Collaboration is Key

The resumption of sport after Covid-19 restrictions has been intense. It seems that all sports are trying to get in as many games as they can. Perhaps to make us feel like we haven’t lost too much time. Either that, or they are trying to justify keeping our full fees.

During my work, I get to catch up with council sports ground curating staff. It has been a stressful juggling act for most. The tight time frames to get the grounds and ovals looking good again between the Winter and Summer seasons, made even more manic with the delayed Winter season.

In my local area at least, it seems that football (soccer) has well and truly deemed itself as a “year round” sport. Since when did you have kids missing cricket games this early in the season to try out for football sides?

In the industry we have told sports to “adapt to survive”. Be innovative with their sports structures and programs to get more participants in, and to keep them. Football has embraced this with their 5 and 6 aside Summer competitions. However, if you combine Summer competitions, soccer representative tryouts and the influx of private coaching (starting younger and younger for these footballers), I feel it is too much of one sport for kids this young.

If it was up to me, I would be trying to get sports working together to come up with a four season approach for kids. Give them a true variety of physical literacy. Let them embrace the joy of sport and allow them to socialise rather than specialise.….it might just keep them in the sport longer!

My daughter is insistent she plays league again next Winter, to which I replied “As long as you do some sport involving sprinting like athletics or lifesaving/ironman in the Summer”. Just like when my son said he wanted to play “proper cricket” I replied, “As long as you do gymnastics as well.”

It irks me to hear that boys as young as 13 years old are getting stress fractures in their backs. These boys are bowling way too much, the wear and tear on their growing bodies is evident. In all honesty, I have already forewarned my husband. If my son shows any symptoms of stress fractures in his back , I am making him quit for a year and focus on his swimming. Firstly, it will help his core muscles to support his back. And secondly, the last time I saw a 14 year old that tall, shoulders that wide and feet that look like flippers….. was Ian Thorpe.

The point I am trying to make, is that these other sports have the potential to help improve their main sport focus. It would prevent overload of the same skills and drills, be kinder on their bodies. Participating in a variety of sports will improve their whole body, speed and strength. So why are there not more sports looking at combining and creating a club that gives more than one sport option?

Local sporting clubs could use:

  • The same volunteers (there is currently a declining trend)
  • The same administration (if they combine, they may be able to afford a paid position)
  • One pool of money to create more quality facilities (including amenities and kiosks) and programs

Rather than competing for sponsors, sport grounds, volunteers and members- why not work together to pool the resourcing to achieve more?

Yvette Audet

Yvette Audet

Sport has been an integral part of my life, both work and personal. I grew up with sport, met my husband through sport and now as a mother, am involved more than ever in sport!

As a trainer and consultant in the industry I work with sporting groups and councils to create community facilities and partnerships aimed to increase sport participation.

I have created a range of articles from the perspective of a SPORTING MUM. The articles relate life skills and messages that we can get from being involved in sport. It’s uncanny how Sport can mirror life.


Involved in gymnastics, netball and athletics from an early age, Yvette experienced being part of a team as well as the unrelentless discipline in individual sport – in particular her Heptathlon days.

First became a mum in 2005 and remembers having the inner debate of how long should I play netball while pregnant? Doing quick breastfeeds in between netball games and hoping her uterus wouldn’t feel like falling out when she jumped for the ball.

Funny anecdotes aside, she has worked in the sport and recreation industry for almost 30 years and holds several certificates and degrees around the management and training of sport, community recreation, aquatics and fitness.

Through her various roles in profit and non-profit sectors, she has helped plan for programs, events and facilities to help get communities active through sport and recreation.