By Tom McNish
YOUNG people have stopped playing footy and are instead redirecting their energy into non-traditional sports.
Importantly, most young people are getting regular exercise.
But with most teenagers taking on casual jobs with random shifts to pay for their phone bills and outings, they’re yearning for sports which don’t have set times and dates for training sessions or events.
The affordability of gym memberships and kids wanting to try other sports, youth are finding other ways to reap the physical and social benefits previously provided for by playing footy.
The rapid uptake of technology – including tablets and phones – has contributed to a decrease in sports’ participation.
The challenge now faced by sports officials is getting bums off seats.
Some local footy clubs have tried offering incentives, like an Xbox, but to no avail.
The solution is finding a sport which the kid loves. And there’s plenty to choose from.
Most of the Wonthaggi Secondary College (WSC) school leaders participate in a sport, such as soccer, netball, boxing, girls and boys AFL, martial arts, surfing, swimming, basketball, golf and gym.
Although most students do participate in some personal sports, Kate Sly – sports co-ordinator at WSC – has found it increasingly difficult to fill representative team squads.
“At a senior level here at McBride we are seeing less kids embracing school sports,” said Ms Sly.
“What used to be an exciting day away from the school, now a lot of the time kids will put their names down, but come the day of the event they just won’t show up.”
However, teachers are finding a strong correlation between sport activity and academic performance.
Teacher Korri Stewart understands kids to have a range of social activities available to them most weekends.
“With so many social activities coming up, kids are waiting to the last minute to make up their mind.
“With freedom of casual shifts, it’s easy to find a cover if a ‘better option’ comes up.”
Many teachers have also found that kids are coming to school increasingly under-rested, due to spending large amounts of time on phones into the night, decreasing quantity and quality of sleep.
“It’s hard to get kids motivated for sport, sometimes they sign up to different activities but come the day we leave they don’t want to play anymore.
“Often the kids that are most employable are also the ones playing the most sport.”
When looking for part-time work students report jobs as straight forward to acquire.
Some finding employment through family or friends, most applying with their developed resumes and some creating their own businesses.
School captain Hayley Verboon works part-time at the Wonthaggi Vet, she says that her motivated friends find it easy to acquire work.
“Costs are increasing for teens these days, kids are working more so they can have money,” said the school captain.
Sports captain George Burgess plays football for Wonthaggi Power, enjoys gym, watching AFL and rugby and would like to work in the sport industry.
“It’s good to see others get involved, just to do what is right for them is best,” said George who works casually at a supermarket.
Student leader Chad Emery has played ‘most’ sports, now preferring martial arts.
“I’ve got a few friends who live in Bass, it’s a bit harder for them to find work,” says Chad who got his job at a Wonthaggi business through a family friend.