An effort to cut bad side-line behaviour has seen Marlborough Netball sweeten the deal for supporters.
To encourage positivity on court, chocolate bars will be handed out to well-behaved sports-fans with the hope the sugary treats will encourage others to mimic their good behaviour.
Marlborough Netball development officer Raramai Nicklin says the reward programme is a bid to support umpires and deal with sideline misconduct.
“You tend to only hear the bad stuff, which is unfortunate”.
She says bad behaviour is rare, but when it happens it is something that affects both players and umpires.
“It might just be an overzealous parent getting carried away supporting, but it can be aggressive or off-putting to the other players.
“It could just be people criticizing the refs, not necessarily meaning to offend or hurt them, but it’s about educating them too.
“It’s an incentive, an idea, I guess,” she says.
Signs reminding parents and supporters of the fun and relaxed nature of the game can already be seen along the court’s chain link fences.
But Raramai says they want to do more to encourage positive behaviour.
“You can go on and be grumpy about it, focus on the negative side of it, but we want to focus on the positive side and get people to encourage each other.
“It’s actually not that common, but you do hear about it every now and then.
“Every time you hear about it, it’s no less disappointing,” she says.
“Sometimes umpires get a bit of stick, sometimes players get a bit of stick.
“Some people don’t know the rules and think they do.
“People need to realise, especially with the umpires, they’re not perfect, they are all human, they are all volunteers, they are all doing it because it’s part of the game.
“Rather than going around and having to police anyone, we thought let’s really push the positive and get around and reward these people.
“Hopefully, it will pull people in line and reward the people that do the positive stuff every week that doesn’t get mentioned,” she says.
“It’s trying to develop that positive culture within the community.”