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Students keen to apply sporting wisdom

“From ballet dancers to football players, helping our children to develop positive, healthy mind-sets that show courage will serve them well both on the sports field and in life” – Principal, Thea Kilian

ACG Tauranga students have had the chance to work with some of New Zealand’s top sporting professionals this term through the school’s Athlete Development Seminar Series.

The series was part of a wider sports development programme developed by high performance coach and consultant Debbie Fuller, alongside the school’s PE department. It provided an opportunity for students in Years 7-10 who are part of a competitive sports programme to explore and develop their sporting goals.

Eleven student athletes attended four seminars, each of which required pre-reading and tasks to complete. Students also completed a biomechanics and physical assessment.

Coaching consultant Greg Cummings talked about self-awareness and an understanding of personal behaviours; strength and conditioning specialist Tim Wilson and Physiotherapist Roger Athy-Knibbs presented on physical readiness; Ms Fuller and former Tall Black Byron Vaetoe worked on students’ plans for performance and working in teams; and sports psychologist David Galbraith provided an insight into mental skills for performing with expectation and pressure.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the seminars and I think that everyone benefited from them,” said Shakira Cable in Year 10, a member of ACG’s rowing and netball teams. “I am excited to use what I learnt next year when the sport season starts up again.”

For rugby player Victor Limmer, Year 8, understanding the different stages of development and particularly how adolescent growth affects sport proved valuable.

“I learned when to focus on different areas of my training and when to specialise in specific sports. The programme has helped me to think about my training and sport more holistically and has really inspired me to progress with my sport,” he said.

Netballer and national level equestrian Olivia Newsom was looking forward to applying what she learnt in Gregg’s seminar.

“Gregg helped us understand our self-awareness. We learnt about our personality types, and how to interact with team members, coaches and managers with different personality types. It was very helpful to me because I play netball and will always be around different people throughout my netball career.”

PE teacher Ben Howell who developed the series and its conceptual learning framework, said it was about helping students strive to improve and perform to the best of their abilities. He said sport and Physical Education supported a healthy body and mind, academic success and overall wellbeing and, with that in mind, the athlete development programme would be growing in 2019.

Principal Thea Kilian said there were benefits for all the athletes regardless of code.

“From ballet dancers to football players, our athletes were able to connect over the realities of competing and achieving at the highest level. Having attended the David Galbraith session myself, I was reminded of how imperative it is that, as parents, we ourselves engage in these topics.

“Helping our children to develop positive, healthy mind-sets that show, as David suggested, courage, will serve them well both on the sports field and in life.”