devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

Rick Mitchell on Crawford

Posted by devo on November 22, 2009

Rick Mitchell represented Australia at the 1976, ’80 and ’84 Olympic Games, and was also the inaugural executive director of the Tasmanian Institute of Sport. In The Age today he says:

… the Crawford Report suggests otherwise. Coming from a panel with a majority of members having football affiliations, it proposes we focus on sports in the Australian psyche, like football and cricket rather than “minority” sports.

What exactly is a minority sport? Volleyball is hardly part of the Australian psyche, yet it is one of the two largest participant sports in the world. Why should Australia not want to be good at it? Why support sports that have immense media deals and financial capability as it is? Because their representatives say so? Let’s get real chaps! In the global sense, rugby league and AFL, for example, are played by a minuscule gene pool? Minority sports? Indeed!

However, the Crawford report raises one pertinent question. Do we judge Olympic success by medals won or should we focus on the percentage of athletes who produce lifetime bests in the Olympic arena? If it’s the former, then sadly, our view is short term. The latter will bring medals, provided we spend our funds on the one thing nobody seems to mention.

… The real issue is the almost complete lack of a professional career path for coaches in most Olympic sports.

Read the full article ~ The Crawford Review is  here.

16 Responses to “Rick Mitchell on Crawford”

  1. devo said

    Despite the inevitable “Olympic” backlash to the Crawford Review, there is a lot that makes sense in the report.

    Discussion on ways to improve participation rates in sport, restucturing of national programes etc deserve to be considered free from hysteria.

    I recommend that everyone reads at least chapter 1 and the recommendations from the review. The full 357 pages is a bit much!

  2. devo said

    One of the suggestions in the report is that the government reimburse volunteers for “compulsory” costs in sports such as getting coaching qualifications, refereeing qualifications …

  3. Beentheredonethat said

    I would strongly recommend reading more than just chapter one of the report, if you’re really interested in making an informed comment, free from ‘hysteria’ as Devo put it.

    It’s going to be very interesting to see how Minister Ellis responds to this next year.

    At the NSWIS awards last Thursday evening, Alan Jones AO recommended it be used as a door stop.

  4. Alan Cahill said

    Is the Volleyball community going to hear something from the AVF on the Crawford Report or are we all going to speculate on the impact of this document.
    Has someone from the AVF read the report? What, if any, changes are going to be made in the direction of the sport through the prompting of Crawford’s “book”!
    Can we please have some communication that either tells us its “business as usual” or “women and children first”.
    I am hearing/seeing a lot about this report in the Media and other than a couple of “boofheads” like Alan Jones and John Coates (who should hang his head in shame!) I am not hearing enough from the Sporting bodies that this report could impact, either positively or negatively!!

  5. Joan Perry said

    Volleyball Australia has indeed read the report.

    We will be meeting as a Board on Sunday the 6th of December when we will formulate our collective response regarding the Crawford Report. Furthermore, the Australian Sports Commission is facilitating a meeting of all National Sporting Organisations and the Minister for Sport where I, as CEO of Volleyball Australia will attend to ensure that any concerns/issues/points are raised.

    Some brief comments – there are some excellent recommendations in the report, particularly the need to have Physical Education returned to the curriculum as a stand alone key learning area. This has long been the responsibility of schools which they have avoided or completely walked away from and has in turn impacted significantly on sport. Similarly, there is concern that Olympic sport is purely measured on the number of medals we win. This is a very narrow focus. The powers that be who will determine how much funding is provided to sport must have a greater understanding of the impact that high performance funding has on the development of the participation end of the sport – one cannot exist without the other.

    Once a full reply has been compiled, this will be on line via the Volleyball Australia website for all to see.

    • Alan Cahill said

      Thankyou for your prompt response Joan.

      I personally am looking forward to the AVF’s balanced views on the “grassroots” of our sport relative to the high performance end.I agree with your sentiment that “one cannot exist without the other” but please be mindful that one cannot exist at the “expense of the other”.

      • Joe said

        How would you have the model look Alan? Funding per person at the elite end will always be greater than at the grassroots, it simply can’t work any other way. More funding at the grassroots makes sense, but I don’t think this should be at the expense of elite sport. We need to grow the pie rather than re-divide it. My view is that grassroots sports funding should be partly met by the Education and Health Departments given that increased participation should begin at school (as Joan pointed out) and long term shuld help reduce the amount spent on addressing obesity, smoking etc. Vic Health and equivalent bodies were set up for this purpose but perhaps it is time they received federal as well as state funding?

        • Alan Cahill said

          At the risk of sounding repetitive Joe succesful sports models have one thing in common and that is PARTICIPATION!! We simply need more players at any level playing the sport.When you have a wide base the top will be solid.Right now our sport is fragile because our base is narrow and its being “propped up” by volunteers who are craving guidance and direction.

          They need more than a visit every few years!!

      • Anon said

        Agreed. Thanks to my place of employment, I am privy to the fact that even the AOC didn’t have any kind of executive meeting on this until three days after the report was released. So I assume that it would take a little while for individual bodies (such as AVF) to be able to formulate an official response rather than just a sound bite.

  6. Joe said

    Nice to see you on here Joan! More of the same please!

    • Eldo said

      The report highlights that our membership numbers has to reflect all players who play the sport. The states that have been ripping us all off with their dodgey membership numbers could have done us big time harm.

      I was hoping a new AVF all encompasing membership structure would be announced before the ASC.

      Still time??

  7. Tooth Fairy said

    Nothing like making policy on the run. Kate Ellis today announced that Olympic funding will be increased, as well as grassroots funding. I can’t wait for her full response early in the New Year. It seems like no-one is going to lose!

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