Sport NZ has developed the Balance is Better philosophy to inform and provide a framework that puts the needs of the participant first. It originated from the Sport NZ Talent Plan 2016-2020 that focused on growing the capability of the sporting system to better prepare athletes in their development phase to help them realise their potential. Balance is Better has now become a broader conversation underpinning Sport NZ’s overall approach to youth sport that focusses on maximising participation and skill development.
New Zealand Football, along with four other sports codes, first adopted the philosophies of the Balance is Better approach in 2020 and is working with its regional Federations to bring the concept to life at the grassroots level of our game.
Click here for NZF Technical Director Andy Boyens discussing Balance Is Better philosophy linked to his own playing experience.
Where can I learn more about Balance Is Better?
Visit the comprehensive Sport NZ website - Balance is Better - for a range of resources and support material for the philosophy.
What is Northern Region Football doing to implement the Balance Is Better philosophy?
2021 Season Calendar
Following discussions facilitated by NRF in 2020 with winter sports codes, Auckland Council and member clubs, NRF confirmed significant changes to the 2021 season calendar linked to the Balance is Better philosophy. The key change relates to the start dates of community football in Junior (U-5 - U-12), Youth (U-13 - U-19) and Senior (U-20) football.
The 2021 season for this level of competition has been aligned to school terms two and three where previously the season had begun earlier. The changes allow for a smoother transition of players between winter and summer seasons while also aligning better to Auckland Council's field maintanence period between seasons. In future the alignment to the school terms will provide opportunity for NRF to explore introduction of Term based competition and potentially investigate partnerships with other codes in delivery of sport.
Click here for the 2021 NRF Season Calendar.
Balance Is Better Case Study (Sport NZ) - Auckland Football exits Junior representative delivery
In 2017, AFF made the strategic decision to exit it's involvement in the 65-year-old Weir Rose Bowl U-12 Representative tournament.
Click here for the Sport NZ Case Study on AFF stepping out of representative play at junior level.