Over the last 18 months Sports Coordinator Geoff Horton has shifted the focus for KiwiSport sessions to skill development and game awareness after realising the biggest barrier to sport participation at secondary school was not knowing how to play a variety of sport or possessing many of the skills required to support confidence in playing sport. Such skills and game awareness become embedded alongside confidence into our athletes as they develop and are transferrable to multi disciplines, thus opening up wider opportunities.
By targeting Year 5 - 8 pupils in three schools (CAS, Colville and Te Rerenga) developing skills in a variety of sports, culminating in a district sports day, using the skills and knowledge learned in a game context. The day is set up so pupils manage and organise their teams to get to games, etc. A few rules are in place to ensure inclusion this aids self-management and decision making by the athletes.
Each sports day has around 100 pupils taking part and we held the second of those sports days in the final week of term 2 - sports were touch rugby, football, netball and basketball. As a result of these sessions and the sports day, more pupils are organising and playing a variety of lunchtime sports. It is the growth of lunchtime activity that is sought to help engage student activity.
A summer sport day will host softball, golf and likely backyard cricket. The rationale behind the sessions from Year 5 is to create pathways in sport through collaborative arrangements with MBAS, into Central North Island Area Schools, NZ Area Schools and onto NZ Secondary School sports tournaments.
This Coromandel Area School collaborative approach initiated by Geoff already sees three senior girls heading to Auckland for the Kathy Seawood Football tournament in September and two CAS students were selected for the NZASS squads for football in Christchurch recently.
Geoff, along with fellow sport coordinators Leisa McCleery of Mercury Bay Area Schools and Te Puna Moanaroa of Te Wharekura O Manaia, are currently leading strategic development of the Thames Valley Secondary Schools Sport Association to increase capability and quality experiences for Secondary school students in the TVSSSA area.