By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
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 (e.g. 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? (e.g. 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/
Step 4: If eligible, apply for financial assistance through KidSport Manitoba
KidSport is a national charity administered in Manitoba by Sport Manitoba that reduces financial barriers for families getting involved in organized sport. Now, KidSport Manitoba can provide funding assistance of up to $500 per child per year to help with sport registration fees through a confidential application process.
Learn more about eligibility and apply here. The application deadline for all regions is the 15th – or the last working day prior to the 15th of every month by 4:30 p.m..