Creating online communities for young athletes

Last updated: 19 Aug 2015 Topics: Involving children and young people Athlete wellbeing

What can a sports organisation do to keep its young members informed, involved and enthusiastic?

For the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), an interactive online magazine and secure social network called AquaZone was the answer.

Here, we take a closer look and find out more about the features it has to offer.

Who AquaZone is for

AquaZone is for all ASA competing members aged 9-15. Nearly 5,500 young people currently access AquaZone.

AquaZone readers have said:

  • “AquaZone is the best – it tells you what’s going on and is fun and friendly.”
  • “Amazing! So glad my friend told me about it.”

AquaZone is exclusively for young athletes to use – though it does have an information page for parents about the site's security, sign-up procedures, rules of use and privacy.

What’s included

Highlights from the magazine include:

  • news from across all aquatic disciplines
  • professional and up-and-coming athlete interviews and features
  • national governing body (NGB) communications

Volunteering content and promotions also feature on the site, with users being able to earn profile badges showing their volunteering activity on the AquaZone timeline and on their public profile.

AquaZone also features the following:

  • monthly and other regular competitions
  • gamification – users earn badges for their profile based on activities such as sharing and liking content, status updates, regularly logging in
  • personal and club updates – users can send in ‘letters’ about their club and achievements, which can then be shared on AquaZone
  • social profiles that link to a ‘club hub’, so users can follow fellow club members, share content, comment and collect badges

Future plans include the option for young athletes in clubs to content manage their own club hubs, and to develop an aquatics-style BBC School Report called Club Report.

Further information

See our online safety guide for information and advice on how to help create a safe online environment for every child, and for links to NSPCC and other online-safety resources.

Related resources