Palmyra Churchill Fellowship holder exploring retention of youth in sport

Troy Kirkham.
Troy Kirkham.

MORE than a million children are not in any kind of sport or dance, prompting Palmyra resident Troy Kirkham to use a Churchill Fellowship to look at the retention of youth in sport.

Mr Kirkham is the state participation manager at the West Australian Football Commission and said he was alarmed by the decreasing youth participation in community sport.

He hoped a fresh look at how sport was offered would reduce drop out rates.

In his report, Mr Kirkham said looking to the coach for youth retention in isolation was not enough; an integrated or interconnected approach was required.

He looked at the roles of unstructured play, physical literacy, technology, parenting styles and particularly female engagement, access and inclusivity and youth advocacy.

“Youth sport has the potential to have a significant influence on the long term physical, emotional and mental health of participants, however if sport fails to meet the needs of youth, then there will undoubtedly be an increase in the levels of player dropout,” his report says.

“Sport can no longer position itself with a traditional mindset.”

The report can be read at

For more on the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust visit