Changing the Game: Parenting Through Sport

Unlock the secrets to giving your kids positive, healthy and rewarding experiences while playing junior sport.

International best-selling author John O’Sullivan and local parenting commentator and educator Clark Wight explore how sport is game-changing for parents. You’ll discover how to keep the fun in the game and support your kids to get the most out of sport – no matter whether they’re part of the team or striving for gold. More than just fun and physical activity, sport encourages our kids to work together, be healthy risk-takers, show determination and courage and look at ways to overcome challenges.

Alongside the experts we’ll explore:

  • How life skills learnt in sport prepare your kids for future challenges
  • How active kids get a brain boost at school
  • Keeping fun in the game
  • A new approach to post-match conversations
  • Why playing a variety of sports helps kids develop better skills and physical literacy
  • Helping kids stay engaged and enjoy the sports you’ve paid for.


Baby girl, (baby cries) I won't mind if you play tennis badly, I won't mind if you choose to never pick up a racquet, but I beg you in this game of life please keep playing no matter what.  Just like it taught me, sports will teach you to be strong.

Lions on 3.  (All) 1, 2, 3, Lions.  

You'll discover the power and grace of your body.  You'll learn to move and you'll learn the way to move others.  Sports will teach you the strength of your allies.  Whether your bond is by blood or by ball, whether she shares the colour of your skin or the colour of your jersey, you'll find your sisters in sweat.  Sometimes you'll score goals, sometimes you won't.  But the goals you set you'll reach together.  You'll find the courage to stand tall, work harder and speak louder on whatever playing field you choose in life.  So keep playing, my girl, keep playing.  

Well, thanks, everybody.  Welcome to the Convention Centre and please make the Executive Director of Sport and Recreation, Graham Brimage, welcome.  Grim, thank you.  (Applause).

Thank you, Simon.  Welcome, ladies and gentlemen.  Our audience tonight comprises mostly parents, and given we're three weeks into term 1, I appreciate your commitment to be here this evening.  Some acknowledgments to get us under way.  Firstly, can I acknowledge this forum is being held on the traditional lands of the Wadjuk people of the Nyoongar Nation.  I pay my respects to elders both past and present.  The exhilaration Aboriginal people exude when playing sport is a salutary lesson to us all.  Can I also acknowledge Mick Murray, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Chief of Staff Emma Ramage and husband Walter, also the Western Australian Sports Federation Chair Mike Beros and CEO Rob Thompson, and also my portfolio colleague Steve Lawrence, CEO of the Western Australian Institute of Sport.  I often talk about the power of sport to build stronger, healthier, happier, safer communities and it's something I passionately believe.  You're here because you're committed parents, committed coaches and committed mentors that are invested in giving our kids positive, healthy and rewarding experiences whilst playing their junior sport.  Some eight years ago we invited Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods", to speak to a packed concert hall.  He spoke of nature deficit disorder, a non-medical term.  It was a deliberate effort to provoke conversations about the need for our children and our youth to spend more time outdoors.  That debate has since raged about the consequences of excessive screen time and the benefits that our kids get from free ranging, from taking many more informed risks since that extraordinary gathering.  Tonight this is about one of those other extraordinary gatherings.  Tonight our ambition is to reset the focus on approaches in parenting through sport.  We're seeking a reset, a reset to shift the focus on to positive values and behaviours that ideally will again become pervasive across community-level sport delivery - violence in sport, drugs in sport, alcohol excesses, ill discipline, all that ugly static that makes attractive stories for news desks.  Yesterday's back page on the West said it all, "Another example of the errant behaviour of Collingwood pick number 5", with a big glaring headline to go away - cute line, subeditor must have rubbed their hands together with glee when they came across that one.  It's a great story but it's time.  It's time for us to reclaim the court, to reclaim the pool, to reclaim the field, to reclaim the beach, to reclaim any setting where junior sport is played.  I want to share a real-life anecdote that will set the tone for our outstanding presenters that will follow.  We convened a parent focus group a while back and a mother reflected in that focus group on the most important time each week for her as a parent.  That time, most unusually, was driving home after collecting her daughter from netball training every Wednesday evening in season.  The mum had to keep both hands on the wheel, she had to keep both eyes on the road, but her daughter had worked out that was a time she could share issues on her mind - the maths test result that didn't go quite as planned, the argument she had within her peer group, simply whatever was on her mind that she needed to share and offload, in short, the richest conversation that parent had while driving home from netball training on a Wednesday night.  Today there's a menu of public policy agendas that want to use the sports setting for their objectives - health, education, justice, child protection, tourism, equal opportunity, governance improvement, and many other agendas.  As important as those agendas are, we need to not lose the purity of sport for sport's sake.  Throw in the veracious commercial interests, alcohol, fast food, gambling, all focused on accessing the sports setting for their profit ends.  The invasive static on our community sports setting is not going away.  Our ambition, starting tonight, is to reset more conversations in junior sport on the things that matter.  Our presenters, John O'Sullivan and Clark Wight, and two special guests that Simon will introduce shortly are an extraordinary array of talent.  Please enjoy their presentations and join us in resetting the focus in junior sport on the values and the behaviours that matter.  Thanks for your attention and interest.  Enjoy the speakers tonight.  Thank you.  (Applause).

Thanks, Brim.  Thanks everybody.  I hope you can hear me okay.  I'm Simon Beaumont, your MC for tonight.  Thanks for coming along.  We've got quite a few more people booked in, so it's going to be one of those nights where people are rolling in and working their way through the traffic.  But welcome.  I work for Radio 6PR during the day.  This is the original good head for radio.  I work for the Perth Scorchers - go the Scorchers up the back there.  I do a bit of work for West Coast as well, three premierships to the Freo people who are in the room - three premierships.  Probably one of the reasons I'm here is because I've played squash, football, soccer, triathlon, tennis.  I've been members of all these sporting clubs - tennis, golf, surf club, cycling, running, and smallbore rifle shooting, the Kwinana Smallbore Rifle Club.  Also my kids play all of those sports and they also play netball, dance, gym and other things.  I've been involved in sports since I was a kid and I still am.  Tonight's two guest speakers will be with you in just a second and we have a special panel presentation where you get a chance to answer some questions, we'll have some microphones floating throughout the crowd as well.  So feel free, get stuck in, it's your night, and learn all you can and learn what you can from our presenters as well.  I'll tell you a bit more about the panel in just a moment.  Let me tell you about our first guest.  I'm sure you have a program there, so I'll keep it brief.  He's itching to get here.  His name is John O'Sullivan.  He's the founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project, former pro soccer player, coached for 20 years, youth, high school, all that sort of thing, author of two books and his goal is to keep more kids active, healthy and involved in physical activity.  He's in big trouble.  He tells me that his wife is mad with him because in the last 24 hours she had to shovel 10 inches of snow in Oregon.  Please make him welcome, everybody, John O'Sullivan.  (Applause).

Thank you.  He's right.  She's not enjoying the pictures of the beach right now at all.  So thank you all for coming here and for being here on behalf of your kids.  My goal here tonight is not to change you as a parent or to fix you as a parent.  It is, as a coaching mentor of mine once said, what you should tell your players is not I'm here to fix you, it's I can see a few things, I can add to your game, I can see a few things.  So I hope that tonight maybe between myself and Clark you might see a few things that you can add or maybe you'll see a lot of things that you're doing already really, really well, and that's fantastic too.  Everything I talk about tonight is based on research, based on science, based on best practices.  So how many of you played sport growing up, just a show of hands?  All right, fantastic.  What's different about sport today for your kids than it was for you?  You can shout out a few things.  


Cost - what else?  

Everyone gets a prize now.

Everyone gets a prize, excellent.  That's expensive too.  What else?  What else is different?  

No winners.

There's no winners, yes, that everyone gets a prize mentality.  We seem to shun on winning or competing.  What else?  What was that one?  


Okay, and what was that one?  

There's more variety.

There's a lot of variety, there's a lot of choices, yes.  


Exclusive.  Media coverage on youth sports, that's always a great one.  


