Three approaches

Creating better quality experiences for participants
Infographic showing how 3 approaches drive quality activity

Sport and active recreation creates happier, healthier people and better connected communities. We know from our Value of Sport research that, to reap the full benefits of physical activity, people need quality experiences that increase their confidence, competence and motivation to participate in sport and physical activity for life.

Increasing participation in physical activity is a complex challenge, especially among those who are participating at lower-than-average levels. Sport NZ’s Community Sport Strategy seeks to meet this challenge by focusing on young people (ages 5 to 18) and using a participant focus to enrich New Zealanders’ lives through sport, active recreation and play. 

The Three Approaches documents outline the importance of using evidence, community input and a holistic approach to support more New Zealanders into a lifelong love of being physically active.

Sport NZ’s three approaches to create better quality experiences that grow individuals’ physical literacy and encourage ongoing participation are:

The Three Approaches used together are very powerful, but can also be used individually. 

Questions to consider when using the three approaches

We have developed the following questions to consider when thinking about how to use the Three Approaches. The terminology, language used, and how it ‘looks on the ground’, should reflect the people and communities you’re working with.

Where should you start?

How will you identify and prioritise your audience?

Critical questions to consider

  • Who are the people and the community we want to work with (consider age, gender, location, participation)?
  • Where can we see a readiness for change in this community?
  • What is our baseline (who’s participating now), and do we have a clearly defined objective or idea of what success looks like?
  • What parameters will we use to determine where you should work (eg participation numbers, demographic groups)?

Ideas to get you started

  • What are the most valuable resources, strengths and assets you have available? Map the answers to generate the foundations of a plan.
  • Check out existing data sources for information specific to your context including:

What do you understand about the local environment?

Taking the time to understand the community you’re operating in will influence how you shape your activity.

Critical questions to consider

  • What information, local knowledge and voice of the participant can we access to understand this community better and to know if what we can offer will be useful to them?
  • What are the community’s strengths, resources and assets? What is already working well and how can we build on this?
  • What other activities exist in our local areas that cater for this community?
  • What existing or new networks can we connect with to contribute to our understanding?

Ideas to get you started

  • Identify other community organisations that are engaging your target market and speak with them (this doesn’t have to be other sport and recreation organisations).
  • Identify what is working well in the community you want to work with and talk to the people involved. Ask targeted questions to understand what, why and how this has been successful.
  • Conduct a web search of similar activities in the area.
  • Speak with local schools and seek their input.

How can you understand the strengths and needs of the people you work with? 

Taking the time to understand the needs of your target audience will support the development of a quality participant experience.

Critical questions to consider

  • How does the holistic nature of the people you will be working with affect their participation choices? Consider:
    • physical
    • social
    • emotional
    • cognitive
    • spiritual

Ideas to get you started

  • Learn from other agencies that work with the people you will be working with; can you share existing data?
  • Create opportunities to talk directly with the people you will be working with, for example:
    • Focus groups in targeted settings (eg schools, youth groups or churches, community interest groups, local shopping area)
    • Keen youth willing to ‘survey’ their peers about their needs, wants, motivators
    • Post questions on the Facebook page of a local community group. Find out what matters to the people you wish to work with.

Has the activity been implemented as intended? 

Constant reflection, learning and adaptation are necessary to ensure a participant focus is maintained and opportunities remain relevant.

  • Critical questions to consider
  • Is the activity being delivered as originally planned? Did we develop a logic model and do what was planned? Was it done well?
  • What feedback and discussion loops can we build into the initiative to help us understand and change our practice?
  • Are we on track to achieve the objectives we set out to achieve, based on our intervention logic?
  • What’s working well, what’s not and why?

Ideas to get you started

Check out: ‘Making sense of evaluation: A handbook for everyone’ 

  • Develop a logic model to explain how your programme will work.
  • Get the best possible insight through combining multiple sources of information (both qualitative and quantitative).
Examples of how you might do this are:
  • Using registration forms to track attendance and other useful baseline details relating to your objectives
  • Seeking formal and informal feedback from participants and activity leaders at various stages, for example, paper-based or online feedback forms or informal conversations
  • Tracking progress financially against budgets or targets.

How do you know if you're making a difference? 

Outcome evaluation enables you to assess if the activity achieved the changes you wanted to see.

Critical questions to consider

  • Do we have a clearly defined objective or idea of what success looks like?
  • Is what we are doing meeting the holistic nature of people (physical, social, emotional, cognitive and spiritual)?
  • Are the changes we are seeing attributable to the initiative?

Ideas to get you started

Check out: ‘Making sense of evaluation: A handbook for everyone’ 

  • Be practical – identify a small number of questions that are most useful for determining the effectiveness of your initiative and that are feasible to answer.
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