People at meeting

Positive attitudes and conduct make sport enjoyable for everyone. Some people can ruin the experience with poor behaviour.

This can include things like undue pressure, abuse, taunting, poor sportsmanship, foul language, harassment, bullying, victimisation and more.  It can be verbal, written, physical or emotional.

Poor behaviour can occur in many places - during play, on the sidelines, at training, in the clubhouse or outside of the sporting arena.

It can be coaches, players, parents, spectators, officials or administrators that behave poorly. Any one of these people, children or adults, can be the victim of poor conduct too.

Poor behaviour stems from a lack of respect. Showing respect is so important, particularly for young people. It's important to teach respect for coaches, team mates, officials and anyone else involved in your sport. Below, ABC sports broadcaster Paul Kennedy and his two friends Jack and Max, talk about the importance of respect:

Poor behaviour in sport results in:

  • Risks to people's wellbeing
  • Reduced enjoyment for everyone
  • Children and adults giving up sport
  • Fewer people willing to volunteer for coaching, officiating and other roles
  • Risks to clubs reputation and management

Preventing poor conduct and behaviour in sport requires a few keys steps:

  • Club committee's being prepared and knowing what to do
  • Everyone adopting a positive sporting attitude and accepting responsibility for their behaviour
  • Club committee's coaches and other leaders in sport can proactively educate their club to ensure this happens and that members understand issues such as discrimination and harassment. Here at Play by the Rules we have online courses and interactive scenarios that you can promote to members. 

The law

It is also important to note, that while your sport may set standards for behaviour, clubs always have a legal responsibility to address behaviour that offends community standards or is against the law (for example, racial vilification, sexual harassment, common assault). If you witness behaviour that you think may be illegal, you should report it to the police. Similarly, if a bad situation escalates and becomes dangerous, play should be suspended and the police may be required to intervene.