Yes.  So there's a lot of things that are different, some positive, some negative.  I want to talk about a couple of those things tonight.  But I started really noticing this about six years ago when I was at the Mighty Unicorns game and this was my daughter at her first 6-year-old soccer match and I was watching this match and it was the perfect 6-year-old soccer match with a bunch of kids in a giant blob and they trampled each other, right?  And every once in a while a player breaks out of the blob and scores a goal and sometimes it's the right goal and sometimes everyone is yelling, "No, no, turn around."  So I'm watching this game and I'm thinking, "This is great" because all the parents are happy and the coaches are positive and there's no officials to yell at.  So everyone is just having a great time.  And then right next door there's a 10-year-old "competitive" boys' game going on and it's competitive not because the kids are competing harder, it's competitive because all the adults are competing harder.  And I'm watching this and I'm thinking to myself when I was growing up sport was about children competing against other children and now I'm watching adults compete against other adults through their children.  And so this kid makes a bad pass and the other team steals it and scores a goal and his coach jumps off the bench and starts screaming at him.  And the parents are yelling at him from the other sideline and everyone is yelling at the referee, who's 12, and I'm thinking to myself, this is nuts, is anyone on my field thinking wow, in four years that's what I want, more time, more money, so my kid can have less fun?  And then I was thinking to myself who's running this gin joint anyway?  And it was me, it was my league.  And so that was kind of this moment that maybe I have to do something about that and that was how the Changing the Game Project was born and it's been an amazing journey that now takes me all over the world to talk to parents and talk to coaches about what children want in sport.  When I was doing the research, I'd done all the coaching certifications you could through the US Soccer Federation, I was doing the research on this book on child psychology and development and I kept coming across stuff saying why didn't anyone ever teach me this before?  This would have been helpful.  And I talked to parents of kids who were older, right, and they'd been through the process and their kids were done with university now.  And I said, "If you had to give yourself advice 10 years ago, 15 years ago, what would it be?"  And they kept saying two things - number one, "This goes by so fast.  Pretty soon you won't have anyone left to drive to training, so enjoy it."  And then they kept saying also, "I wish I knew what my kids were going to remember and what was important to them because I thought it was really important when they were 8 or 9 that they won that super duper elite cup, but they don't remember that.  They remember the hotel or the van ride or the dinner.  And so I wish I was intentional.  They remember the adults I surrounded them with.  I wish I was more intentional about that."  And then I came across this statistic that scared me and it was that in the United States we lose 7 out of 10 children to organised sport by the age of 13 and around the world the numbers are very, very similar.  Sometimes the age varies, but the statistic is the same.  And in an age where schools are cutting physical education and cutting recess time and asking kids to spend more time in their seats, we're funneling children out of sport - at this really critical age, this age where if they are still active at 10, 11, 12, they're very likely to be active their whole life.  And so it's so important that we create a positive sporting experience from them.  So what I want to do tonight for you is kind of set the stage and talk about a couple of the myths that drive kids out, and we've touched on some of these already, I'm going to talk a little bit about the psychology of why they play and what we can do to help them play, and then I just want to give you a couple of things to do walking out of here tonight that I think will really help.  And if you're already doing them, that's great and if not, you can add it to your game.  So I talk a lot in my book about the myths that cause kids to quit and there's two really big ones that I've talked a lot while I've been here in Australia to the coaches about.  So here's the first one.  He's very good, I mean, to be fair.  So this push for early sports specialisation, asking children to do more and more and more younger, younger, younger, and it's actually not backed by any science.  What the science says is that there's a very few what we would call early specialisation sports where athletes actually hit their athletic peak in their early to mid teenage years and those sports would be gymnastics, female gymnastics, and figure skating and diving some people argue, but when we talk about team sports, whether it's footy or rugby or soccer or cricket or whatever, those athletes don't hit their peak until their 20s.  What we know from the science is that a child who plays only one sport prior to the age of 12 is 70 to 90% more likely to get injured - twice the overuse injury rates - much higher burnout and dropout rate, and identity issues around sport.  What we also know is that many of the athletes who reach the elite level of sport actually specialise a little bit later, especially in what we call CGS sports, centimetres, grams, seconds.  There was a study done in my sport of soccer about this team that on average the athletes on this team had played two to three sports up through the age of 13 and it was the 2014 World Cup winning team from Germany.  So this multi-movement experience really young is really important.  Now, a couple of years ago this guy named Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called "Outliers" and he coined a term called the 10,000 hour rule.  Raise your hand if you've heard of the 10,000 hour rule.  Okay.  Keep your hand up if you know it's not true.  There's no such thing as the 10,000 hour rule.  It's a myth.  Malcolm Gladwell made it up.  It was a misinterpretation of the data.  He's since retracted it.  No-one reads the retraction.  But there's no such thing as the 10,000 hour rule.  Yes, practice matters and great practice matters a lot, but the idea that 10,000 hours is some secret boundary that when athletes cross it they become elite, it doesn't work that way.  Every sport requires something different.  There's people in the Olympics now, there's a US speed skater who started speed skating four months ago.  She's in the Olympics now.  Right?  So we have to understand that when we push our kids to specialise really young, what happens is often times it takes away the enjoyment, it takes away their ownership, and it takes away their intrinsic motivation to go out and practise on their own and get better.  Now, some kids are all in and they jump right in on it and I think we can manage that.  Early engagement in a sport is great.  A kid who wants to take the ball out in the backyard and play more, that's fantastic.  But we also balance it.  People say to me, "My 7-year-old only wants to play ice hockey" and I say, "Great, my 7-year-old only wanted to eat macaroni and cheese".  But I am supposed to know better, that we need time off, that we need that multi-movement experience which builds the athletic base that can sustain hours of practice later on to be really good.  So that's myth number 1.  And then myth number 2 is this idea that childhood success is a great predictor of adult success.  These are a couple of 12-year-olds.  The two kids on the left are at Fulham Academy in England.  They were born one week apart.  Who makes the team when we are picking all-star teams and elite teams and rep teams usually about prior to age 16, 17, 18?  Which kids make the team - besides the coach's kid, that's a different talk.  Which kids make the team?  

The oldest.

The oldest.  Whichever kids are born within a couple of months of whatever your arbitrary calendar cut-off date is are far more likely to be selected as gifted or elite when they're really, really young.  Later on it starts to even out.  I have a friend at La Masia, Barcelona's famed youth academy in soccer, and 92% of their kids are born between January and June.  If you go to England, where the cutoff is September 1, 90% of the players are born September, October, November, December, January.  So if you want to be a professional soccer player in Europe and you're born in October, you'd better be born in England and not in Spain.  So this relative age makes such a huge difference when kids are young, all right?  And so what we need to do, especially in a country like Australia, especially in an area like WA, where our populations are limited, we need to have the most kids in sport, create the best environment possible, keep them in as long as possible, give them the best coaching possible, let them grow, let them go through their growth spurt and see what happens at the other end.  But most importantly, as a state and as a country, we need to make sure that those kids who fall out of the talent development path have a sport for life path, that they remain active, that we find ways to craft our sport and maybe change the numbers or the rules or the size of the pitch so that we keep people in sport because we need to keep athletes for life.  That should be the goal of all sport.  Professional sport, that is sport for entertainment.  Use sport as sport for development.  And as parents we are the advocate not just for the athlete, right, but we're the advocate for the human being and we have to be there advocating for them.  And the more we keep them active, the more we look for healthy experiences, the better health outcomes they have throughout the rest of their life.  So how can we start overcoming these things?  Well, I like this kid, by the way, he's great.  Does anyone think he's discussing tactics?  So why do kids play sport?  They're fun.  We know this answer, because it's fun.  See, I think sometimes that we don't understand what kids mean when they say "because it's fun".  See we think sometimes fun is silliness or fooling around or things like that, but that's actually not what makes sport fun for kids.  So a woman named Amanda Visek from George Washington University, she did a huge study of 12 and under sport and she asked children "Why do you play", and nine out of ten, "Because it's fun."  So she said, "Well, what does it mean, what makes sports fun?"  They came up with 81 characteristics of fun - trying your best, when coaches treat you well, getting playing time, playing well as a team, getting along with your teammates, exercising and being active.  That's what makes sports fun.  Competing makes sports fun, learning makes sports fun.  Coaches and adults who make the environment great, that makes sports fun.  There's a couple of things that came out a little further down the list -  winning, number 48.  Now, I never ever showed up to coach a game thinking there was 47 things more important than how we did.  But a couple of years ago my daughter, who's 12 now, she was at her first sort of - well, we would call travel soccer game, rep soccer game, and I flew in from a speaking engagement to Portland, Oregon, and I went to the game and I was just a dad and I was sitting on the sideline and the team just gets killed.  It's 8 nothing, 9 nothing, and I'm watching goal after goal going in and I'm holding my head and I'm thinking "What am I going to say to my daughter after this game, she's going to be devastated."  And she comes over with her teammates when the game ends and I walk over and I say, "Hey, Mag, how's it going?"  And she goes, "Dad, the hotel has a pool."  Right?  So I'm not suggesting that our 18-year-olds or our 28-year-olds that's an acceptable response, but when children are in sport, they get over it really fast.  They move on.  If you noticed on the list just in case taking team pictures was dead last.  So sorry if you're a photographer.  So that's what makes sports less fun.  Now, one of the things - and I love this little quote here and yes, it looks painful, right, is this idea that performance, and this is from a book called "The Inner Game of Tennis" by a man named Tim Gallwey, he says performance is potential minus interference.  So how an athlete performs regardless of age is their potential, which is their genetics and their hours of practice and their motivation and all of that minus interference.  And the single greatest thing that interferes with performance is between their ears and often times the voice that they hear between those ears is the voice that they hear most often, which is from us as a coach, which is from us as a parent.  So what is that voice saying?  And the other thing that interferes with performance sometimes is the voice from the sideline, coaching them while they're trying to figure it out.  Now, what we know is that there's an effect in psychology called the Stroop effect and what that is is this, that when we add cognitive interference, mental interference, it slows down the physical reaction time of a task.  And so we're all going to take the Stroop test here together.  This is the most people I've ever done it with, which is pretty cool.  So we're going to take this test together.  So here's the Stroop test.  Out loud as a group as fast as we can go we're going to read all these words - green, red, purple, blue, yellow, all four lines.  The room record is 8 and a half seconds if you're competitive.  But I'm going to time it for you and let's see how we do.  So out loud as fast as we can go as a room, on your marks, get set, go.  (All repeat out loud).  Well, that was good, that was 10.  That's pretty good for a group this size.  That was pretty good.  I heard a couple of people laughing.  Why were you laughing here?  (Inaudible).  Yes, so did someone get a little bit ahead or behind you or talk a little louder?  So when that happened, right, the person next to you got a little ahead or behind, what happened, what did you have to do?  Yes, you start focusing that much more, you start getting distracted, I bet a couple of you quit, you won't admit it, right?  This isn't even the Stroop test.  Here's the Stroop test.  So now out loud as fast as we can go instead of reading the word, you have to say the colour.  So you have to say blue, red, green, blue, yellow, blue.  And I'm going to time you.  All right.  So out loud as fast as you can go let's see if we can beat our last time.  On your marks, get set, go.  (All repeat out loud).  You know, I just changed the watch battery today and so I'm pretty sure this is accurate.  That's the Stroop effect.  We add that little bit of cognitive interference and it slows down the reaction time of a task.  I think that this is what it feels like for a kid with two coaches on one side and 32 on the other yelling instructions.  When you think about most of our sports that we're playing and these fast-moving sports like footy or rugby or soccer or whatever it is, or hockey, the intelligence has to be on the field, right?  They have to perceive a situation, come up with solutions, pick the best one, add a little deception, technically execute it and assess their choice that fast.  How much input can they take?  They really can't take any.  Now, when I talk to kids, and I talk to 10,000 of them a year, and I ask them "What would you like your parents to say on the sideline", what do you think they say?  Nothing.  Like no-one has ever got that wrong.  No-one has ever got that wrong.  I'm still waiting for the day when a kid says, "I love it when my dad yells at the referee, it's super helpful."  Right?  So we know this and yet we show up Saturday and with great love and great intentions, we yell and scream and think we're helping.  But our kids tell us that it's actually not that helpful at all.  Now, there's an interesting comparison between sport and video games.  Our competition is not amongst sports, our competition is all the other things that kids can do, and video games and social media are a big part of that.  And guess what happens?  Those companies, those game makers, they consistently ask their users, "How can we make this better so you'll play more?"  And then they go and do that.  And in sport we're fantastic at asking and we're terrible at doing.  And so this is something as parents and as coaches that we can add to the mix, right, "What do you need from us on the sideline, what would you like from us there?"  So how can we start changing the game a little bit?  So in my book I talk about the seven Cs of a high-performing state of mind, but I just want to give you a couple of things that you can do here today.  And so one of the most important things is make it safe to stumble, make it safe to fail, make it safe to mess up.  In the US we call these the helicopter parents, who every time a kid is struggling, suddenly they swoop down and pluck them out of the situation.  In Canada they call them the snow plough parents, they just push it all out of the way.  We have to make it safe for our kids to make mistakes.  Use sport as a development zone, as a place where failure is part of learning.  Now, one of the most important places that we have to make it safe is the ride home after games.  Now, our children tell us in research when they're asked when they leave sport, "What is your worst memory of sport", they often say it's this, the ride home, some research here out of Australia how because as coaches and as parents often times we don't take into account their emotional state.  So I have a quick video here for you.  This is from an HBO documentary.  It was on Netflix for a while here, and I know I've met some people here who have seen it, and it was called "Trophy Kids".  And this is an actual documentary of what the ride home looks like for too many kids.  

Did you tell the coach to put you out of the game?  


How many times?  

I was sitting right next to him.

Are you sure, because I was there right next to you?  

