Pushy parents ‘put schoolkids off sport’

The Dominion Post 19 July 2008

Children  are being driven away from the sports field by overbearing parents placing too much pressure on them to perform, a top sport and recreation official says. Lawrie Stewart, a senior adviser for Sport and Recreation New Zealand – the Government body charged with supporting sport and exercise – said many schoolchildren no longer found sport enjoyable. Speaking at the School Trustees Association conference in Christchurch yesterday, Mr Stewart said the pressure on young people to achieve high standards of performance athletically was causing many to ditch sport.

“Yes, competition is healthy but at that young age the result isn’t as important as the fun of play. Five-year-olds should be experiencing play and games. Some parents were pressuring young children to hold adult expectations about their performance, Mr Stewart said. “The adult structure and expectations of sport are being driven into a younger and younger age group. They want the best for their kids, but sometimes they let their own views of what sport should be get in the way of what kids’ idea of sport is.”