Sport Nova Scotia launches campaign against specializationSport Nova Scotia
A new campaign co-developed by Hockey Nova Scotia and Soccer Nova Scotia launched last week, targeting parents of athletes aged 12 and under to generate awareness of the dangers of early sport specialization.“Early sport specialization is on the rise in youth sport, and it’s a disturbing trend. So many parents feel the pressure to force their kids ‘all in’ too young. Parents are led to believe that more is better, that they are giving their child an edge by narrowing in on one sport, or even that it is a matter of competitive survival,” says Brad Lawlor, Executive Director of Soccer Nova Scotia. “We are creating a generation of injured, burned out kids who stop sports altogether, leading to a lifetime of health issues.”
Darren Cossar, Executive Director of Hockey Nova Scotia, says, “Studies consistently document that multi-sport play is the way to go, that the children who are being active in a variety of ways are the ones who thrive, not only in sport but in life. Unfortunately, these facts are not broadly known and parents are often pushed in the wrong direction. Often the push comes in the form of peer pressure from other sport parents or coaches who are equally uninformed or, worse, from private companies who profit from the hype.”
The education campaign called “Get More From Sport” was developed with support from Sport Nova Scotia. The campaign includes a microsite www.getmorefromsport.ca, videos, social media campaign, billboards, posters, and broadcast PSAs. The campaign concept centers on a troupe of sport parents who meet in a support group setting to solve obstacles.
Amy Walsh is the director of sport development with Sport Nova Scotia. She says, “The goal of the campaign is for every parent of an athlete aged 12 or under to visit this site – see the evidence, read the facts. Take the test. Hear from sporting greats. See the movement. From there, parents will have the information to make the best decisions for their growing athletes. Hopefully, the grown-ups will worry less about the score, or the level, or ‘getting ahead,’ and simply foster a love of sport that keeps children active for life.”
The campaign has already garnered endorsement from numerous national sport organizations, provincial sport organizations, advocacy groups, athletes and sport leaders. It is also supported by the government of Nova Scotia, Support4Sport, and RBC Learn to Play Project.