(Inaudible) as many times as I could be.

Dude, you're not getting it done.  Let me explain something to you.  If you do something wrong, do I tell you?  


Okay.  I correct it or I tell you so you can correct it.  How do you know what to correct if you don't even know why he pulled you out of the game?  What did I tell you about that?  Are you scared of him or something?  


So why don't you go ask him, like right now?  You know we're going to have this conversation after the game.  You know it's coming.  Okay?  This is part of you becoming a young man.  If someone does something, are you just going to take it?  So if I was to walk up to you and just slap you inside your face, what are you going to do, just turn around and be like, "I don't know why that guy did that."  It doesn't make any sense, Jay.  You act like you're 10 or 9 or 8.  Dude, you're just going through the motions.  If you're going to be selfish - you know what, you have other brothers and sisters.  We'll take you from that school and give them a chance and put them in a private school.  I don't understand it.  I don't understand it.  It confuses me.  What's the problem?  

Every time I come back in the car I always feel like I'm in trouble or I did something wrong.  

Well, did you?  


You've had more personal training than any of those kids out there, okay?  Back to the drawing board, back up to getting up early on Saturday morning, okay, because it doesn't make any sense.  You have me driving back and forth from this school, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, for you to go out and do absolutely nothing.  I don't understand why you don't get it.  I don't understand it.  

Has anyone seen that by chance?  Do you remember how it ended?  Do you remember how it ended for this kid?  


Yes, he quit, so he quit football.


Yes, he left, he moved out and went and lived with his mum.  His parents are separated.  And so I posted this little clip on our Facebook page a year and a half ago and it was an interesting dialogue back and forth between what's the dad doing versus hey, that's a dad with high expectations, and I agree with that, but just not there.  That's not the appropriate place.  Then this guy writes in and he says, "I was the cameraman.  I was sitting in the front seat.  The dad was an NFL draft pick American football player, got arrested, didn't make the league, so his son was going to make it in his place."  But he never asked his son, right?  Now, if your kids bring up the game on the way home, by all means have the conversation, but if you notice that you're always the one who brings it up, you're always the one who's broaching the topic, they probably don't want to talk about it.  It's probably not a good fit there.  Now, this is really hard, right, because we've got them locked in the car, we're going to make this a teachable moment, and kids say, "No, it's not really a great teachable moment."  When my son was five years old his first soccer game I was so proud, I was so excited, and he walks on the field and he goes "No, I don't want to play" and he walks off.  I'm like, "Okay", you know, "whatever".  I coached the game and next week we have practice and he loves practice with his buddies and then game number 2 rolls around, there's a game before us and there's all these tall people yelling and screaming and he walks out, he's like, "Dad, I'm not playing."  And I was embarrassed and I was angry and like what's wrong with him, what's wrong with my son, what do these people think of me?  He's fine, he found like a lizard or a cricket and he's totally happy.  So we get in the car after the game and I'm mad and I'm like "So, TJ" and all of a sudden wham, I get karate chopped across the chest by my wife sitting next to me.  And I was like, "What was that for?"  She's like, "Really?  Didn't you write a book about this?"  So if we're going to let the ride home belong to our kids, man that makes a difference.  And then number 2 is just carrying an unconditional love and we can show that to our kids through five simple words, "I love watching you play", "I love watching you compete", "I honour the fact that you're out there".  If you have to add a few more, "What would you like for lunch?"  Right?  When we tell our kids we love watching them play, we let them know that our love for them is not based on whether they won or lost, which of course it isn't.  And I get more phone calls and more emails about this than anything else and it always kind of starts with, "I thought that was silly" or "I thought that was simple", "and that changed my life, it saved my relationship with my son" or "my daughter" or someone who says, "I just called my 22-year-old and told her that for the first time and we were crying on the phone."  Just tell your kids you love watching them play.  It gives them ownership.  It promotes enjoyment, it helps them want to go out there and get better.  If it's something that you're doing, keep doing it.  If it's something that's far from what you're doing, change it.  At first your kids might be like, "Who are you and what did you do with my dad?", but that's okay, right?  Tell them "I love watching you play".  And if you take nothing from tonight but you start doing that, it will make a massive difference.  So where do we go from here?  What we're doing in Changing the Game Project, what we're doing with other organisations around the world is that we're trying to make a movement.  We're trying to make a movement and we're not worried about the people who've lost the plot, right?  We're worried about all of you, the people who care enough to show up here tonight who love your kids and want to help, and I truly believe that 99% of parents are like that, they want to help.  And as sporting organisations we do a poor job of telling them how to help.  So that's what we try to do.  And if we pay attention to them, we can create a movement.  So my last movement, which is a tribute to the state of Oregon that I live in, is how do we make a movement in three minutes or less.  

If you've learned a lot about leadership and making a movement, then let's watch a movement happen start to finish in under 3 minutes and dissect some lessons.  First of course a leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous, but what he's doing is so simple, it's almost instructional.  This is key.  You must be easy to follow.  Now, here comes the first follower with a crucial roll.  He publicly shows everyone else how to follow.  Notice how the leader embraces him as an equal, so it's not about the leader anymore, it's about them plural.  Notice how he's calling to his friends to join in.  See, it takes guts to be a first follower.  You stand out and you brave ridicule yourself.  Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership.  The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.  If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that really makes the fire.  Now, here's the second follower.  This is a turning point.  It's proof the first has done well.  Now it's not a lone nut and it's not two nuts.  Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.  A movement must be public.  Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader.  Everyone needs to see the followers because new followers emulate followers, not the leader.  Now, here come two more people, then three more immediately.  Now we've got momentum.  This is the tipping point and now we have a movement.  As more people jump in, it's no longer risky.  If they were on the fence before, there's no reason not to join in now.  They won't stand out, they won't be ridiculed, and they will be part of the in crowd if they hurry.  And over the next minute you'll see the rest who prefer to stay part of the crowd because eventually they'd be ridiculed for not joining.  And ladies and gentlemen, that is how a movement is made.  So let's recap what we've learned.  If you are a version of the shirtless dancing guy all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.  Be public, be easy to follow.  But the biggest lesson here, did you catch it?  Leadership is over-glorified.  Yes, it started with the shirtless guy and he'll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened.  It was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader.  There's no movement without the first follower.  See, we're told that we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.  The best way to make a movement if you really care is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.  When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.  

That's how we roll in Oregon, in case you want to come visit.  The city of Perth, Western Australia could be one of the movement makers, right, by not worrying about all the people who won't jump on board but by finding those first few followers and nurturing them.  Whether you're a coach in an association or just a community club, whether you're a director of sport, look for those bright spots, look for those first followers and embrace them and pour into them because pretty soon those followers attract more followers.  Don't worry about all the ones still sitting down.  Worry about the fellow dancers.  That's how you make a movement.  And we're starting to see progress in the organisations that we've worked with all over the world.  The amount of people in this room today is plenty of people to change the face of youth sport in Western Australia and be an example for the rest of your country.  The anthropologist Margaret Mead, "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; it's the only thing that ever has".  So be the change that you want to see.  Start in your association.  Start in your club.  Start in your family, just by leaving them alone on the ride home and telling them you love watching them play and you can be a model for the rest of the world.  Thank you, guys.  (Applause).

Thanks, John.  That was cool, hey?  Really cool.  "I love watching you play", that's a very cool thing that we can all tell our kids.  A couple of take-outs for me before I introduce our next keynote speaker.  John spoke about the author, about the retraction of the 10,000 hour principle and how no-one listens to the retraction.  I'd like to retract the earlier Fremantle-West Coast joke because it wasn't funny and it was mean spirited.  He also talked about how with sport it goes so fast - when our kids are involved in sport, it goes so fast.  That's true of every single sport that we do with our kids apart from swimming lessons.  Your average 30-minute swimming lesson at a municipal pool in real-time takes four and a half weeks, I reckon.  They take a very long time those swimming lessons.  We spoke about the Scroop (sic) effect.  We had an AFL umpire called Greg Scroop, didn't we, and he had a bit of an effect on some of the games.  On the safe to stumble message, it looked like Ian Thorpe was falling into the pool.  We still found a way to get him into the Olympic team in Australia.  And you probably recognised some people you know in the drunk guys video at the end.  Some of them were in this room I reckon.  Now, our next speaker is Clark Wight.  Clark is a conscious parent and advocate, educator and presenter.  I'll let him explain to you what that is.  But more importantly, Clark achieved something incredible in Perth today.  He managed to talk his way out of A city of Perth parking ticket.  Please make him welcome, Clark White.  (Applause).  

