All Blacks support change of focus for youth sport – ‘It’s about trying new sports and staying involved’

Source: 1News

The All Blacks have put their support behind the change of focus for youth sport, saying it should all be “about trying new sports and staying involved”.

Sport New Zealand and five of the country's leading codes have come together to take a stand for youth sport, encouraging a shift away from over-competitive environments.

The chief executives of NZ Rugby, Netball NZ, NZ Cricket, Hockey NZ, NZ Football and Sport NZ have signed a statement of intent while detailing their plan to pave the way for change in the way young people experience sport.

"We're taking a stand to bring the fun and development focus back to sport for all young people," Sport NZ chief Peter Miskimmin said in a statement earlier today.

"This includes pushing back against early specialisation, over-emphasis on winning, and other factors that are driving young New Zealanders away from sport."

Top sporting codes shifting youth focus away from hyper-competitiveness to 'fun'

When asked at a press conference this afternoon if the move was too politically correct, All Black Matt Todd said he supported the change.

“I think at that younger age it’s about enjoying it. That’s why you play sport – because your mates are doing it,” Todd said.

“I think if you’re really good and you carry on that competitiveness comes, but it’s crucial to be in sport, whatever it is.

“The more sport you can be involved in at those younger ages the better it is for your development in all areas. If you lose kids because it gets too serious too early…we lose kids too early because it’s all about winning and being competitive.

“At that age it’s about trying new sports and getting involved and staying involved in it.”

Teammate Aaron Smith agreed, saying his advice to children is “any sport - play it, find out and then adapt to what your body gives you the opportunity to do”.

“Being a part of a team is a great thing that we don’t want kids to miss out on.”