FEATURE ARTICLE 2: INVOLVEMENT IN ORGANISED SPORT AS A COACH, INSTRUCTOR, REFEREE OR UMPIRE
Persons who are involved in organised sport and physical activity can be involved as players or in non-playing roles. Non-playing roles include coach, instructor or teacher; referee or umpire; committee member or administrator; scorer or timekeeper; medical support; or other non-playing involvement. This article focuses on persons involved as a coach, instructor or teacher or as a referee or umpire.
Further information can be found in the ABS publication Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, Apr 2007 (cat. no. 6285.0).
How many coaches and referees are there?
Results from the ABS survey of Involvement in Sport and Physical Activity conducted in 2007 show that 1.6 million people or 9.9% of the population aged 15 years and over were involved in one or more non-playing roles. This included 659,000 (4.0%) who were involved as a coach, instructor or teacher and 381,000 (2.3%) who were involved as a referee or umpire.
Overall, more males (386,000) than females (273,000) were involved as a coach, instructor or teacher. This difference was also noticeable for those involved as a referee or umpire with 233,000 males involved, compared with 148,000 females. In most age ranges there were also more males than females involved as a coach, instructor or teacher; or as a referee or umpire. However, an exception was in the 15-24 year age group where there were more females (67,300) involved than males (50,700).
Males (132,000) and females (92,900) aged 35-44 years had the highest level of involvement as a coach, instructor or teacher. Many parents in this age group have young children that may be involved in school or junior sport and this may provide a pathway for parents to become involved as a coach, instructor or teacher. Overall, the majority of persons (472,000 or 71.7%) involved as coaches, instructors or teachers in organised sport were involved in these roles for school or junior sport.
The highest level of involvement as a referee or umpire was observed in those aged 15-24 years. This was the case for both males (59,500) and females (48,600). Sixty-one percent (236,000) of referees and umpires were involved in school or junior sport.
Coach, instructor or teacher and referee or umpire by age and sex,
How many coaches and referees are paid or unpaid?
The majority (513,000 or 78.0%) of persons involved as a coach, instructor or teacher or as a referee or umpire (299,000 or 78.5%) were unpaid. Of those who did receive some payment, including payment in kind, 60.0% of coaches, instructors or teachers and 94.9% of referees or umpires received less than $5,000 per year.
Persons with paid involvement(a),
How much time do coaches and referees spend in their role?
By role and payment amount
More persons involved as a coach, instructor or teacher undertook their role for 27 or more weeks in the year (39.3%), compared with 31.7% who were involved for 1 to 13 weeks and 28.9% who were involved for 14 to 26 weeks. In contrast, people involved as a referee or umpire were more likely to undertake their role for shorter periods throughout the year, with the majority (48.4%) of those involved doing so for 1 to 13 weeks compared with 27.6% being involved for 14 to 26 weeks and 24.0% for 27 weeks or more. This may be a reflection of the pre-season and in-season training sessions for many organised sports compared to the match-day involvement of referees and umpires.
Persons involved as a coach, instructor or teacher were most likely to undertake their role for between 3 and 9 hours per week (43.6%) or for less than 3 hours (42.6%). Just 13.8% were involved in these roles for 10 hours or more per week. In comparison, the majority (62.7%) of referees or umpires were involved for less than 3 hours per week.
Have there been any major changes in the participation rate of coaches and referees over time?
The participation rate of persons involved as a coach, instructor or teacher has remained at similar levels from 2001 (3.7%) to 2007 (4.0%), as has the rate of involvement as a referee or umpire (2.3% in 2001, 2.1% in 2004 and 2.3% in 2007).
Persons with non-playing involvement(a),
By role-2001, 2004 and 2007
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2007, Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, Apr 2007,
cat. no. 6285.0, ABS, Canberra.