Thanks, everyone.  Does anyone want their son or daughter to go play a game tomorrow so you can just get in the car with them and go "I love watching you play"?  Despite the accent, I have lived in this country for 16 years.  I think I sound amazingly dinkum.  I'm told that I don't.  And what I'd like to follow on from John, and I'm going to talk to John a little bit because your TED video actually changed the relationship with my son, and I'm going to talk about that a little bit later too.  Just a quick check-in with you all, how many here are coaches?  Awesome.  How many here are parents?  How many here coach their own child?  A good subset here.  And how many student athletes in the room or athletes in the room?  Fantastic.  We've got a good crowd over here too.  So I have three children.  I have a 23, a 21 and a 10, and she was not a mistake, it just took a long time.  They've all played sports.  They have played netball, they've lived in the United States, they've lived here, and I love living in Western Australia because we can make the change.  We're not so caught up yet.  And America is going to take a long time, but we can make the change here in Perth and do it quickly.  So I'm here tonight purely as a father and a coach, as a teacher.  I've been in education for 26 years.  I've seen all your sons and daughters come through from 6-year-olds to 18-year-olds playing sport the whole way through and quitting sport at some stage.  So I want to talk about that and what we can do as coaches.  I'm so glad that there's so many coaches in the room here because why I'm here tonight is really important because if you don't know my why for being on stage, we're not going to connect tonight.  So this is my why.  It's the longest slide I have, so bear with me.  This is a really big cool screen here too.  So I've seen the positive impact for students in education, I've seen the positive impact of sports for families growing together through their values and for all children moving through the different ages and stages of life.  My why is that I see on a firsthand basis every day the benefit that sports has for kids', for teenagers', for adults' mind body and soul and that's my focus tonight is our athletes' mind, body and soul.  So I want to start tonight with the coaches and we have - actually over half the room is coaches here.  And I love this.  I think every coach should start every season with your why, not your what you're going to do, "We're going to train on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.30, we're going to run through the fundamentals", not how we're going to do it, start with your why because there's a reason you got into coaching in the first place and that was your why.  You either love engaging with kids, you either want to see teams gel and come together, but when you have your first meeting with your parent group and your players, start with your why and watch what happens that season, because they'll connect with your why and that's your success.  I believe in competition, I believe in excellence, I believe so highly in success as long as we define what success is at the beginning of the season.  So for coaches please start with your why.  If you don't know what your why is, have some fun trying to figure it out.  The other thing I would actually do is this, tell all your players "Here's what you can expect from me this season."  Make it really clear, "Here's what you can expect from me.  When you come to talk to me, I will listen to you.  I have high expectations for you being on time.  I will be on time every training."  Lay out your expectations very clearly after you've talked about your why.  And then this is a really cool one because they don't know - remember kids are trying to please you, your athletes are trying to please you because they naturally want to do what's good for the coach and make the coach happy.  So tell them, "What does it look like when you're playing well, what does it sound like, what does it feel like when you're playing well?"  And ask your players, "When you're at your best, what does it feel like?"  And that's when we talked about flow and all those great words, because they get a feeling when they know a team has gelled together.  The other one here, and I love this one and this is great to ask, "when you walk off the field", "off the court", "out of the pool from playing another team, what do you want them to say about you as a team?"  So as you start your preseason with your team, you're saying when the team walks off the field from us, out of the pool, off the court, what do you want them saying about you when they get in the car after they've heard them say "I love watching you play"?  "They were great sports", "they played fair" - all those things that you want, so we set up the expectation for what success looks like right from the very beginning of the season and it's hugely powerful.  And then this is the last one, "What is success for you?  What does success look like at the end of the season?"  Because as John said, it's not always about the wins and losses, even though it was number 48, I love that.  So this team here, we didn't win a single game in three seasons and every single member of that team felt like a total success.  We would get off the bus and I always have the tallest, biggest kid get off the bus first so at least the other team goes "oh", and then the rest of the team would get off and they would laugh.  And all our success was every game was if you said you played 1% better today than you did in practice for the last game, you had success.  And as they got on the bus dirty, wet, I said did you do your 1%, "yep", "high-five", "1%", "high-five".  They felt like champions of the earth and we didn't win a single game.  And teams hated playing us because our kids never stopped playing because they were trying to get better every game.  It was really fun to do.  So the other thing - and it's really good to hear about values.  The reason kids play sports and the reason they get so much out of life from playing sports is it's all about our values.  It's about playing for your teammates, it's about perseverance, it's about hard work, it's about love, it's about having fun.  So the reason we talk about values is we link sport to their values, they grow as human beings.  Because why do they play sport?  Yes for fun but to be better human beings.  That's why we coach too.  So I had a really interesting gridiron coach at college and he was fantastic.  He was an ex-marine, he said some really stupid things like "pair off in threes" and "straighten up that circle" and all these great things, he was just nutty, but he had one really cool thing and this was it.  When you came for practice the first thing 75 people trying out for a team, he never made cuts ever, he would never cut a single person, but people would leave in the middle of the night because it was too hard.  But as you walked in it had a white line and as you walked up the white line, there was a sign facing you before you crossed on the field, because this was his measure of success for us.  If you could live up to this ideal right here - responsibility, loyalty and grit - then you're ready to step over the white line.  And when you're 18 years old, long on hair, short on thought and a bit of an idiot, you know, you've just rolled into practice and you stop at the white line and you go, "Ah, responsibility, loyalty, grit" - really cool, right?  Here's what's amazing.  After about six weeks you'd go, but the sign was facing the other way for when you came off the field and this is what it said.  And he was all about the life lessons that we learn stepping on to the field with the life lessons that we learn stepping into life.  How cool is that?  You're an 18- to 22-year-old idiot and you're already being taught these life lessons about why when you step into something, when you step into your marriage, when you step into being a parent, what are you stepping into, and he's teaching that to 18-year-olds.  I still remember that.  I don't remember a single score of any game I ever played in college, not a single one, but I remember that sign every day.  So I want to talk about school and sport, and this is really interesting because kids naturally move and every bit of data and research in the world - you can see me, I can't stop moving, right, making you dizzy?  So kids when they learn have to move and through movement they get the literacy and maths skills.  So I'm going to be a teacher here for a second.  Is anyone else a teacher in the room?  Oh, fantastic, excellent.  We're so lucky in Perth, these kids are lucky.  So when we move, we learn.  This is a program, the perceptual motor program, that has 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds every morning climb up a little ladder - it's literally this high, some of them can't do it - cross a plank like this and then jump off.  And I had the joy - I watch this every morning because I have 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds at my school and  it's the coolest thing in the world.  And they can't jump that far.  Then they do it and they practice, they practice, they practice.  Now, here's the interesting thing.  You know why we do it?  Because their early phonetic skills and early reading schools and early literacy skills improve by six months when we start doing that program with 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds.  It doesn't change when they get older.  If our students, athletes, are moving through teenage years and playing team sports, they do better in school.  Every bit of research shows that.  They do better in school.  So this is the other thing too.  It's all linked.  Why do we move?  Because we learn.  So when we want to keep kids in sports, we talk about if you play sports, you're going to do better at school, learning is more easy, it's fun.  And this is the key, and we all know this - I'm really glad we have some student athletes with us over here too because when our students and when our kids play sport, this is what improves - social understanding and EQ, emotional intelligence.  Now, we're all adults here in the room.  What's the one thing that makes us successful in the world?  It's not our ATAR score.  It's our social and emotional intelligence.  Sorry for teachers who teach year 12, I'm not crushing your souls.  But what makes us thrive in the business world and the world around us is our EQ and social skills and that happens through playing team sports all the time.  Okay, let's talk about this slide I just love because this is what great coaches do and great parents do with the kids, we push them outside of their comfort zone.  The macaroni and cheese is a great one, "I only play netball".  "No, I think you're going to play basketball too."  That was a conversation I had with my 10-year-old daughter the other day.  So because we've been sitting down for a while can you do me a favour - only if you want to, this is free choice - could you stand up for me a second?  Now, no-one is allowed to get injured here because I haven't signed off on anything.  It's nice to shake a little bit.  Our athletes think they know what excellence is, they think they know that they're playing at their best, and here's one activity I'm going to show you around goal setting to show our athletes that they actually don't know.  So what you're going to do - and I'll explain first and then we'll do it - is without injuring yourself, very slowly - don't do it yet - you're going to put out your right hand.  Don't do it yet.  Look at these eager beavers.  I love it.  You're slowly - just watch me for a sec.  You're slowly going to rotate.  Again, don't twist your torso.  We don't want any back injuries.  You're going to go back and point as far back as you can on the wall or somebody or a person behind you.  And then what I want you to do is look a metre or two past where your hand went and fix that spot in your mind, and then slowly come back.  Are you ready?  Right hand out.  Please don't hit the person next to you, especially a spouse.  It doesn't go well.  Okay.  So we're going to slowly rotate to our right as far as you can go - no injuries, please - and when you get to that point, stop and look at where you're pointing.  And then look 2 metres past that, picture it in your head.  Okay, relax.  Thank you so much.  What I want you to do is close your eyes if you want and I want you to picture this, with your eyes closed, not moving, please.  I want you to picture your hand moving to the right and I want you to picture your hand going to that point that you could before straight and easily past it to that point two metres past.  Look at that spot in your head and open your eyes.  Are you ready?  Right hands out, nice and slow and rotate.  Wow.  Now, interesting, you're the first crowd that's gone silent there.  Most people go, "Oh".  So it either didn't work or I just really suck.  Okay, so did anyone pass the point they did before?  And it's not because you stretched and did it once before.  It's because if you fix something in your mind's eye, you can actually do it, and that's what great coaches do.  You can have a seat if you want now that we stood up, we did our thing.  But great coaches can do that with kids.  They can set the expectation higher than they think the athlete can go and they challenge them.  So setting goals for our kids is really good.  So all these things, if you look at the things, all those things is what we do through sport and every one of those makes you succeed better in school.  Every single one of those makes you more successful in a school setting.  And that's why we need to get our young kids playing team sports and lots of different sports, not specialising, even though that kid was pretty amazing with the ping-pong, you know?  I wanted to see his lefty or his backhand, though.  So when we get our youngsters into sport and we know what success is and we know they're playing for fun and we engage them, we'll get them playing until they're really old.  One thing I love - and John, I'm not bagging America or the President, but what I'm going to say is when I came to Australia, I was driving one day and I saw a rugby match and all the people playing rugby were over 65 and they had a rule like you can't hit when you're bending down, you basically can't hit at all.  But all these people, men and women, were playing touch rugby.  That doesn't happen in America.  If you're lucky enough to play at university or college over there, then you stop afterwards pretty much.  John played professional sports and will I guess later play professional sports but the majority, the high 99% of people stop playing sports completely.  No, I'm actually doing okay.  So this is why we play sports, and I'm coming as an educator, is our student athletes do better at school because they play team sports.  So I've hammered that point pretty hard, I'll move on.  Okay.  Who's heard the word resilience lately?  We need to teach our kids resilience - I totally agree.  It doesn't happen in the classroom.  We cannot teach resilience well enough in the classroom.  The only place we can teach resilience incredibly well is in the pool, on the court, on the field.  We teach resilience through sport.  It's the only way they're going to learn it.  And it happens every day.  That's where they learn resilience.  So that's why they need to play team sports.  Okay, talking about our kids for a second here, I have to do this as a teacher because this is what I love.  Now with functional fMRIs when they map children's brain activity when they're playing sport, everything lights up in their brain, their verbal centre, their reasoning centre, their spatial centres - everything in their brain lights up because they're having massive synaptic growth across their brain.  Is anyone here a brain surgeon or a brain person?  Okay, don't say anything that I'm saying is wrong, okay, because 82% of the facts I say are made up in my head.  But what we see with the fMRIs, the minute children move it lights up.  Anyone have a grunting teenager at home, by the way?  Okay.  So if you have a grunting teenager at home, and I do this in a lot of my talks, all you need to do with them is move.  You need to walk the dog, kick the soccer ball, shoot the hoops.  One study said that driving does it.  They actually start to verbalise and articulate.  You guys are all really young in the room, but back when I was a teenager phones had cords and as I was talking on the phone, and it was the 80s so it was a really long cord, you know, and you talk and you do this, and all it was doing because the blood flow in my brain was increasing I had verbal things.  They play sport.  The benefits of sport is for their brain.  So I listened to John's TED talk and I sat out at recess this morning and I had 400 little kids coming by me, "Why do you play sport?"  "Fun".  "Why do you play sport?" "Fun".  "Why do you play sport?" "My mum makes me."  "Why do you play sport?  "Fun".  It's the number one thing and it's literally they just want to have fun and they want to play.  And then to follow on, they want to be outside in nature, they want to be outside.  So this is our focus, as coaches, as parents.  It's not about wins and losses, it's about what teaches you about life.  And I'm going to go on, John, about why you changed my relationship with my son.  This is my son and I used to love going to watch him play footy.  And I'm loving that you brought your baby with us tonight, it's fantastic, because we all remember that moment when you first saw your child and you went, "Oh, this is going to cost me a lot of money."  No, you went, "Oh, my God, this is amazing" and when you're watching your kid play sport at a young age, you're like this is amazing.  Now, my daughters banned me from showing pictures of them tonight.  They both looked at me and said, "No, no pictures of us anymore."  But I used to go to his games and love it and then something happened.  He got good - yeah, Dockers, sorry.  He got good, and I started to get really fired up because I thought maybe he can make it.  Wow, wouldn't that be awesome for me if he made it?  And then I watched his TED talk and he played a game and I went, "Man I love watching you play" and his whole body just went, "Really?"  I went, "I just love watching you play".  He's like, "Thanks.  I thought you were actually getting a little bit fired up, that you wanted me to play AFL."  He goes, "I just play because I love hanging out with my mates" and the guilt was just overwhelmingly awesome.  And it is a simple thing.  But it's not simple in what it does in changing the lives and relationships we have with our kids.  So "I love watching you play".  So parenting and sport, this is the good, this is the bad and this is the ugly.  (Laughter).  We've all seen it.  And I'm going to get a bit Freudian on you here.  So if you're not able and if people aren't able to say "I love watching you play", if they're not ready to get to that space, it means because they're being led by their shadow self.  We all have a shadow self.  It's every one of our unmet dreams, expectations, fears, things we didn't become, our mother-in-law's voice, all that is our shadow self.  And some of you have left seats next to you for your shadow self, so well done.  It's in every single one of us.  It's the person who's sitting on the field going "just run" and everyone looks at you like this.  It was a voice inside my head when my son and I was like, "God, if you just hustled you'd make it."  That's my voice saying, "You know what, if I'd hustled in college, I would have made it."  That's my shadow self coming out.  And if you're not able to as a parent, and I'm going to be a bit harsh - as a parent, if you can't get in the car and say "I love watching you play", you need to spend a bit of time with your shadow self figuring out what it is that is your unmet dreams and expectations that you're trying to live through your child.  Now, the fact that you're here tonight means you've probably already dealt with that, so that's really good.  But we all have it and it's that voice that shouts out.  And John said something today, I think it was on the radio, but he said if you're not able to parent and be parent and enjoy your kid's sport from the sideline here, back up.  If you have to go 200 metres away so that no-one can hear you shouting, back up 200 metres.  But that's the change we're looking for in sports around here.  So again, if we need to discuss as parents what does success look like for you this season, so we all as parents and as students and athletes,  we have an understanding of what success looks like is really important.  We talked about getting grunts at home already.  Now, you talked about helicopter parents and snow plough parents.  What I see every day is a lawnmower parent because they're smoothing the path right in front the whole time.  "I don't like that coach, out you go."  "I don't like that team", "That kid is too good, he's better than my son, we're going to switch to that team."  A few nods down here.  You are lawn mowing in front.  And I know this is a bit cheesy, but what you're not doing is planting seeds for your kids, you're disabling your children.  And those lawnmower parents aren't giving our kids the shock absorbers to deal with the normal ups and downs of life, we're smoothing everything out.  So we need to avoid that as much as we can.  Now I'll be kind again here.  And here's my last thing about sports with kids.  Character counts.  I actually think it's the only thing that does count.  Your son or daughter's character, their values is what counts in life and that's what they learn through sport.  That's what we need to be focused on is character matters and they do it through sport.  So this was a quote from - I had this fantastic young year 11 girl come into my office today and she happened to say "I love playing sports now".  I was like, "What do you mean now?"  She goes, "Oh, well, I haven't been playing sports for a while because it's not compulsory, but now it's compulsory I have to play sport and I'm loving it."  I was like, "What are you loving about it?"  She goes, "a, I get to go outside of the classroom and play, I don't have to think about work", and then she said, "And I'm loving the competition because it gets me be a better human being."  And I'm thinking, "You're 17, 16, like where do you come up with this stuff?" But her whole thing, her whole demeanour changed because she's playing sport again and what it does.  If your child is struggling in a sport, my advice always is find a coach, find the right coach for your child.  If the coach is a shouter, abuser, a shamer, there's no reason for your child to be on that team.  If the coach is shaming a child on a team, find another team, find a different sport.  We're so lucky in Perth, we have tonnes of sports.  Find a different coach and go join their team because the benefit for your son or daughter is going to be enormous later on because this is what sport is supposed to be about.  We're in nature, we're fun, we're playing, we're learning, we're growing, huge brain growth, everything there.  And we talked about a little bit you spend a lot of time in the car, don't you?  It's amazing how much petrol you can use to go to sport especially on Saturday mornings around Perth.  You get a lot of time.  It disappears quickly.  Love it.  Crank the 80s rock, shut your mouth and say, "If you want to talk, let me know", and it's fun.  And I love that thing, "What do you want for lunch?"  So here goes, I'm going to read you something and then I'm going to finish up.  So this was posted on as I call it the Facebook the other day.  This is from a 26-year-old cricketer who has had to leave cricket because of injuries but not caused by cricket but by other ones.  We'll see if my arm is long enough here.  "Dear cricket, thank you.  Wow, you captured a young boy's imagination.  You made him dream, you gave him heroes, real friends and fake foes.  You made him wish away rain clouds on a Saturday morning and gave him stories to tell at school on a Monday.  Thank you.  You gave him recognition and taught him to take criticism.  You made him feel alive, to feel real nerves, to feel real elation, and to feel deep disappointment.  You showed him how good it feels to make someone proud, especially oneself.  You taught him that life is not always fair and that if you are given an opportunity, you need to grab it.  You taught him optimism and the power of positive thinking.  'Today will be my day', he would say.  You taught him to savor the good days, but keep persisting after the bad ones.  'Okay, tomorrow will be my day', he would say.  You taught that boy to take responsibility, that preparation doesn't always equal success, and that you can never succeed all on your own.  In teaching him those lessons, you made him a man.  Thank you."  That's why our boys and girls play sport.  That's the benefit of what you do and that's the benefit as coaches and parents why we need to continue to engage our kids in sports and say, "I love watching you play."  Now, it's a movement.  You can't walk out of this room tonight without some call to action, something you're going to change, something you're going to add to your game, something you're going to try tomorrow.  So before you leave tonight, in your head or on your piece of paper, think "what's my call to action I'm going to do" because you gave up incredibly valuable time to be here.  Leave with an action, something you want to do, something you want to add to your game.  And the biggest thing is thank you for being here because you're making a difference in the lives of the girls and boys in Perth and with sport and keeping them in the game, because keeping them in the game is success for life.  So thank you very much and I think we have some panel presentations later.  Thanks.  (Applause).

