!
- Compete and train for the “fun of it”, not just to please your parents or coach.
- Play by the rules.
- Never argue with the officials’ decision. Let your Centre Manager or Coach ask any necessary questions.
- Control your temper – no “mouthing” or, breaking equipment, throwing implements or other equipment.
- Work equally for yourself and your team in relay and team events, your team’s performance will be better and so will your OWN.
- Be a good sport. Cheer all good performances, whether your club mates or your opponents.
- Treat all athletes as you would like to be treated. Do not interfere with, bully or take unfair advantage of any athlete.
- Remember that the goal of training or competition is to have fun, improve your skills and feel good. Do not be a show-off or brag about your own performances.
- Co-operate with your coach, club mates and opponents, for without them you don’t have a competition.
Administrators, Officials & Spectators
In Little Athletics virtually all these are Parents temporarily occupying another role. Don’t adopt a different code because your role has changed.
Breaching The Code of Behaviour
The code of behaviour as set down is to be followed by all athletes. Any breaches of this code will be dealt with in the following manner. In the first instance, the Centre Manager/Liaison Officer will speak with the offending athlete’s entire age group. In the second instance, the athlete themselves will be spoken to by the Centre Manager/Liaison Officer and in the third instance, the Centre Manager/Liaison Officer will speak to the athlete along with the athlete’s parents and the athlete will be excluded from the event they are currently participating in. Should a further breach occur the athlete will be excluded from the night’s competition.