Wagga Hockey president Ken Larkin is urging junior sport spectators to think of the children.
The local hockey association, and sporting clubs across NSW are embracing a state government campaign to prevent negative talk on the sidelines and in the stands, particularly when kids are involved.
“It’s the most powerful thing for our young ones when they’re playing sport, to hear nothing but positive comments,” Larkin said.
“They can hear everything that goes on.”
The Shoosh For Kids campaign was launched this week in a bid to keep kids on sporting fields.
Larkin said the effects of negative feedback can last a lifetime.
“Some of them don’t come back to sport if they hear nasty things,” he said.
“There’s a time and a place for feedback on improvement.”
The message for spectators is, if your comment is negative, directed at a player, a referee, or official, then be quiet, reward good play by both teams with applause, and show respect to players and officials.
Wagga Hockey will promote the message at Jubilee Park on Friday.
Officials will ask the crowd to be silent and do a “shooshing” gesture for a photo in between games.
The association has contacted Wagga clubs, who have indicated they’re on board with the campaign.
“It resonates with people involved,” Larkin said.