Thanks, Clark.  Thanks, everyone.  We'll keep moving, hey.  I love that idea of how your team or you will be remembered when you leave the field of play.  That's awesome, isn't it?  During our panel discussions tonight we do have a couple of copies of "Changing the Game" by John O'Sullivan we'll give out for people who ask a couple of questions, so thank you for that.  We're going to go into our panel discussion right away.  We've got a great panel for you.  The boys will be back in just a second, John and Clark will be back as part of that panel, but we've got an Olympic gold medallist for you and we've got a footballer for you as well, a Coleman medallist, and they're going to come and have a chat to us about the change of the game.  The first person I'd like to introduce you to has an Order of Australia Medal and she's a mum these days.  Please make her welcome.  She played in the Sydney 2000 Games and if you watch this little video we're about to show you very, closely, you may see that she features.  She was Simone Hankin in the Sydney Olympics and she's now Simone Fountain.  Please make Simone Fountain welcome (applause).  (Video played).  (Cheering and screaming).  So Simone featured in that little passage of play there.  She finished her career as an elite water polo player in 2001 and she has worked as head coach of women's water polo.  Simone, hi.  


I'm about 100 metres away from you --

We are a long way away.  

I might get a hand-held mic.  Thanks, Gareth.  When you look at that clip, tell us what happened there and tell us how it makes you feel.  

Well, my heart is racing.  Certainly every time I get to see that vision, it takes me straight back to those moments.  And something that people don't really know is that Yvette, who scored our winning goal with 0.3 of a second to go in the final that won us that game and won us the gold medal, Yvette and I spent a lot of time together after trainings and we would always make a pact that we would stay in the water extra time.  So really I guess in a way that was a little bit of a rehearsed moment.  Yvette was sitting out the top as a left hander, probably the best left hander in the world, and we had 19,500 people in the stand that night making a lot of noise with only seconds to go.  She had her eyes alight telling me to pass her the ball.  And it was almost instinctive because we had practised so often together just the two of us that I passed her the ball, she got it on the hand sweep and put it top corner with 0.3 of a second to go for us to do what we all had as a team to do the fist pump, but I tell you what, our fists were pumping along with the 19,500 people that were in the stands.

And John, I don't know if you noticed, but that was the Americans that we beat 4-3 in that particular passage of play there.  Sorry about that, chief.  You're still involved and you've been involved in water polo not only -  I mean, you scaled the heights in 2000 and we all remember that moment.  It was amazing, we all remember it.  But you've stayed involved, haven't you, with grassroots water polo and also now as a parent.  Tell us a little bit about that.  

Yeah, I have.  Right alongside my career I was always coaching, so I found I got a lot of joy out of it and it actually provided me with a different aspect to give me good feedback about how I played.  So I always coached as a volunteer back in my club and found that it was really positive for me to give back to the sport.  That's why I've continued to do it and, you know, I was really lucky to be able to obviously coach at an international level as well along the way.  And certainly now as a parent I always say that that was my life then and my life now is with three children and my husband and I have a 14-year-old and twin 10-year-olds at the moment.  And I think everything I did then actually prepared me to have two babies at the same time and a toddler.  And so certainly some of the things that I tried to provide to my children is what was provided to me by two great role models in my family and my parents and they provided me with - you know, they stood aside, they're not athletic themselves, and they just provided me the appropriate amount of support.  They were always there when I needed them, but because they didn't know the techniques or the tactics or the emotional parts of the game, they certainly always just stood aside and caught me when I had hard moments and lifted me back up and great family support.  I know I was very lucky because that's not what every child has now who are playing sport, but I feel like I need to do that for my children now and offer them that same support along the way.  So that's really important to me now as a parent.  

As a parent, I guess we try to emulate that idea of "I love watching you play" that the fellers have been talking about.  When you were elite coaching with WAIS, I know Steve Lawrence is here as well --

He is.

-- were you able to sort of provide that "we'll catch you if you fall" environment?  It's pretty tough at the top level, water polo, isn't it?  

It is, it's a really tough sport, and particularly because it's not a professional sport.  So our athletes are always preparing themselves outside of having jobs or looking for career aspirations.  So for me really that was the way that I was, that was my life in the sport, and I always had to have a career to support my habit of water polo.  So I was always as a coach very supportive of what the girls were doing outside of the pool and I always tried to ask those incidental questions to make sure that I was engaged in their lives away from the water to ensure that I understood them when I was trying to provide an influence, their life as an athlete.  So that was really important as well.

Is an advantage for water polo and sports that are of a lower profile that are not professional sports - is that an advantage, do you think, with the expectations and the playing the sport for the joy and achievement is there?  

