23 Feb 2015

More secondary students playing sport

12:44 pm on 23 February 2015

The Secondary Schools Sports Council says 54 percent of secondary students played sport in a school team last year - the highest participation rate since 2005.

Teenage basketball team

Photo: 123rf

Its annual census found netball is the most-played sport at high school, with 29,500 participants, 400 more than rugby.

The next most popular sports were football, basketball, volleyball, touch rugby, hockey and athletics.

Cricket continued its slide in popularity, dropping below 10,000 players for the first time, and was now just below badminton, as the tenth most popular sport.

The census found teachers' involvement in sport also increased last year, for the first time since 2005, up slightly to 35 percent.

Council head Garry Carnachan said modified versions of traditional sports were helping drive the increase in participation.

He said netball and rugby were the most popular sports, but there had been rapid growth in sports that teenagers found more accessible.

"Things like sevens in rugby up 34 percent in the last year, futsal- the modified sort of football offering - is up 22 percent and sports like beach volleyball and three-on-three basketball have also made some big increases into that market."

MrCarnachan said young people appeared to be more interested in one-off sport events rather than committing to a full season of a sport.

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