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Redesigning how we deliver sport

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Six Key Principles

VicHealth and La Trobe University’s Centre for Sport and Social Impact developed six key principles to guide our Doing Sport Differently (DSD) principles. These support organisations to design and deliver their programs for people living in Victoria. 

The six principles are designed to support organisations through the four phases of implementing a new social sport participation opportunity or adapting an existing one. 

  • What is 'social sport'?

    Social sport is less structured than traditional sport. It has fewer rules and more flexibility, both in how the sport is played and how you can participate it in. However, social sport is more structured than active recreation activities. 


    For example:

     Traditional sport


    Requires 11 people per team, train once a week, compete once a week, games last 90 minutes.

    Social sport

    GO Soccer Mums:

    A women-only soccer program all about having fun and learning basic football skills in a social, judgement-free environment.

    Active recreation 

    Friends or family visit a local park with a soccer ball and kick between each other.


    Social sport can be designed and delivered by an organisation (e.g. Regional Sporting Assembly), sport club, local council, Regional Sport Assembly or other individuals and groups. Social sport places a greater emphasis on fun, social interaction and enjoyment than on performance, results and competition.

  • Making sport more appealing to everyone

    We all want to make sport and being active more accessible and fun for all Victorians.

    However, we also encourage organisations to use the Doing Sport Differently principles to make their sport more enjoyable and more welcoming.

    There are a huge number of reasons why people might not participate in sport. Lifestyle changes could mean that they have recently dropped out of sport or are doing less. Some people may not like traditional sport or may have had bad experiences in the past.

    We also know that people from particular populations (e.g. from low socioeconomic areas, with disability, women, culturally and linguistically diverse, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, LGBTIQ) may face particular barriers that prevent them from being active. 


  • Why Doing Sport Differently?

    Doing Sport Differently supports a broad range of sport organisations to help them ensure their ongoing viability and engage Victorians to participate in sport. Doing Sport Differently has assisted local clubs and regional, state and national sport organisations to build more welcoming and flexible approaches to sport participation. 

    These programs have helped more Victorians become active, keeping them healthy, happy and well. 

    The new opportunities developed through these initiatives include: 

    • social sport programs that make activities fun, social and local 
    • introductory programs for newcomers to a sport 
    • programs specifically designed for under-represented groups (e.g. women, people with disability or newly arrived Victorians) 
    • programs designed to retain participants or cater to people who are returning to sport following a gap. 

    These programs emphasise fun, social interaction and enjoyment more than performance, results and competition. 


  • Benefits for sport organisations

    When sport organisations do sport differently, they: 

    • attract larger and more diverse audiences 
    • provide opportunities for people at different stages of their lives 
    • increase the number of participants, volunteers and administrators 
    • improve their brand 
    • see their sport thrive into the future 
    • positively influence the health of Victorians. 

    Doing sport differently requires rethinking when, where and how sport is delivered, and who delivers it. It may also require new systems, processes and ways of working. It needs patience and a commitment to a new direction. 



Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.