I think that's why we were so lucky to come away with that win.  Women's water polo wasn't included in the Olympics until 2000 and it wasn't until people realised we were going into the Sydney Games ranked second a lot of people jumped on board.  And we were very lucky to have that support leading into the games, but we still believed that we loved the game.  And certainly if I think about my parents again, the best piece of advice I ever received was to do it because I love it and when the love stops is when you look to retire.  And so they're the types of things that I remind the athletes that I might coach and I also try to instill in my children.  You know, now we have this life of instant gratification and our kids are grabbing things and wanting things to work for them straightaway.  So I want to provide what I was provided and that is to have that resilience, to have the persistence that even when you don't like sport for a day, or the things that you usually liked to do the coach didn't let you do, is to actually be able to tell them that there's tough times in every sport and there's tough times in every job and there's tough times in life where you have to do things that you don't necessarily love to do.  And so it's trying to provide them with those pieces of expertise that allow them to then be resilient through their sporting life.  I realise sport is really important and it gives a huge amount of life skills and so that's what I want to give back to my kids now and any athlete that I come across.  

Simone, the audience are going to get a chance to ask you some questions later during our panel, but can you please thank Simone for being here today (applause) and she'll answer some questions.  Thanks, Simone, beautifully done.  (Applause).


Our next guest plays for West Coast Eels, he wears number 17, he's won a couple of Coleman Medals.  He's also a father.  Please make him welcome, everybody, Josh Kennedy.  (Applause).  Hey, Josh.  (Video played).  That finished pretty quickly.  (Laughter).  Josh, nice to see you, mate.  How are the kids?  Which one is your favourite?  

Great question.  No, the kids are going well.  Sage is 11 weeks tomorrow and Lottie is 21 months.  At the moment Sage is the favourite because she's pretty chilled.  Lottie is an absolute nightmare, an absolute nightmare.  (Laughter).

Mate, I want to ask you I suppose about your junior and your formative years of being a footballer.  You come from Northampton, the Cripps, Hazelby area.  Some really good footballers come out of Northampton.  I know you've heard a little bit of what the boys have had to say and what Simone has had to say.  Sport for country kids, how important is it and what did you get out of it?  

Yeah, I think it's what brings the community together.  You know, I grew up in Northampton and sport was everything, Friday, Saturday, Sunday was either basketball Friday, Saturday nights and then obviously rolling into football season, where you train Monday, Wednesday, Friday and you play on the weekend.  So it really brought the town together.  You know, Sunday football was the best day of the week, especially as a kid.  We'd get to go play juniors and then you'd go watch the league play or Colts Resies league.  I used to do scoreboard, which was pretty good pay.  I used to get a Coke and a pie.  That was pretty good.  And because we had a creek near our goals, obviously the ball used to get kicked over.  If you would go and fetch that, you used to get two cokes and a pie, so that was an even better job.  But no, just the whole sense of community, you know, from the juniors to the seniors to just the parents to the whole town getting around it I think, yeah, it was a real good sense of community and it brought the town closer together, especially in hard times I think with a lot of farming and situations up there.  Football was always something that brought everyone to the club and to get together, which is pretty cool.  

And what about parental support from your parents and parents in a town like that, super important driving kids around and to other towns, what was the parental support like for you?  

Look, yeah, obviously everyone took their fair share and I remember going to a lot of games, especially when we had to go to Mullewa, which was about an hour and a half drive from Northampton, and it depends which mum I suppose drew the short straw to take the kids.  That was back when you could jump in the back of the station wagon and you didn't neat a seatbelt or anything back then, so we'd have seven  or eight kids lying in the back and yeah.  So no, it was definitely - and like I said before, it was just a sense of community, everyone was willing to help each other out.  And obviously a small town, all us kids used to gang together help each other out and get to training and get through it all, so it was good.  

I go to quite a few West Coast games and I'm sure there are other people here.  You've become over the years a favourite with the crowd, one of the more popular players.  Do people say to you, other than your parents, "I love watching you play"?  I'm sure they do.  

I wasn't early.  I was the guy that got rid of Juddy, you know what I mean?  I was the guy who replaced Juddy, so it was pretty hard.  But no, I've been quite lucky over I suppose my journey at the club and the fans have been great, the club has been great.  I'm just so rapt to be able to play back in my home state.  

Has it always been fun for you?  Elite sports people get injured.  Has there ever been a time where it hasn't been fun for you for whatever reason?  

Yeah, definitely it's ups and downs.  I was talking to someone about this the other day.  One thing I'm not going to miss when I retire is the roller-coaster.  You know all about the roller-coaster and the ups and downs that you go through with it and everyone has it in their life and work and whatever it is.  But yeah, the best thing I think about a football club and we were lucky is the team environment, everyone is around there to support you.  We had really good coaches and staff, resources that we could lean on to get through.  Plus you had your parents and your family and all that stuff.  So yeah, look, it's been an amazing journey.  But yeah, the fun thing, it's a very interesting topic because even in professional sport with us, a lot of the time when shit hits the fan, that's the first thing the coaches do.  They bring out the soccer ball and you have a bit of fun.  You bring it back into the game and it almost, yeah, gets you going again to get back on the horse and start charging.  So, yeah, it's good to see, you know, people appreciating it because that's why we play.  That's why we play sport, it's for the fun.  

I'm sure someone in the room will ask about round 1, Josh, it's been all through the media in the last little while.  It won't be me, it will be one of these guys I reckon.  Mate, just finally, with regards to your own - the girls, the kids are little now.  How do you reckon you're going to go as parent when they start playing sport?  Are you going to be good and nice and well behaved?  

Yeah, well, it's going to be interesting.  No, I'd love them to do whatever they want to do, whatever sport.  The missus is not too keen.  She's not too keen to run around on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, she wants a bit of a break she reckons.  But no, it should be really cool and I'm really looking forward to getting them into whatever sport they want to play, whatever they choose, so whatever they find the most fun in.  Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see how they go along with their journey.  

All right.  Please thank Josh Kennedy, everyone.  (Applause).  You have a chance to ask him questions.  Thanks, Josh.  Thank you.  I would like to bring John and Clark back up if we can.  We have some special microphones I think to circulate - is that right, Claire?  Yes, we do.  They're just here.  They're a microphone that we can throw to you.  They're like a puffy microphone we can throw to you.  Just when you do, tell us who you are and maybe why you're here or if you're a parent or a coach or an athlete or whatever.  Please put your hand up if you'd like to ask a question.  We've got Wayne here down the front.  So Wayne and Jeff have got the two mics.  Come down here, Jeff, so you can see them, mate.  All right, we'll kick them off.  We've got a few moments here, and as I say, we've got a few of John O'Sullivan's book to give away.  

Hi there.  I'm Brendan Marsh.  I've got three young boys and they're playing a few sports and everything and we love it.  I do help with a bit of coaching as well.  An incident last year occurred with my eldest, he got concussed playing football, and I suppose that's one thing we haven't spoken about tonight is the risk of injury and how to approach that issue.  My boy when he got concussed, it wasn't super serious, but he was really not with it for a week after the event and they say it takes a while to recover from it.  And the last thing we want to see is sports causing brain damage due to these types of incidents.  But on the other hand, he loves his AFL, he wants to play.  And I'll add to that question with the comments about I think we're emphasising team sport.  My boy is probably playing a bit of squash at the moment and he's thinking about badminton instead of footy for the winter, for the next run, because of this risk, I suppose.  So I'd appreciate your comments.  Thank you.  

Are you looking at me first?  


I reckon, yeah, concussion, worries of injury.  

So I think obviously we can't put children in a bubble, right?  Sport is always going to have some sort of inherent risk and as the people who run sport, people who coach sport and the parents, again we should be advocating and looking out for the human being.  With American Football right now there's a lot of study going on, especially with things like head injuries, because American Football is very unique in that, you know, whether it's AFL or Rugby - we have a lot of sports that are contact sports, but the NFL, American Football, is an impact sport.  There's 11 impacts every time.  And we've learned more about the brain in the last five years than we have in the previous 500.  So we're learning a lot in this country and I think it's just what sport has to do, American Football, Rugby, ice hockey is going through this as well, is really look at how sport has changed, what we know about the brain, and then can we create especially youth sport experience, the type of games and the size of games that reduce the things that might cause injury.  So there's a big push in the US now to push off tackle football until much later ages and things like that.  I of course am not a neurosurgeon, but I do think one of the things that happens when kids get injured a lot of times is that's when they think about quitting.  And I think one of the best pieces of advice I ever got when someone was injured and I went through a double leg fracture as a player as well and I wanted to walk away and someone said, "You know what, get back to where you were before you were hurt and then if you want to step down, then go ahead."  And that was great because by the time I got back to where I was before I got hurt, I felt like I was getting better again.  So when you're helping your kids through injuries, sometimes that's just the piece of advice that I found really helpful.

I think it's quite fearful as a parent as well, thanks for your question, Brendan, but it is quite fearful to stand on the sidelines and watch your child go through that.  And particularly with concussion, we see ongoing issues for around a week, sometimes two weeks, sometimes a little bit further on.  But it's about actually providing that maybe back to your club as well and saying, "Look, I'm concerned about my child's safety, what are the policies and procedures involved, that you have in this club?"  And I know that the AFL have very strong guidelines around that and that they're even doing great research, as was mentioned, in the American Football Leagues, they're now adopting some of those research and some of the strategies out of that research.  So it's important the club understands where you're coming from as well and I think that's probably something you can do, if it's not for your child at this moment, you know, getting the right medical support for him, but also then being able to ensure that any child who has a significant issue on the field as well or something similar are cared for by the clubs that are looking after them and should be looking out for their duty of care and covering their duty of care.  So that's probably a really important space.  

Just stick your hand up if you have a question.  Jeff and Wayne have the microphones here.  Go for it, folks.  This is your time.  We've got four fantastic panelists here.

Can I just touch quickly on your point about squash.  We talk about team sports.  Squash is a team sport too because there are lots of players doing it, and there's a great book if you want to read it called "Run to the Roar" about the best squash coach in the history of sport.  Every sport where they're engaging is a team sport because there's a relationship between the player and the coach or the other players on the team.  So one of the good things here is we have so many options to play, so it wasn't ignoring squash as a singular sports.  Swimming is a great example.  The kids that chase the black line, it's a very solo sport, even though they're part of a team.  So you do both.  

But the principles are fairly the same that you adopt for team sport and individual sport.  The principles are still there and it can be transferable for your child particularly.  

