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Netball Wellington Centre

Balance is Better

Below information is borrowed from Balance is Better website administered by Sport New Zealand/Ihi Aotearoa.

Balance is Better is an evidence-based philosophy to support quality sport experiences for all young people, regardless of ability, needs and motivations. It is about young people staying involved in sport for life and realising their potential at the right time.

The Balance is Better philosophy has been developed by the NZ sport system (e.g. sport organisations, leaders and administrators, schools, clubs, coaches, parents and volunteers) to support the culture change needed to provide quality sport opportunities for tamariki (5-11) and rangatahi (12-18). Sport NZ’s current focus is on rangatahi, given the decline we are seeing in teenage participation.

Balance is Better is about creating quality experiences for all young people to keep them stay active and in the game. The website is packed full of helpful information for Parents, Coaches, Leaders & Administrators & also webinars.

Ensuring all our young netball participants have balance in their sporting, and physical activities is a cause Netball Wellington Centre and Netball New Zealand remain passionate about.

What is Balance is Better?

Free resource downloads

Running good trials & selections
Access a free guide to unpacking some of the key considerations for running successful trials and selection processes in youth sport.

How much is too much when it comes to youth sport?
Access a free guide to understanding specialisation, playing multiple sports and training load.

Creating a positive parent culture
Access a free guide for clubs and schools.

Principles of Balance is Better
Access a free poster outlining how all can work together to create a good balance for the benefit of the athlete.

How to coach with a Balance is Better philosophy
Access a free guide on 12 key things coaches can do to incorporate a Balance is Better philosophy into their coaching.


Numerous insightful webinars have been created under the Balance is Better banner to empower coaches, parents and administrators.
We encourage you to check out the below webinars to inspire thinking about how to create a positive well-rounded environment for our young sport participants.

Transforming Character Strengths into Productive Results with Dr. Ralph Pim

The importance of character strengths in sport is gaining increased attention. As coaches, we have unique opportunities to help individuals hone these strengths and develop as people, not just athletes. But what constitutes character? Can we really teach it? And how can we help athletes turn their strengths into positive outcomes? 

In this article, Dr. Ralph Pim, an international character development and leadership expert, renowned for his work in developing leaders through sport, provides a clear definition of character, discusses the importance of identity, and explains how we can help individuals to develop character strengths in order to achieve productive results — both in sport, and in the world beyond.

​​​​​​​Trials and selection processes in youth sport – What does 'good' look like?

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Youth sport trials and selection processes have long been a hot button topic (often due to the ‘fires’ they can create in community sport circles).

In this webinar, Alex Chiet, National Sport Development Consultant at Sport New Zealand, along with special guests, discusses youth sport trials and selection processes. This webinar covers perspectives from guests who work in a range of sport settings (school, regional programmes, high performance).

Watch & learn: 

  • Key challenges and pitfalls to look out for when organising trials and selection processes.
  • What participant-centred trials and selection processes look like.
  • Three key factors to consider for the design, development and implementation of any trials and selection processes.
  • How age, stage of development and motivation of participants should be factored into trials and selection processes.

The art and science of coaching young women

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Coaches, what do you need to know to support the young women you coach to be safe, healthy and to reach their potential (in sport and life)? 

Yes – irrespective of gender, there are some universal truths to what makes a great youth sport coach. However, with many ‘default coaching practices and assumptions’ derived from coaching males, it’s important that coaches of women, particularly young women, take the time to check their own coaching practice and assumptions. To provide the best support for, and bring out the best in young women, great coaches have a grasp on unique women factors and understand how to account for these factors in their coaching.  

In this webinar, Charissa Barham and Luciana Garcia host physio Kylie Cox. They discuss some of the key biophysical considerations coaches need to know when coaching young females. 

Watch & learn:

  • How physical and physiological changes for females during maturation impact movement, fitness, and sport; and what this means for coaches.  
  • What knowledge do coaches and parents need and what roles do they play in monitoring the health and wellbeing of young females going through puberty and playing sport.  
  • What coaches need to know about optimal athlete health and its relationship to the menstrual cycle and sport. 
  • Fuelling for health and sport – An introduction to RED-S and what key messages coaches and parents need to be relaying to young female athletes about nutrition, athlete load and rest. 

Preparing for a successful season – What do coaches need to know?

In this webinar, Sport NZ is joined by internationally-acclaimed coaching consultant and sport scientist, Dr. Wade Gilbert, for a practical and enlightening discussion on what coaches should be doing before and at the start of every season to make them the best yet.

Watch & learn:  ​​​​​​​​​​​

  • What does good coaching look like? Re-examine your role as a coach and what impact you create.
  • Winning with the 4 C’s. Learn about Wade’s four principles to be an effective coach.
  • Practical tips, strategies, and resources for coaches to take into planning and the start of their sport season.

Getting child safeguarding right

What’s the difference between child safeguarding and child protection?
What does good child safeguarding look like?
​​​​​​​When it comes to putting good child safeguarding policy and procedure in pace, where should my organisation start?

We all want to see more children enjoying experiences in sport and physical activity and a key part of this is making sure these environments are safe and provide positive experiences to keep them engaged. While child safeguarding and protection is something we all should have awareness of, organisations in the sector have a responsibility to create environments where child safety is a priority – but how? 

In this webinar, Sport NZ Integrity Project Consultant, Josh Margetts talks with Ruth Browning, (Safeguarding Children NZ) and Joe Hitchcock (former CEO, Badminton New Zealand) on the importance of creating a child safe organisation and culture, and how every sports organisation can do their best to safeguard and protect the children in their community.  

