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The campaign

The campaign

A public awareness campaign targeted at those delivering youth sport.

Keep up with the play is a public awareness campaign targeted at those delivering youth sport, parents, coaches and administrators, to raise awareness of why we’re losing young people from sport and what can be done about it.

The campaign, launched on 25 February 2020, is driven by collective action and commitment by five of the largest participation sports in New Zealand (Rugby, Cricket, Football, Netball and Hockey) with support from Sport NZ.

Where it originated from

The Keep up with the play campaign is informed by Balance is Better – an evidence-based philosophy developed by Sport NZ that focusses on the importance of fun and skill development to keep young people in sport and enable them to reach their full potential.

Rugby, Cricket, Football, Netball and Hockey along with Sport NZ collectively committed to a Statement of Intent in September 2019 to drive bold changes in youth sport underpinned by a series of commitments.

The launch of the campaign in February 2020 intends to create an environment that supports the need for change, taking the messages to everyone involved in delivering youth sport, specifically parents, coaches and administrators.


The campaign addresses five behaviours affecting youth sport:

  1. Early specialisation is good for development > multiple sports and a variety of skills are good for development.

  2. Early success leads to adult success > young people develop at different ages and stages.

  3. Applying an adult sporting paradigm to develop youth participants > understanding how youth learn and play by applying a participant centric approach.

  4. If you’re not in the top team, there is no point continuing > involvement in sport at any level or stage in life is better for overall wellbeing.

  5. The harder and more often you train, the better you are > over training and over playing can lead to injury and burn out in young players.

Kiwi sporting champions are getting behind the campaign and sharing their living proof stories.


Support the Keep up with the play campaign by sharing the messages at with sport leaders, parents, coaches, teachers and administrators – everyone has a part to play in keeping kids in sport.

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