True Sport asks parents to focus on fun

A new campaign sheds light on how lectures after sports practice could do more harm than good.

“So, not your best practice.”

So begins a lecture from a dad in a new spot from True Sport, focused on getting parents to change the way they talk to their kids about sports.

The organization, which supports sports programs based around values like inclusion and fun, says that 70% of Canadian kids quit sports before high school because it just isn’t fun anymore.

The central online spot of the campaign, “The Ride Home,” depicts what could be a pretty typical lecture from a parent about their child wasting their time and their coach’s time by joking around with friends instead of focusing on their practice. But even if they’re supposed to inspire responsibility, those one-on-one conversations can be pretty damaging, according to the organization, which argues that sports play an integral role in developing higher self-esteem, confidence and performance at school.

“This dad is not a crazy sports parent,” says Angus Tucker, ECD at John St., which led the campaign. “He could be me, or any other parent. But while he may be trying to teach his kid some lessons about sport and work ethic, he’s doing the exact opposite. He’s taking the joy and fun out of the sport and unwittingly driving his kid out of the game.”

The spot drives to a “Ride Home” website, which hosts interviews with the parents of Olympic, Paralympic and professional athletes, as well as provides practical advice for parents on how to handle their kids’ sports lives in a more positive and supportive way.