Basketball is now the second most-participated secondary-school sport after a massive 44.9% increase in players this decade.
Over a quarter more secondary school students are playing basketball than they were just five years ago, while volleyball has also seen a five percent increase in playing numbers in the same time period to be the fifth most popular sport.
Netball is New Zealand’s most popular sport by playing numbers despite a 7 percent shift away from playing numbers in the past five years.
More teenagers are playing netball and basketball than rugby, which has seen a 12 percent decline in playing numbers in this time.
The School Sport New Zealand Census shows a total of 26,481 secondary school students played for a basketball team at school in 2018.
The annual School Sport New Zealand Census just released, which details annual secondary-school participation rates since 2000.
The full Census can be found on the New Zealand Secondary School website here http://www.nzsssc.org.nz/newsarticle/72852?newsfeedId=51035
Hockey (+4 percent) and badminton (+9 percent) were also growth sports between 2014-18.
See below for the top 10 table of sports by participation in New Zealand.
Basketball New Zealand Chief Executive Iain Potter says two of the big reasons for this growth include an increasingly diverse national-population and the creation of opportunities to play, but he says the growth is less than what it could be.
“This growth is not a surprise for us. We’ve seen the growth of this participation-trend since the Census began.
“There’s been some great work by the basketball community to foster the opportunities for kids to play, but we could have achieved so much more if the support from central government, the Ministry of Education, local councils and funders corresponded with this vast growth. Basketball-participation has almost doubled in just ten years, whereas basketball’s funding certainly hasn’t,” said Potter.
Potter says the rise in participation correlates with the access to facilities, coaching, and the introduction of basketball opportunities at schools and communities, but he says that good work is not enough to give Kiwi kids the opportunities they are crying out for.
“To play, kids need opportunities with a ball, coach and a court. This relentless growth has seen basketball facilities become prime real-estate, with court bookings bursting. And the majority of our Associations are at their wits-end trying to get enough support to provide coaches, referees, and venues for their players and leagues.”
Potter said New Zealand is a different country than it was in the year 2010 and that the change in demographics also impacts basketball participation.
“Another big reason is the increase in this country’s ethnic diversity. Basketball is a global game that is the preferred sport for many people across many different ethnicities. As the populations of those ethnicities grow in New Zealand, so does basketball participation. We are fortunate to see young players of all backgrounds stepping onto our courts. Basketball in New Zealand caters for kiwis of all races, creeds and both genders,” says Potter.
The Census includes all students that had a meaningful engagement in each sport in the school setting. For example: represented the school in that sport OR took part in a sport provided in-school over a period of six weeks or more OR played for a club arranged by the school as the school had no teams in that sport OR took part in sport that was provided through the KIWISPORT initiative. The Census does NOT include students that took part in 'one off' in-school events such as school athletics / swimming sports or short term interform/house events.
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