Watch & learn:  

  • The difference between safeguarding and protection – what is child safeguarding? How is it different to child protection? Why is this important for organisations to understand? 
  • Child protection advice and resources – Ruth will take a facilitated discussion around the steps to developing and implementing a workable and robust Child Protection plan including how to use policies, procedures and implement a Safeguarding Code of Conduct. This will also be available through the dedicated e-module on the Community Guidance Portal. 
  • What does a safeguarding approach look like? – Hear a real-life example of how a national sport organisation has approached child safeguarding and supported its regional associations and local clubs to do the same. 

Setting our kids up for success and what it takes to be a Good Sports parent

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Logistics, money, support, act like this, cheer like that, cut the oranges, wash the bibs, say this, don’t say that. As a sports parent, its often hard to know where to start to put your best foot forward.  

In this webinar, Kelly Curr, Sport New Zealand, hosts special guests Simone Spencer (Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation) and Toni & Craig Hoskin, parents of Olympic Canoeist, Alicia Hoskin.  

Viewers will hear an enlightening discussion about what we can do to be a great sports parent, and ultimately set our kids up for success in and through sport. 

Watch & learn:​​​​​​​

  • What research tells us about why children and young people play sport, and what this means in practice for parents? 
  • About the Climate of Development, and how you can use this as a framework for better decision-making as a parent while in the thick of the youth sport landscape. 
  • Advice from experienced parents on how to continue to have great relationships with your children in and through sport. 

Raising the bar in coaching youth sport

International youth coach expert Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial shares the current international climate for youth sport; where to start with addressing some of the issues in youth sport; and how coaches of young people can create positive sport environments.​​​​​​​

Key points:
00:00 – Introduction from Andy Rogers, Sport New Zealand 
03:21 – About Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial 
08:51 – Webinar overview 
10:15 – Is sport good for kids? 
11:33 – What is the current picture of youth sport globally? 
15:56 – Where do we start with addressing the issues in youth sport? 
18:13 – Who is iCoachKids? 
20:08 – iCoachKids Pledge – 10 Golden Rules for Positive Experiences 
27:03 – Discussion about using competition in a developmental way 
32:45 – Discussion of using different coaching methods to enhance learning 
37:33 – How iCoachKids can help coaches? 
40:29 – Introducing the iCoachKids & Sport NZ partnership 

Athlete traps & parenting hacks​​​​​​​

In the face of growing pressure for adolescent athletes to train harder, perform better and achieve at a higher level, we are seeing mounting evidence of young athletes succumbing to concerning behaviours such as, extreme dieting, excessive training, taking supplements and doping. In this webinar, Dr Sian Clancy – the General Manager of Athlete Services and leader of the education team at Drug Free Sport NZ, shares insights on clean sport parenting.

Building resilience in children through sport

In this Q&A video, Sport NZ Sport Development Consultant Kelly Kerr talks to Neuroscience Trainer Kathryn Berkett to unpack why and how sport can be such a great place for young people to learn resilience.

Key points:
​​​​​​​00:00 Introduction & what is resilience?
04:40 Understanding adolescence and the teenage brain
08:05 Building resilience 101 – multiple moments of tolerable stress
11:05 “One of the best pieces of advice for parents and coaches is learn to step back” – Creating space for kids to work things out for themselves
16:15 Building resilience in adolescence through sport
22:00 The role winning and losing can play in building resilience
24:00 Building up resilience over time and seeing learning moments
29:10 Summary – practical tips for parents

Mastering the art of sport parenting

Talk with international sport parenting expert Professor Camilla Knight outlining the various strategies that parents can employ to: 

  • Increase the chances that their child reaches their sporting potential
  • Enhance their child’s likelihood of having positive sport experience and developing a love for sport 
  • Support their child to get positive developmental benefits from sport 

Key points:
03:00 - Introductions from Prof. Camilla Knight and introduction to the session
08:16 – The importance of parents for supporting young people in sport
15:37 – Understanding the complexity of parenting in sport
19:28 – What are the desired outcomes in youth sport and how can parents support these outcomes? 23:22 – Selecting the appropriate sporting opportunities for you child and providing the necessary types of social support
27:17 – Adapt your involvement and support to different stages of your child’s athlete development and progression
32:25 – Consider the broader parenting style or emotional climate you are creating
35:10 – Manage the emotional demands of competition and serve as emotionally intelligent role models of their child
41:26 – Manage the demands placed on you when trying to support your child in youth sport
44:04 – Foster and maintain healthy relationships with others in the youth sport environment
49:43 – Key take home messages

Coaches, how do you respond to your athletes' repeated mistakes?

In this Q&A, Hamish Rogers sits down with Dr. Vince Minjares, to discuss his Ph.D study on shot selection in high school boys’ basketball. Vince encourages coaches to avoid simplified explanations for repeated mistakes, like ‘selfishness’ or ‘lack of ability’. Instead, Vince uses data from his study to show how such mistakes are complex, better understood as conflicts along a learning journey and shaped by factors that can be outside an athlete’s awareness or direct control. Vince shares practical tips and insights for coaches working with such athletes. 

Creating a positive parent culture: from agitators to allies

Are the parents at your sports club or schools assets and allies or antagonists? International sports-parent expert, Professor Camilla Knight discusses strategies clubs and school can use to create a positive parent culture in their organisation.

Access a free guide outlining four areas for sports clubs and schools to consider in order to create a positive culture for (and with) sports parents and whānau.