Hosting Sports and Development Events

Hosting Sports and Development Events

Sport and Exercise Dev SA is constantly exploring different opportunities to use sports to improve the quality of human life. One effective way of doing this, as evident with the recent International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is by hosting Sports and Development Events.

We have observed Sports and Dev Events closely over the years and we have developed a system to host them optimally each time. This is a process we suggest. Your technique may be different from the one described here. If it is, please share your technique the comment section below as we learn from you just as much as you learn from us.

This applies to the day of the event itself and not the broader organizing of the event. We covered that in this article. We have found that a planned event runs smoothly and amounts to reduced risks, as opposed to a spontaneous event.

As Sport and Exercise Dev SA we suggest this technique for Sports and Development events and Sports and Recreation events. We wanted to share our technique with practitioners in sports and recreation to evaluate how other organizations host similar events. We supposed this would help emerging organizations like Sport and Exercise Dev SA and others who seek to apply sports to produce a developmental outcome.

We welcome your opinion and criticism. Please use the comment section to share your thoughts and suggestions. You may also share this article using the social media icons above.

Without any further ado, this is the Sports and Exercise Dev SA technique for hosting Sports and development events.

Start the day with a walk

Sports and Development Events

A walk serves two purposes, apart from walking of course. Firstly it sets the starting time of the event and alerts people when the event will start and when it has started on the day. Secondly, it is very effective in mobilizing the crowd. People tend to be collected as a group as opposed to being scattered around, making it hard for them to be addressed in a meaningful way. During a walk, people are easier mobilized and addressed.

Without getting too much into the details about the technicalities. The walk should not be too long that it tires the old but also not too short that the young are not stimulated. When surveying the road, pay attention to elevation gain, traffic, road conditions, and any other factors that could potentially make participating in your event strenuous for the less physically able [1].

Also, reserve the road ahead of time. This will save you countless headaches on the day. It might also be useful to get a police escort if possible.

Follow up with group Aerobics

Sports and Development Events

The walk should be followed by group aerobics. Before the aerobics start, however, a short introduction to the event should be made to the crowd. This should be short. At this point, you might also want to mention special guests’ and delegates in attendance.

This is not, however, the time for speeches. That will come later. Basically just welcome the crowds and tell them why they are there and who is among them. That is all the MC needs to communicate at this point.

Ideally, you should adopt a Freestyle aerobics class. This is an aerobics style in which a group instructor choreographs several short dance combinations and teaches them to the class [2]. Have music, it makes a huge difference. In fact, if you do not have music skip the aerobics class. In freestyle aerobics, the instructor choreographs the routine and adjusts it to the needs and wants of her/his class [2].

If you have water to give to the participants. This would be the time to do it!

Next play dividing games

Hosting Sports and Development Events

Depending on the size of the crowd. You might need to divide the participants into smaller groups.

What better way to do this than through a game. This works well because it divides people into random groups which promote integration as opposed to people grouping themselves as friends or on some kind of affiliation.

One of the most effective methods I learned during my internship at the Swaziland National Sport & Recreation Council (SNSRC) from the Kids athletics instructors was the “Musical Grouping Game”. Everyone moves around while singing a song and then, when the coach gives instruction for participants to group themselves by, for example, 10. The children would group themselves into 10. We did this until everyone was in equal groups.

That is just one example.

The following are summaries of dividing games from various sources. Make your pick and don’t be afraid to adapt it.

Once the participants are divided into groups. It’s time for fun.

Then Play Group vs Games or Team sports

Sports and Development Events

Group Games are played by groups competing against each other. like sports teams competing against each other.

An example of a popular Group vs Group game is Tug of war (also known as tug o’ war, tug a war, rope war, rope pulling, or tugging war). This is a sport that pits two teams against each other in a test of strength: teams pull on opposite ends of a rope, with the goal being to bring the rope a certain distance in one direction against the force of the opposing team’s pull [3].

The formal rules for Tug of War state there must be two teams of eight people each, but for team building purposes this rule is more often than not broken [4].

You might be familiar with how the game is played but explained briefly. To play the game A rope of about ten centimetres in circumference is used. It is marked with a centre line dividing the two sides. Another marking is placed on either side of the centre line about four meters away from the centre line. The centre line must be directly over a line marked on the ground before the Tug of War can proceed [4].

The objective of the game is for one team to pull the other team’s marker over the marking line on the ground [4].

Play or teach Different games at Different Stations

Sports and Development Events

If you have enough workforce. You might opt to play different games at different stations after having divided the teams. Below is an example of such a game.


Touch is a simple circular sprinting game of more than 10 players at a time.

Player’s seat around in a circle facing each other.

One player walks around the circle behind the seating players and taps any player on their shoulder and immediately starts running around the circle.

The player whose shoulder is tapped stands up and immediately attempts to catch that running player and the players chase each other around the circle.

The goal of the Runner is to get to where the chasing runner was seated. The goal of the chaser is to catch the runner before he gets there.

If the runner is caught he goes around again to tap another player. If not, the chaser has to go around and tap another player on their shoulder. And the game continues.

Depending on how long the event will be. You can play any or all the games we compiled here.

Rotate and swap groups

If you decided to play different games at different stations. You may want to rotate the groups so that everyone gets to play different games.

At this point you might want to hand out fruit packages if you invested in them for the event.

Have an award ceremony simultaneously with the speech sessions.

Most of the time sponsors and delegates love to share a few words before the end of the event. An award ceremony is a great time to do that. This works best if you give awards then speeches, then more awards and then more speeches. And so on.

You can also use this opportunity to market future events and give away promotional brochures, T-shirts and other freebies that might serve as a reminder to the participants about your organization and what you do.

In our experience, the crowd is easily distracted when it’s just speeches. Often the spontaneity dies slowly and people start to live individually, then as groups and you don’t want that. On the other hand, the crowd becomes very engaged during an award ceremony. This works great since an award ceremony by its nature requires people to pay attention and listen attentively.

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Officially close the event

Ideally, events should end with a “happy hour”. This is done intentionally by the MC of the event telling everyone that the event is over and that food is served at the “tent” or wherever the crowds can seat and enjoy their meal.

We thought it might be a good idea to serve food at this stage and encourage participants to sit collectively and socialize with each other. They can share stories about similar events, or talk about highlights from the event. This is also a great time to network for those of us looking for such opportunities.

People will say their goodbyes and start to live soon after and the Sports and Development event would have been a great success. Hopefully!

This is how Sports and Exercise Dev SA is looking to host future Sports and Development events. What can you add to our technique and have you or your organization ever used any of the techniques described here? How did they work for you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Don’t forget to share to spread the word and subscribe for more content like this, published weekly. Until next time. Keep moving.

Hosting Sports and Development Events
Works Cited
[1] Active Network, “How to Plan a Charity Walk or Run,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 12 April 2019].
[2] Contributers Wikipedia, “Aerobics,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 13 April 2019].
[3] C. o. wikipedia, “Tug of war,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 13 April 2019].
[4] tbae, “Tug of War Team Building Exercise,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 13 April 2019].
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Thando W. Dlamini, BA

Sport Development and Exercise Science Practitioner

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