Kids and Winter Sport

Kids and Winter Sport

Now I don’t want to alarm anyone, but most winter sports clubs are about to start their season sign ups… Yes – I know winter still felt like it was here just a couple of weeks ago. But as someone who has a husband on a junior sports committee, I guarantee you, registrations are coming.

I do love sport. Not, sit around and watch it played by others type of love, but actually playing and being involved in it. I grew up playing sport. Hockey, touch footy, riding horses at Pony Club, swimming club. My brothers played soccer and rugby as well. My sister played netball. Some of my best childhood memories involve being part of some sporting team. Some of my best friendships as a kid and teen, came through playing sports.

Now as a mum, I am keen for my kids to play sport too. It is good for them in so many ways. It gives them natural ways to exercise and develop physical skills, but even better it helps them to grow as people. They have opportunities to develop social skills, learn how to work as part of a team, and become part of a community where they can be cared for and learn to care for others.

But how do you know where to start?

The Central West is particularly lucky to have heaps – and I mean HEAPS – of great sporting clubs and groups. It can a bit overwhelming to know where to go and which club to choose. Here is what I think.

Focus on building relationships.

My eldest was in kindy when we decided he was ready to give sport a go. In our case it was soccer. Partly, because that’s what Dad/husband still played and partly because many kids in his class were interested in soccer too. By joining a soccer team that had other families at school in it, our kids got a chance to know each other and develop friendships outside school, and we got regular opportunities to get to know the parents of my kids friends. Weekend sport made it easier to develop relationships for both us as parents and our kids, which in turn made it easier to do playdates, sleepovers and all those things our kids want to do with their friends.

As my kids have got older, other kids have joined their teams from outside school and they now have great friends from outside school as well that they get to see regularly. When they went off to high school, they had more friendships already started because of their sporting connections. It made the transition to high school much smoother.

The other benefit has been the amazing coaches that have come into their lives. It has been a real blessing to have adults that they see regularly, who have become great role models over time, especially as they have hit their teen years. I cannot tell you how many wonderful coaches are out there who genuinely care for the kids in their sports teams.

Which sport? Which club? Which team?

We have a policy at our house that we all (parents included) get one sport/activity per season. That means they can’t do soccer and AFL. Or touch footy and futsal. Our reasoning is, that we just do not have time to get all of us to trainings and games in the course of a week. It’s just too much. But it also means that we don’t get to know that particular community very well if we don’t invest our time into it.

In terms of picking a club to play with, we started with going to where we knew people. We built relationships and invested in the club to the point that our kids feel a lot of ownership of the clubs we are part of. I think that has been a really important thing for my kids. They feel part of a community. They are encouraged by those who are older members, and they feel a responsibility for those who are younger or smaller than them.

I could tell you which clubs I think are best around the place, but I really don’t know of any club that is bad. I don’t think joining a particular club is as important as finding a place where you can become part of a community.

Working out which team is the best fit for your child can be hard too. From experience though, each club has a registrar who has an intimate knowledge of the club and teams available and is best placed to help you work out where your child will do well. These people have massive jobs and volunteer their time – often many hours – for the sake of kids getting a chance to play sport and be part of a team that suits them. Often they work with registrars in other clubs too, so that no child misses out. You can trust that they have your childs’ best interests at heart, and everyone else too, so please, be nice to them.

Where do I find info?

Just about every sport in the Central West has a governing body of some description. On their websites you will be able to find all the clubs that are available for that sport as well as contact details for each club registrar or committee. You will find some listed below. This is by no means an extensive list, and it does focus on Orange I’m sorry, as that’s where I am, but I’m pretty sure we all know how to use Goggle these days. Facebook is also a great way to find out about registration days and sign ups.

Soccer –

Netball –

Hockey –

Rugby League –

Rugby –


Last thoughts.

Every single person you will deal with over the course of the winter sports season, from the club committees, to the coaches and team managers is a volunteer. Every single one of them is as busy as you are and have jobs and families and other stuff going on. Every single one of them is doing their absolute best, I guarantee it. Every single one of them investing in the sport for the sake of the kids, including yours. So a few quick tips for everyone to help out our volunteers.

  • If they ask for help in some way, please do your best to help. There is nothing worse than asking for a hand and hearing crickets.
  • Reply to the group text. Even if it’s just a thumbs up, let coaches know that you’ve seen the communication they’ve taken the time to send to you.
  • Help your kids to say thank you. Each game, training, presentation. Go and say thanks. It can mean a lot.
  • Don’t just drop your kids and run if you can help it. Don’t sit in the car while they train or play. Be involved where you can be. Cheer, wrangle kids so that they’re all listening, pick up equipment. Don’t leave it all to the coaches.

Two last comments…

Encourage your kids to be kind. It is easy for any kid to get caught up with winning and being the best on the team. But it is so heartwarming when we see kids help the new player, or encourage someone who just let a goal in or hang back to help pack up after training. Encourage your kids to be kind and remember to lead by example. It’s Saturday sport, it’s supposed be fun as well as competitive.

Speaking of fun. I know winter sport can be a pain. Come August, I am DONE with winter sport and the cold and the constant getting kids places and the semi bad coffee. But I have gained so much in terms of friendships and community. Saturday sport can be as fun for you, as it is for your kids.

Jodi Towns

I am an Orange Local - born and raised in the Central West. I am married, three great kids, Christian, photographer and coffee lover. Love the Central West, except come August when I am sick of winter....

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