Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023
Teacher in Charge of the Athlete Sports Performance programmes, Riley Gain, says the holistically focused course encourages personal development in many areas. “Students are encouraged to maintain a balanced lifestyle and develop strong self-management skills to ensure they are reaching their academic as well as their sporting goals. We have meetings and tools to help manage balance and overload, especially if students are juggling multiple teams and sports with their schoolwork.”
In Years 9–10, students can take the Athlete Sports Development programme as an option subject for one semester. Over 150 students across the two year levels are participating in this programme throughout 2023. Each week, these students have one classroom session, a coaching session, and a third training session, plus sessions on how to use the Fitness Centre equipment safely and experiencing different methods of training.
In Years 11–13, students can apply to join the Athlete Sports Performance programme which is an extension of the Years 9–10 programme. It is aimed at busy sports students who want to dive deeper into their understanding and knowledge, and gain support for their schooling and sport on a holistic level. “The course guides students to continue to apply their knowledge with greater independence under the guidance of expert mentors,” says Riley.
Riley says the programme for senior students could involve anything from pillar sessions on time management, sports nutrition, growth mindset, work ethnic or mental skills; to listening to expert guest speakers; working with coaches and trainers on skills and development; or creating more space in their timetables for schoolwork to ensure they are meeting their academic goals alongside their sporting ones.
In Year 11 the subject takes over from core Physical Education for two periods a week. In Year 12 the course is a subject option, taken for four periods a week alongside a student’s five NCEA subjects. Riley has more one-on-one meetings with students in this year group, looking holistically at their academic and sports loading to ensure they are on track, and to identify if they need further support.
In Year 13, the programme is integrated into the student’s study time, giving them flexibility for how they use the time – either to train, work one-on-one with Riley and the other teachers in the programme, or catch up on their academic work.
The future sporting goals of senior students vary, says Riley. “Some are keen to explore sports scholarships in the United States. Others have goals to push into higher levels of representation in their sport, while some go on to formal study in sports related areas after they leave school.”
Riley says there is a range of criteria for students to be part of the programme that considers an overall view of their individual needs. “Whatever the student’s individual needs, the programme supports them to reach their goals while maintaining that all important balance between their various commitments, especially as they prepare for their journey as athletes beyond school.”