Gretchen Kerr, University of Toronto:
- At its core, the Safe Sport movement is about optimizing the sport experience for all—athletes, coaches, sport administrators, officials, support staff, and others in the sport environment.
- Broader societal changes have influenced the Safe Sport movement:
- Changing approaches to child and youth development
- The #MeToo/Time’s Up movements
- Increased attention to equity, diversity, and inclusion
- Highly publicized cases of athlete maltreatment
- For sport leaders, understanding the process of change (i.e., denial, resistance, exploration, and commitment) can be useful to successfully embedding Safe Sport practices within their sport.
This article addresses the next steps in the Safe Sport journey; specifically, how to move from a focus on prevention of harms to a focus on optimizing the sport experience for athletes and sport leaders alike. This journey involves a cultural change in sport—one that challenges some traditionally accepted assumptions and practices and encourages the adoption of new methods. Building on my work with National Sport Organizations (NSOs), this article has three aims:
- To show that Safe Sport extends beyond the prevention of harms to the optimization of sport experiences;
- To highlight some of the broader societal influences on Safe Sport, which are also affecting other sectors in Canada and abroad;
- To address some of the common concerns and questions about Safe Sport. …