AFL Kids First Today’s parents have an important role in the delivery and support of sporting activities for their own and other children. With it comes a clear responsibility to act in a constructive and encouraging manner at all times. Barracking and wanting your child to perform well is human nature, but it is critical that this should be done in a responsible manner avoiding the ugly parent syndrome at all times.
The AFL invests over $23 million annually in strategies that support the participation of 450,000 players throughout Australia. AFL Kids First is a program that has been designed for leagues and associations to guide parents so that both they and their children obtain the maximum benefit and enjoyment from their participation in junior programs and matches. AFL Kids First includes recommendations for leagues, associations and their clubs to manage situations where parents become over-enthusiastic and risk having a negative impact on their children’s activities. The basic principles of AFL Kids First are to remind parents that:
* Sport for children is a vital part of their growing up.
* Children like to win, but more importantly, they want to have fun.
* Parents need to set the right example at the sports ground, not just at home.
* Parents should be proud of their child’s efforts irrespective of the result.
* Sport is important to children’s self esteem.
The AFL has produced an operational manual for leagues, associations and clubs to drive these principles, and to remind parents of the vital responsibilities and to outline appropriate procedures in the event problems arise. The manual outlines the program’s objectives, presents the code of conduct appropriate to all parents, describes the education process for junior leagues and associations, and the conduct of an information session, the appointment of a coordinator to manage process, and the role and duties of the coordinator, parents, and administrators.
The continued growth and health of the game depends on junior programs and matches being conducted in a positive, encouraging and fun environment. AFL Kids First provides guidance for achieving this objective.