The Value of Sport
A question that, if explored, gets down to the root of how it provides value in your life.
Is sport the adventure of striving to reach the podium, the rush of coaching your team to the playoffs, or the sense of camaraderie you feel with your teammates?
Maybe it’s the joy you feel when you watch your child play, or the sense of reward when you give back to the sport as an official or volunteer. Sport might be how you connect to the people and places around you, and be a way to stay active and have fun with friends and family.
Whatever sport means to you, it has the power to have a profound impact on your life in all kinds of ways, including physically, mentally, and emotionally – and that is valuable now more than ever.
Kids who have fun playing a sport are more likely to stay active and healthy for their entire lives. They also have a better chance of becoming a top athlete. So make it fun, and make it quality!
Getting Kids Started in Sport
Let’s start with this resource: When is my child old enough for organized sports?
What is a quality sport program?
If you want your kids to develop skills and confidence while enjoying a particular sport or physical activity, register them in a quality sport program.
Sport Manitoba partners with over 70 Provincial Sport Organizations. When you sign up for one of their programs, you can expect:
- Well-rounded programming and training specific to age, skill level, and stage within the long-term development framework
- Trained and certified coaches
- Safe and inclusive policies
- Scholarship and grant opportunities
- …and so much more!
Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) are not-for-profit organizations that are recognized by their National Sport Organization (NSOs) as the governing body for their sport in their province. They run their own programs and often partner with regional associations, clubs, leagues and more to deliver their sport.
The role of the PSO is to:
- Lead, develop and promote the sport within the province
- Recruit and train coaches, officials, and volunteers
- Provide a competitive pathway for athlete development
- Follow national standards for quality sport programs (coach training, technical programming, safety, etc.)
- Sanction and host competitions and tournaments
- Selection of provincial teams that represent our province at regional and national championships, including the Manitoba Games teams and Team Manitoba that represents the province at Canada Games
- Provide members access to services (ex: insurance)
- Provide all members with enjoyable experiences in sport
So, where does Sport Manitoba come in? We work alongside the PSOs to create and plan for programs on an annual basis, and allocate funding that supports the development of athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers – the core of the amateur sport system.
Choosing a quality sport program in Manitoba
Your kids deserve a well-rounded introduction to sport, where they learn lifelong skills and have positive experiences that will keep them engaged in and playing sport for life.
Step 1: Choose a sport
Your first step in choosing a quality sport program is to determine which sport(s) to play! Take time to explore your child’s interests and preferences, and keep them in mind when discussing their involvement in sport. For children to continually pursue an activity, they need to find it enjoyable and intrinsically motivating. By researching opportunities and making their own choices, children can learn a great deal. Parents can be a big help by being open-minded and encouraging.
Step 2: Find a program
Your second step is to browse our list of recognized PSOs, to see which stand out. Then, visit the PSO’s website and search for youth and/or introductory programs. Not all programs are the same, so it’s important to know what to look for.
Step 3: Ask questions
Now that you have an idea of how to find and choose a quality sport program for your children, it’s time to do some research. While on the PSO’s website, review their policies and resources. Then reach out to program coordinators – this could be the PSO staff directly, or the person running programs at a club or community centre in your neighbourhood – and ask these questions before you sign up:
- Are you a member of your Provincial Sport Organization?
- Are your coaches trained through the National Coach Certification Program (NCCP), and Respect In Sport (RiS) certified?
- Do your programs follow the long-term development framework?
- Do your programs ensure the safety of participants through criminal record checks, safe sport and concussion protocols, and emergency action plans?
- Are all participants actively engaged in the game and included by teammates?
- Do you outline the structure of your programs? (ex: the skills to be learned, number of practices and games for the season, etc.)
- Are participants encouraged to try different sports?
- Do your programs include options to make activities more or less challenging based on participant’s skills and capabilities?
- Do your programs, especially those for younger participants, emphasize skill development over winning?
- Do your programs provide training and competition facilities that are safe, clean, and accessible?
- Do your programs provide equipment? Is it in good condition?
- Am I covered by insurance when I register for this program?
Our friends at Sport for Life developed a guide for quality sport programs at the national level. They even identify specific programs developed by National Sport Organizations for children between the ages of 2 and 12 that have Sport for Life values and principles embedded into their day-to-day operations, and they are recommended for the development of physical literacy in children.
Find all this and more, here: https://sportforlife.ca/quality-sport/
Staying in Sport
Our goal is to keep Manitobans active and participating in Sport for Life.
Financial resources can be found by following our links to our grants and our scholarships as well as KidSport. We also recommend talking to your sports’ Provincial Sport Organization (PSO) to see what financial resources they might be able to offer you.
- Sport Manitoba’s Sport Partners – Explore over 70 PSOs, including archery, soccer, sailing, ringette, fencing, and more!
- True Sport – Learn about the recipe for Good Sport and the 7 True Sport Principles.
- Sport for Life – The Sport for Life Society (S4L) is recognized as the global experts on the Sport for Life movement, Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD), and physical literacy development.
- LTAD for Parents – This document provides an overview of the LTAD model, describing each of the seven stages in easy-to-understand language. It gives solid and concrete advice on what parents can do to encourage their child’s current physical, and athletic development and suggests tips to help them assist their child as they move into the later stages of development.