Parents are our Sideline Champions

We must model desired behaviour through encouragement, respect and courtesy

Champion: /noun/ someone who vigorously supports a cause or person

I heard the other day that in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has created a space for parents of athletes called Sideline Champions.

The Sideline Champions program “acknowledges, celebrates and supports the champions in an athlete’s life as they prepare for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and beyond”.

The AIS states, quite rightly, that parents, partners and significant others “experience every joyful and heartbreaking moment alongside their athlete with the intensity as if they were competing”.

“The Sideline Champions program recognises the athlete’s significant others as key contributors along their journey towards peak performance. It aims to assist the performance and enhance the Games experience of athletes by raising awareness of how to be an effective support person and providing an opportunity for athletes to celebrate the role key people have in their lives,” says the AIS website (www.ausport.gov.au).

All Danebank parents and carers are the Sideline Champions for our girls. This is true not only on the sporting field but also in their studies, creative pursuits and spiritual, social and emotional development.

'Unwavering support from parents is vital'

The unwavering support of families is vital, as in all of these areas of endeavour our girls will experience highs and lows, hurdles and challenges, joy and heartbreak.


So, using sport as an example for all areas of endeavour, how do you support pre, during and post game?

The Independent Girls School Sporting Association (IGSSA) Code of Conduct (http://www.ahigs.nsw.edu.au/IGSSA/CodeofConduct. aspx) states in its governing principles that “participation in interschool sport is an important part of girls’ education. It fosters social, emotional, personal and physical development”.

It states that through participation in competitive sports, girls develop:

  • Self respect and self discipline
  • Respect for others
  • Co-operation and teamwork
  • Responsibility and duty
  • Fairness and tolerance
  • An appreciation of sport as part of a balanced lifestyle
  • Leadership


Participation more important than winning

Participating in inter-school sporting events is more important than winning them. Inter-school sport should encourage collegiality and positive relations between members’ schools and their students. It should never damage or endanger the reputation of any member school or the reputation of independent girls schools.

In response to these governing principals the Code of Conduct for Sideline Champions (Parents and Spectators) says that in this role you should:

  • Encourage girls to give their best effort and applaud good play regardless of which team produces it.
  • Behave respectfully and courteously towards players, coaches, match officials and other spectators.
  • Never discourage or disparage any player.
  • Never criticise a match official. If you have a grievance, follow the grievance procedure on the IGSSA website.


Unacceptable behaviour for the Sideline Champion (parent) includes:

  • Discrimination, harassment and bullying
  • Physically dangerous actions
  • Verbal or physical abuse or harassment
  • Offensive language or behaviour
  • Threatening language or behaviour
  • Derogatory remarks
  • Any behaviour that might reasonably be expected to damage the self-esteem of another.
  • Any behaviour that might reasonably be expected to damage the reputation of an individual, a member’s school or independent girls’ schools generally.

It is obvious that these guidelines for Sideline Champions relate to all areas of life at Danebank. If we are to be Sideline Champions we need to be the ones who vigorously support our girls.

To do this we need to foster self-respect, self-disciplines, respect, co-operation, responsibility, fairness, tolerance, leadership and a balanced life. We must model the desired behaviour for our girls through encouragement, respect and courtesy.

Sometimes as Sideline Champions we can get carried away in the emotion of the moment and believe that we support our girls when we criticise them or others. This will never be the way to champion our girls. The game is a long one. It is a game where the prizes go to those who last the distance and have support pre, during and post game.


Mrs Maryanne Davis, Principal


Find out more about how to enrol, school tours, scholarships and our Life Skills program.

Share in your network