23rd April, 2021 — Good Sports

The evidence for Good Sports

With over 10,000 Australian clubs on board, Good Sports is clearly helping clubs thrive. Research backs this up.

We all know that community sporting clubs are important to the health and wellbeing of everyone. Whether that’s players, their families, spectators and friends. Yet there can be some downsides.

Research shows that community sporting clubs are high-risk environments for risky drinking and alcohol-related harm.1 ‘Risky drinking’ is anything over the Australian guidelines of 10 standard drinks per week or 4 standard drinks in one sitting.

How effective is Good Sports for reducing alcohol harm?

A trial found that the Good Sports program reduces the likelihood of risky drinking by 37% and alcohol-related harms by 42%, in clubs that reach the highest level of the program.

Other similar studies have shown similar results. This suggests that the Good Sports program has the potential to reduce risky drinking by club members and the overall risk of alcohol-related harms. Good Sports encourages healthy behaviours, increases participation and supports club sustainability.

How did the research work?

In 2014, the results of a four-year randomised cluster control trial on Good Sports were released. A randomised control trial is the highest level of scientific research that can be used to evaluate a health program.2

The trail was based across NSW. Community football clubs with over 40 members were invited to participate.3 The clubs all sold alcohol and were not already part of an alcohol management improvement program. Members of clubs (including players, spectator/fans, coaches, trainers, committee members and administrators) aged over 18 were able to be part of the trial.3

Clubs were allocated to two group. Either joining the Good Sports program, or continuing on as usual.3

Telephone surveys were conducted with the group members six months before the trial and then three years later, straight after the trial.

  1. Rowland B WL, Gillham K, Kingsland M, Richardson B & Wiggers J,. Is alcohol and community sport a good mix? Alcohol management, consumption and social capital in community sports clubs. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 2015;39(3):210-5.
  2. Rosen L Manor O Engelhard D & Zucker D. In Defense of the Randomized Controlled Trial for Health Promotion Research. Am J Public Health. 2006;96(7).
  3. Kingsland M Wolfenden L  Tindall J ea. Tackling risky alcohol consumption in sport: a cluster randomised controlled trail of an alcohol management intervention with community football clubs. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2015;69:993–9.

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