Here is a case study on a local student and her experience at high school.
‘Too much too soon’
This is a story about an athlete who was selected into a senior A team at year 9. We shall refer to her as Phoebe. At the time, there was little information about the balance is better philosophy and the impact on a young person. The questions were never asked
- Will Phoebe cope with the increased workload?
- How will Phoebe interact socially with the group?
- What other sports is Phoebe playing that she has to manage?
- Who is missing out on being selected?
- And most importantly, what impact will potentially 5years in the Senior A team have on Phoebe’s enthusiasm, and desire to play for school.
The answer to the last question as a coach who inherited the team when Phoebe was year 12 was critical. Phoebe was always destined to become an outstanding player. She had the physical qualities for this sport to do well and had come through the representative pathway. By the time year 13 rolled around, Phoebe did not have the enthusiasm and drive to represent her school. She underperformed at the time when she should have been peaking and shining at school. She had suffered constantly from overuse injuries as well which added to the frustrations for all involved but mainly for Phoebe. Throwing her into the senior A team at year 9 was not the best option for Phoebe. This decision was about the team/school doing well which is not the way we should be coaching and developing our young people. Year 9 and 10 sport is about having fun, developing your skills with your friends. At this age group there are representative programmes that can provide additional development and challenge for those who show talent. If you are good enough you will get to the top. The cream always rises. In this case Phoebe has made it to the top but not without some road bumps and sad that her final couple of years playing her sport almost became a chore. Phoebe would have made it to the top because of her skills, physical attributes and desire – she did not need to be in the senior A team at year 9. As a coach for over 30 years, I am still constantly learning and gaining experiences that can make me a better coach to help nurture young people to reach their potential. I have stored away the many experiences (good and bad) to help settle on my current philosophy.
As parents what can we do on the sideline for a positive experience?
Sport New Zealand acknowledges St Hilda’s Youth Sport Policy