Winter campaign urges spectators to ‘shoosh’ and keep junior sport safe for kids


More than 250 sports clubs and associations and 32 state sporting organisations have thrown their support behind the Shoosh for Kids winter campaign, which urges spectators at junior sport to keep sideline behaviour positive, so it remains fun for kids.

“When attending junior sport we need to remember, it isn’t the NRL, EPL or NBL – it’s community sport,” says Chief Executive of the New South Wales Office of Sport, Karen Jones.

“It’s a chance for kids to have fun, make friends and learn new skills. As adults, we wouldn’t perform our best if someone shouted at us. And as spectators, we need to ensure junior sport remains fun for kids so that they want to keep playing and can enjoy all the benefits that it offers. The message is simple, if you don’t have anything positive to say, Shoosh for Kids.”

The NSW-based Shoosh for Kids program provides free resources to clubs and associations to share the message and help keep sport fun for junior players. It’s a message that can also extend to school sporting teams.

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The Shoosh for Kids‘ message:

Shoosh for Kids isn’t about staying completely silent, it’s just about making sure we’re all positive.The five themes are:

  • Overarching: Think before you speak 
  • General participation: Keep it positive. Keep it fun. ​
  • Volunteer appreciation: Remember, volunteers run kids sport.​
  • Respecting the officials: Respect the referee
  • Supporting the coaches: Let coaches do the coaching.​

Encouraging positive parent interactions

West Tigers’ NRL player, David Klemmer has three boys who play footy at weekends says it’s “really important that parents are always positive on the sidelines”. 

“Our kids are playing footy because they enjoy being with their mates and having fun. It’s their time, by all means be encouraging but don’t spoil it by going over the top.”

Concord Burwood Wolves President Glenn Bruce agrees and says “spectators who yell abuse at referees, players and officials are not welcome at our home ground”.

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“Just let the kids play and always be respectful to the people who allow our kids to play in a fun, safe and inclusive sport: the volunteers,” he says.

“Keep the cheer, ditch the fear, stop the bully, let’s play footy!”

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