Campaigns Sport England

Children’s Coaching Collaborative have launched Play Their Way campaign

May 25, 2023

The Children’s Coaching Collaborative (CCC) have today launched ‘Play Their Way’ – a campaign to transform the way children and young people are coached in sport and physical activity, prioritising their rights, needs and enjoyment in a ‘child-first’ approach to help increase activity levels. The campaign is funded by Sport England and The National Lottery and is led by the 17 partner organisations that make up the CCC.

Sport England’s latest Active Lives Children survey found that less than half (47%) of children who regularly exercise strongly agree that they enjoy taking part in sport and physical activity, down from the pre-pandemic level of 51%. The same survey showed that more than half (53%) do not get enough exercise. 

Enjoyment is one of the biggest motivators for children and young people to get active, which is why Play Their Way is dedicated to ensuring children have the best possible experience in sport and activity through the people who know them best – their coaches.

A ‘child-first’ approach to coaching is about championing every child’s voice, choice and journey in sport and physical activity. The Play Their Way campaign aims to level the playing field by putting children first and helping them enjoy being active in their own way, where great coaching can inspire a child to stay active for life.

The campaign will work with England’s 2.6 million coaches to build a grassroots movement aimed at increasing and improving child-first coaching in communities across the nation.

Play Their Way kicked off this morning with an event in South London at Peckham BMX Club, which is changing the lives of young people through a child-first approach to coaching and mentoring across all levels – from grassroots to elite. The club has coached and supported over 2,000 young people since opening its doors in 2004, including Olympic silver medallist Kye Whyte.

To launch the new campaign, the club hosted an open participation event for children to express themselves through sport, attended by leading voices of the campaign and to encourage coaches and activity deliverers to put enjoyment at the heart of their approach. 

Discussing the launch of Play Their Way, Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive, Sport England, said: 

“Positive experiences for children and young people are at the heart of Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy – and child-first coaching is an important part of this.

“Our research tells us that for children, ‘fun’ is the primary reason for taking part in sport and activity. They will want to take part if they enjoy it. It’s vital that we put fun and enjoyment at the centre of sport and activity, and give our children and young people the chance to shape their sporting experiences to boost activity levels.

“We look forward to working with our partners and supporting the amazing coaches across the UK. We want to give all children the chance to have their say – and play their way.”

Heather Douglas, Head of Coaching and Policy at UK Coaching, added:

“Coaches play such an important role in the development of children and young people’s lives, often in difficult circumstances, and can have a profound effect on the positive experiences they have in sport and physical activity

We know that child-first coaching and giving children a choice and a voice in the way they are coached works, and that many of our coaches are out there doing this already. This campaign is about helping more coaches do more of this and through Play Their Way we will be providing them with resources and support to help transform the way our children and young people are coached.

“Our goal is for all children and young people, regardless of age, background or ability, to have a voice, choice and decide their journey when participating in sport and physical activity, so they develop a genuine and lifelong love for being active.”

CK Flash, Head Coach at Peckham BMX Club who hosted today’s launch event, also said:

“It’s a really important moment for coaching across the nation, focusing entirely on our children and young people and understanding that to get the best out of them, coaches need to embrace creativity, independence, and fun.

“Our ethos at Peckham has always been centred on supporting and mentoring young people in our local community, listening to them and understanding their needs. This is so important to helping them stay in sport and physical activity and gain the benefits that brings in other areas of their lives and which improve their life chances.”

The Play Their Way campaign has also been developed by insight and engagement with a network of grassroots sports coaches along with children and young people through a series of focus groups and workshops.

A special Play Their Way digital campaign was also launched today.

To learn more about the campaign, access resources and sign up to join the biggest grassroots movement to transform the way we coach our children and young people visit

Photo credit: Sport England & UK Coaching / Getty Images

Campaigns Sport England