Balance is Better

We're losing kids from sport but you can change that! Sport leaders, coaches, administrators, teachers and parents – you all make a difference in keeping young people staying involved in sport for life and realising their potential at the right time

Balance is Better is an evidence-based philosophy to support quality sport experiences for all young people, regardless of ability, needs and motivations. 

Developed by the New Zealand sport system (e.g. sport organisations, leaders and administrators, schools, clubs, coaches, parents and volunteers), the Balance is Better philosophy supports the culture change needed to provide quality sport opportunities for tamariki (5-11) and rangatahi (12-18). 

The Guiding Principles

  1. All New Zealanders have the right to participate in sport in an inclusive, fair and safe environment.  
  2. All young people should receive a quality sport experience, irrespective of the level at which they are involved.  
  3. Aotearoa’s sport sector must work collaboratively to encourage the widest possible change for the wellbeing and sport participation of young New Zealanders. 
  4. Sport leaders, coaches, administrators, parents, and caregivers involved in youth sport must collectively lead attitudinal change.  
  5. All young people should be offered participation and skill development opportunities.  
  6. Bold and courageous leadership at national, regional and local levels is required to design and deliver quality youth sport participation and development opportunities.  
  7. All young people should be supported to participate in a range of activities and play multiple sports.  
  8. Talent Identification should occur later in young people’s development; reviewing the role and nature of national and regional representative selections and tournaments is an important step in ensuring elite sport attitudes and practices are introduced at developmentally appropriate times. 
  9. Adults need to proactively monitor and manage the workload (intensity and volume) of motivated young people to mitigate the risks of overtraining and overloading.


Balance is Better Principles pdf


Nuku Ora and Sport NZ encourages anyone responsible for delivering youth sport to adopt the principles of the Balance is Better philosophy.

For more information visit Balance is Better This website, supported by Sport NZ, provides tools and education for anyone involved in delivering youth sport. There are articles, interviews and case studies to give you the latest advice and coaching tips from trusted sources.


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