My name is Daniel.  I've got three kids.  Two of them I coach football and basketball, two boys, my older daughter plays basketball, I just give friendly advice which gets sort of blank stares back or angry stares back.  So really great stuff tonight - and I'm also heavily involved in the junior footy club, particularly around the coaching area.  So already there's things going off in terms of about (a) educating our coaches and (b) the parent group.  I wanted to pull you back to the resilience point because that to me is one of the big things.  I totally agree, sport is about resilience and knowing the ups and downs and how to handle that emotional intelligence.  But what I'm experiencing at the moment as probably a lot of other people in the room is when we were younger, you played and you knew if you won or you lost you had to deal with it.  Now - I've got two boys who are under the age of 10 where there are no scores.  So as they go through - it's fine in Auskick because everybody has fun, but as you get older, kids start to learn, they start to see, they start to know and have a sense of the game.  But what I'm seeing is because they don't know how to win or lose or because they haven't done it, that emotional intelligence all of a sudden now when they're getting called for fouls or when the other team is dominating, they can't handle that and that's starting to spill over on to their performance on the court.  The other thing is that what I've noticed with the parents group is like the parents are competitive because they've had so long without knowing who's winning or losing, at the first chance they get to do it, bang, they're at it, and that's when the teams have their own clubs.  So where do you see the future of this because it's a big debate amongst the fraternity about when they can actually start playing.  I'm not saying you play for premiership points, but for a child to know yes, you won today or no, you lost today is a life lesson on how they deal with everything else.  

We wait way too long to do it.  To be honest with you, you can walk into any year 1 or 2 classroom in the country and say "who's the fastest" and they all point to the kid, "who's the smartest", they all point to the kid, who's the best at this, they all know, they've already all done it.  So there's a part - they're actually quite good at it and we teach it out of them.  So I think we have to bring that in.  Prizes for every kid, first place for every child, I think it's the wrong direction.  

I do have a bit of a problem with it as well and I understand your position, but if we have a spelling bee, we thrust the guy who wins or the girl who wins up in front of the whole school and everyone celebrates that person and they came first in the spelling bee or the mathematics competition.  Well, my strength wasn't maths.  My strength wasn't necessarily the spelling bee.  But in my day we did.  I was the sports person at my school and I was in front of the school and I got then the opportunity to speak in front of my peers and my school because I was that person and that was my strength.  So why don't we celebrate the strengths?  That's where my issue lies.  And I understand we need to have probably a bigger philosophical discussion about when and where we stop because we do want kids to be active and we want everyone to participate and have an opportunity to be active in community, but there's got to be reward where talent sits and there's got to be reward where effort sits.  And I think we do that really well educationally with a lot of other different ways in which we educate our kids, but we don't necessarily always.  We've lost doing it with sport and I agree.  


Yeah, it's something that I'm going to face I suppose coming up in the next, yeah, at least 15 years when my girls start playing.  I can't really comment in terms of the kids at your age and stuff just yet, but I see it a lot with our 17-, 18-year-old kids coming into the AFL and how they deal with I suppose training, selection, and everything like that, and it seems to be such a high and there's this massive low.  Whereas back when we were going through it, it was a bit more steady and I think when I got yelled at or got told I was doing the wrong thing by an older bloke - and whether it's a respect thing or not I'm not too sure - but, you know, you'd listen and you'd go, "Okay, I need to get better", whereas we've had to as a leadership group approach it so much different now with the kids coming through because you can't, or we've found that we can't directly tell them black and white "This is the wrong thing to do" because of the way they react and then they go into their bubble and everything like that.  So it's something that I've struggled to deal with over the last couple of years especially in the leadership group with our 18-, 19-year-old kids coming through.  So I don't really have the answer.  These guys are more equipped with all that.  But I definitely know that being able to give them a bit of a clip I suppose and then having the positive reassurance on why they're there which you talked about with the strengths and focusing on that has definitely helped a lot of guys I suppose progress through that frustration that when things don't go their way, it is just over.  

Thank you.  Well answered.  A question out here.  

Yes.  Hello, my name is Justin.  I've got the trifecta.  I'm a coach, a parent and a vice president of a club.  I have five children.  I've got a son who's playing American Football in the US and I've got three water polo players, three girls who play water polo, and I've just lost three grand because two of them got selected in the state team, so I'm having a heart attack.  

Well done.  

I have two questions.  One is for the panel and the other one is directed to you, Simone.  Actually it's from my wife because she just texted through.  She wants to pick your brain.  

Oh, wow, modern technology.  

The first question is how - and it's probably more so to do with that transition from how do your kids where they go through that stage where it's gone from fun to becoming serious, where they're embracing that passion and going into they want to take this to the next level and dealing with the politics of sport as a parent and of trying to - that lawnmower analogy sort of made me think about it that there's a fine line between making it easier for them but trying to give them the best opportunity and looking for that opportunity.  So that's my first question.  And the other question from my wife was how did you fuel yourself with all the water polo training?  That's her question, because she just doesn't know how to feed them because they're getting tired.  

Right, so a nutritional question, but the other part of the question.  From my experience, to answer the first part of your question about when they transition through to start to really take it quite seriously, I guess I was - again, I was really lucky because my family had no idea how to handle my progress and I was selected in the national team when I was 15, I'd only been playing the sport for a year, and then I had a 12-year career up until the Olympics.  So it was kind of a bit of a meteoric rise and I was even catching my breath around it as well.  And my parents just came in behind me and gave me that advice, "If you love it, continue to do it", and again I think my first trip to represent Australia was $3,000 for my family to put up.  So certainly that kind of financial aspect and that kind of really strong support was there.  And I guess when I look back at that part of my career where I was like, "Well, this is really quite serious now and I'm actually doing this and I'm away with" - the next girl above me was 21 years of age and so I was coming to grips with all of that.  But they were slowly giving me the tools to be able to have those conversations for myself and for me to have the responsibility of having a credit card while I was overseas, which was still out of their bank account, it was all those tiny little things where there was always a reverse charge phone call opportunity then in the days of no mobile phones and I could always lean on them, they were there when I needed them and they coached me actually the life skills that went along with my career.  But again, they weren't pushing me really hard either, they were just there.  So that's probably - it's I guess coming in at the times that they need it and making sure that they're the ones in front expressing their opinion and making their decisions with your help obviously silently in behind, but just being able to coach them along that pathway is probably for me.  

So I think as your kids go from that sort of sport for participation to sport for performance pathway one of the things that I think you can always ask them after every match or everything they play is, "What went well, what needs work, what can we learn from today that will make us better tomorrow?"  And something like politics and sport, they have no control over that.  And so young players growing up really - we focus too much on outcomes, and this doesn't have anything to do with winning or losing is bad, but I'm sure, as Josh will probably tell you, at the highest level it's more about behaviours and habits and the things that you do day after day that make you great.  And when we focus on kids' outcomes and we don't focus on instilling the right behaviours - you know, grit, resilience, work hard, teachable spirit, all that - then that's a very detrimental thing because there's very few individuals that their talent can overcome poor habits and behaviours.  And so instilling that is really important, saying to them, "What do you control?"  This was my dad's best thing to me, growing up in New York and I was the last one to grow and he just said, "You can't control that, but what do you control?  Do you show up early, do you stay late, do you listen, do you work hard, do you ask what can I give versus what can I get?"  And if you do all those things, the physical pieces will all come.  So if your kids start focusing on the politics, you can't control that, but start checking the boxes of all the things you can control because that's how you get to the next level.  

And Simone, just quickly, nutrition.  

Feeding them.  Tough.  We eat a lot, us water polo - we can have a little bit more buoyancy than some land-based sports so we do eat a lot.  Look, I think that's a really - I want to try to give you some tips, but it's a really individual thing.  I liked wraps with a banana and honey on the top and rolled it up and ate that.  I was really careful that I was looking after myself from the sugar intake and you can get quick hits off things like lollies and jelly beans and we see that that happens because you need to replace some of that quickly sometimes, but certainly the in-between meals were really important to me.  I would even eat cereal at 6 o'clock at night because I had an hour and a half before I had a training session or I'd just come off my midday session and hadn't really had time to have a significant meal.  So I always had cereal, I always had milk, I always had wraps, I always had bananas, and I found that that was king of economically okay and fuelled me quite well.  And then if there was leftovers, well, they got put into smaller portions just for a grab and go meal that I could have.  I was also not an athlete who could eat close to competition or close to training because it wasn't a good outcome.  

All right.  Folks, we've just got a few more minutes.  We're going to squeeze three quick ones in, if that's okay.  Jeff, who have you got over there, mate?  Thank you.  Three quick ones.

Hi, my name is Emma.  I've got my own 12-year-old son, but I also foster three other boys who range in the ages from 12 to 16, but they're all going on 30.  My question is basically you all talk about keeping in sport and children start off early, all that sort of thing.  When you get these children who haven't had the opportunities unfortunately as all you younger ones have and you know it's what they need, though, they need to get into something to feel valued and team sports, all that sort of stuff, what's the best way to try to show adult teens that they want to do some sport or try some sport or what's the best motivator to tell them to give it a go, that sort of thing, if that makes sense?  

Oh, it's probably finding what they're interested in.  Do they watch sport, do they enjoy watching --  

All of them seem to be gamers, like they all like the screens, they all like this sort of thing, so they're not sport lovers, so we're sort of starting from scratch as to - they're quite introverted, but I don't know if that's from their upbringing or if it's, you know.  

Yeah, it's probably just, I don't know, getting a ball out, getting a soccer ball out at home.  I'm trying to think what I would do.  I don't know what you guys would do.  But just to have that, get them interacting together outside doing some things, take them down the park.  They might not like it, they might find a little bit of interest in it, but it's trying to harness that little bit.  They might find enjoyment out of kicking a soccer ball or kicking a football or throwing a ball, whatever it is, and just slowly building on that, because I don't think you can force it on them.  But you can - yeah, you can try to find little things that they find a little bit of laughter out of, they find fun, they find fun to do, and they start having I suppose little games together.  That could be - that's a slow process.  

I have a great activity for my kids when they want screen time.  It's called mowing the lawn, right, cleaning up the house, shovelling snow.  All those things are great sports.  

I think what I've done, because I have two boys who can spend a little bit of time screen timing and my daughter is usually my shadow sometimes - and congratulations for taking on those kids.  That's fabulous.  But it's about not necessarily even having a structured game that they have to play.  It's about them moving and getting busy - whether they're climbing trees or building something out the back together.  I know they're teenagers, so they're not probably going to put up a cubby, and that's something I used to do with my kids when they were littler, so they're used to kind of going, "Okay, it's a break from the screen now, let's get outside and let's climb a tree."  Are they interested in digging a hole and putting plants in it.  It doesn't have to actually be about throwing a ball or kicking a ball.  Maybe getting them moving might just actually start them to see the fun in which they can be with their siblings and do something together and then that might lead them on to sport at another time.  So recreate in some way, climb a tree.  Like I think the park is the best thing, just say "We are all going to the park together" and make it a whole family - like change the behaviour of the family, get them all out together and say, "We're just doing this together, this is compulsory, and we're going to the park this afternoon and whether you sit on your bottom in the middle of the field" - or two of them are bound to get up and do something, even if they're wrestling, they're still moving.  That's what my boys do three quarters of the time is wrestle each other these days.  But maybe that's an idea, just start with something simple that just gets them out and about and make it a family thing, make it that we're all going and doing it together.

