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Martin Snedden on youth sport

Video transcript

I think that the main sports are now changing their philosophies particularly to younger kids and and really zeroing in on the fact that it is about fun.

Skill development is part of fun, but it's about trying to give as many kids the chance rather than trying to turn little 13-year olds into Black Caps or All Blacks or Silver Ferns. And they will stay in sport longer, and if they can stay there longer then they will have an opportunity to develop whatever talent they've got.

But if they don't have any talent so what, they're still going to be involved in something that's really healthy to be involved in, that is going to contribute to their well-being as young adults and and older adults.

There's going to come a moment in time when you've been tested as a parent. Your kid will come home from school and will say to you “mum, dad…I missed out on the selection of the top team”. This is going to test you this is when you have to stand up and say “I recognise your disappointment for this”, but you're going to point them towards the upside, that's the fact that they are going to get opportunities with other teams playing with kids in their maturation are about the same level of ability as they are. They're going to get more opportunities doing this. Your responsibility as a parent is to demonstrate that being in the top team is not the be-all and end-all.

My message to to coaches and parents understand why kids are playing sport, watch them, listen to them, let them have fun. They've got plenty of time in their childhood to develop these skills. All you're gonna do if you get over enthusiastic and you push them too hard, is you're gonna push them away from sport. Make sure it's all about the kid rather than about your own own desires.

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