Have you considered moving to Northampton?  That's where Josh is from.  It's lovely up there, isn't it, Josh?  Well done, thank you.  We've got time for a couple more questions.  Thank you, Wayne, we've got one down here.  And we'll go up the back too.

Hi, my name is Jodie and I coach 13-year-old girls in both netball and basketball and what's come through really strongly for me tonight is the fun concept and I do try to make it fun, but being 13, I sometimes find that the fun can go into the skills.  What quick tips have you got for still allowing the fun, but stepping back into that skill teaching and the wisdom teaching that you've all talked about?  

I think the biggest thing for me is changing the game, because too often with 13-year-olds and fun, if we go out there and set up plays for netball or set up this, they lose the fun because they're in their cognitive part of the brain.  So I love seeing what sports do, like Josh said, bring out the soccer balls, but do quick three on three things, quick two on three things, little aspects of the game that are small skills that are fun, fast and the numbers change really quickly, because what it does is it's teaching core skills for netball and basketball but without teaching big concepts.  And because they can't see the big concepts happening, they think they're doing just fun stuff.  

Yes.  And I think also even at 13 my big thing, especially 13 and under, play first.  So most of my practices are we play.  As they're showing up, it's one on one, two on two, whatever.  We play first, we break it down in the middle, we play again at the end.  No kid every goes, "God, I hope we queue up today", right?  So like get them there, get them playing, burn off the sugar, whatever it is, let them socialise while they're running around.  That makes it fun, right?  The games make it fun and actually all the research around learning is that the more decisions they're making, the more games they're playing, it's actually stickier learning as well.  It's much more effective than one kid one ball or pass and go in a line.  

And even Josh mentioned with him when things get tough in AFL level, the soccer ball comes out and it's still fun, right, Josh?  

Yeah, well, what we've been doing, we've been bringing the NFL ball out.  So a lot of boys obviously love that.  Especially during last year, a few things didn't go right in terms of the way we were structured, the way we played.  So instead of getting out there on the footy field and running through what we were doing wrong, we'd kind of set up on a smaller pitch and instead of kicking, you've got the ball which you're throwing around.  So just even that, and boys start running little plays which are pretty similar to the patterns that we run on the field, you know, blocking, moving for each other up and down, leading and all that stuff and that just seems like a little thing where we're getting the most out of training because we're still doing that on a small level but the boys are having fun and enjoying it at the same time where it's not a drainer where the coaches are barking and saying "This is what we did wrong" and seeing vision of what we did wrong and all that sort of stuff.

I think too at 13, sorry - at 13 you could probably challenge them and say, "Okay, each week we're going to have two of you create something for the start of the session" and actually give it back to the kids to come up with a drill or a game to start the session with, so you have a weekly session.  And they could have if they haven't done enough then put them at the week 8, but otherwise put the ones you know who can construct a little drill, get them to coach it.  Because like I said earlier, the best thing in reflection actually standing up and coaching is about, "Wow, is that what I'm like when I'm a player?"  It's a really great skill for them to have and it might add just that aspect of fun.  

Thank you.  

Thank you, great question.  Jeff, we've got someone up the back.  

Hello.  My name is Jo.  Thank you very much for coming and I wanted to touch on a couple of points that John brought up earlier and one is about having variety of sport and not being too competitive too young.  I have three children and two of them play a variety of sports and all my children are very happy in their sport and my eldest daughter, who is 12, got into a sport a couple of years ago which she absolutely loves which is all great.  However, it's now got to a point where she's doing like maybe four or five training sessions of that sport and that's like two or three hours at a go.  I - well, our family would really like her to diversify in her sport.  Have you got any tips on how I can pull her back on the sport that she loves so that she can do other things, and secondly, how I can approach the coach and say, "Can we cut back on training, please, because I'd like to do another sport?"  

So we can have diversity of sports and diversity within sport and so I would hope that any sporting club that's demanding that much training time has a lot of diversity of movement within it.  Part of that training time should be balancing and stretching and movement and yoga-type movements to do that.  I think she's getting to that age, 12, 13, 14, where if she really loves it, we don't want to pull back, but as the parent we also have to say okay, there is a specific amount of time that you need to take off.  Even professional players get time off and we see young baseball players throwing more innings than professional ones do.  So again, advocate for the child and say, "Hey, this" - you know, if she hasn't hit a growth spurt, she's about to and she's going to be very susceptible to injury.  So if she's not getting that multi movement, you have to say to the coach, look, this is too much of a training load right now for this, can we back it off one day so she can go do some yoga or some martial arts or some balancing or tumbling or parkour or whatever it is.  But in big sports clubs around the world they incorporate that into the training.  At Manchester United they teach tumbling and parkour to all of their players as part of the training because they realise that's an essential part.  So advocate for your child in that regard.  I would say you don't want to pull her out of something she loves, she's old enough to own that and make a decision, but you have to say "But you do need rest and you do need these recuperative activities as well."  

All right, we might leave the panel there.  How did you get out of that parking ticket, Clark, what did you say?  

Sorry, say that again?

How did you get out of that parking ticket today?  

Oh, I didn't get the ticket, I just smoothed it over.  

Just smoothed it over, yeah.  You just smoothed it over, all right.  Josh, Josh Kennedy, any modifications to the kicking style this year, mate, what can we expect, goal kicking shot thing routine?  

Well, at Auskick that dads and parents haven't been yelling at me as much, yeah, obviously with the run-ups not being as stuttery.  But no, look, I had surgery before Christmas and I'm slowly building back now.  I started running last week, run through this week, start training next week.  I don't know if I'll play any JLT games, but looking forward to playing round 1 at the new stadium, which will be cool.

Yes, it is very cool.  Folks, can you please thank our panel, please thank these guys for giving up their time tonight - John Clark, Simone and JK, thank you.  (Applause).  Some fantastic questions there.  Folks, just while we have you, if I can just grab you for five more minutes and I'll keep the panelists here for just a short moment.  We - when I say "we", I've worked at the Department of Sport and Recreation for a long time and I've also been part of this idea, this concept.  It comes out of the Department of Sport and Recreation and it comes out of WA Sports Federation.  Rob Thompson is here and Michael Beros are here from Sports Fed.  We'd like to launch True Sport.  You may have heard a little about this.  A lot of what the guys have been talking about are about values.  True Sport is an idea that's been worked on for the last three or four years and shopped around in the different sports associations, clubs, people that we know and respect in sport about this idea.  TrueSport really is the way we play together shapes the way we live together, so it's a values-based idea.  I'll tell you a little bit more about it as we go here, but we have a number of ambassadors.  You see our guys, a lot of our staff from the Department of Sport and Recreation and Communities have these green shirts on which have "True Sport" on it.  That's the logo behind me.  We have some ambassadors for True Sport and I'll bring them up and I'll explain a little bit more to you about it.  All of you can be True Sport ambassadors and so can your kids and so can the clubs and the associations and the sports that you function in.  I'd like to invite these guys up, if we can.  These are guys that we think embody the True Sport values.  There are eight values.  There is a website that is already around and you can download some of these things.  This is a tool kit that you can use.  So in launching True Sport, we'd like to invite Rob Geersen up on the stage - Rob, if you can come up.  Rob is a true sport because of his lifelong commitment to community footy and he started the Coolbinia Bombers Starkick program.  He's a ripper, Rob, a life-changing footy program for children with disability.  As they say at Starkick, "If you want to play, we'll find a way".  So Rob Geersen is one of our True Sport ambassadors.  Give him a big hand.  (Applause).  Thank you, Rob.  Our next True Sport we'd like to introduce you to, and I reckon you'll know similar stories in your own sports and clubs, Joe Moniodis is a youth champion, he knows that being in sports brings out the best in young folk.  He knows that sport teaches valuable lifelong lessons on and off the field and that through sport young people can bring their best and defy their own expectations in society.  So Joe is our next True Sport ambassador.  Make him welcome.  (Applause). Thanks, Joe.  You may have run across this lady.  She loves talking about sport and the value of sport.  She's incredibly enthusiastic.  She's the CEO of Volleyball WA.  Her name is Robyn Kuhl.  Up you come Robyn, please.  She's a beauty.  (Applause).  And she's been around this True Sport idea since its inception.  She represents all the state associations, I think there's 87 of them that the State Government recognises and funds, and they've all enthusiastically adopted the campaign.  She believes in the power of the eight values and is actively encouraging volleyball clubs all over WA to live them.  So Robyn Kuhl, everyone, our True Sport ambassador.  (Applause).  And one of the more flamboyant sports people you're ever likely to meet.  She has been an African refugee, Bella Ndayikeze.  Bella, if you can come up.  That was reasonably close, Bella, I think.  Don't laugh at me.  She used footy to help set her into her new community, a beautiful big smile.  She's an amazing young person.  She's a coach, a mentor, a youth leader, and she advocates for True Sport in everything she does and naturally inspires everyone else to live like she does by True Sport values.  Bella, well done to you.   Well done to Bella.  (Applause).  So I just wanted to let you know that that is the website there.  There are eight values in True Sport which you can learn about.  Just about all of the values, they're no-brainers, right?  I reckon you guys know them.  Our panel have talked about them tonight.  It's about having fun, it's about respect, it's about including everyone, it's making sure everyone gets to play point guard or centre half forward or open the batting or throw the first pitch at one stage.  It's really aimed at 8- to 10-year-old kids and their parents in community sport.  I did an interview on 6PR about this yesterday with Yetta through the West Australian.  When a story comes out of the back pages of the sport and ends up on the front page, like a cheating ultra-marathoner or a tennis player holding a racquet around the wrong way or a match-fixing scandal - when sport comes out of the back pages and gets in the front pages, we worry that sport's reputation is being tarnished and we worry that parents maybe will pull their kids out of sport or look for other options.  What True Sport attempts to do is what you guys all know - as I say, it's a no-brainer - we teach kids and our clubs and we recognise the true sports in our clubs and in our teams.  So keep an eye out.  This is the official launch of it tonight.  You guys are some of the first to hear about this and we appreciate you coming down tonight.  So have a look at  It's been put together by Claire Scullin, who heads it up at Department of Sport and Recreation.  I think you'll find it incredibly useful.  One thing I will just say in closing on True Sport, it's something that we all do, it's something that we live and breathe, as we heard the panel say.  As much as anything, it just gives us a little phrase, it just gives us a little branding exercise for us to talk about this great thing and the power that sports brings to our kids' lives, to our lives and to the broader society.  So, have a look.  And we'd like to thank our True Sport ambassadors once again.  Thanks a lot, everyone.  (Applause).  Thank you.  (Applause).  Thanks, everyone.  Folks, we do have a couple of books to give away and John will help you out with some of our people who asked questions.  Thank you for coming along tonight on behalf of the department and the WA Sports Federation.  Have a great evening and tell your kids you love watching them play.  Thanks very much.