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Ontrack supports college leadership

Media release by Ignite Sport 25August 2014

Ontrack supports college leadership

A three-day sports academy at Naenae College last week reinforced the school’s sports leadership pathways. A surprise skype call from middle distance runner Nick Willis during one of the sessions gave students extra encouragement in their sport.

Ignite Sport has delivered an Ontrack sports academy at the Lower Hutt College since 2010. In addition to honing sports skills it focused on developing attitudes and character traits that will help students succeed both as an athlete and a person.

“We aim to increase students’ awareness of their potential, by motivating and challenging them to use their talents to the best of their ability,” says Ignite Sport Coordinator Kevin Goldsbury. Challenges included learning a new sport, fitness testing and a gym session, interspersed with input about maximising talents and barriers to success.

A highlight of Ontrack this year was a session by New Zealand Athletics high performance coach Steve Willis. The importance of goal setting and decision making by the students was discussed in relation to Steve’s recent coaching experience at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Steve’s brother, Nick Willis, skyped from Michigan, USA, to encourage the students in good decision-making around their sports.

Steve told the students it was easy to think greatness was about winning a race and getting medals and all the kudos that came with that. “But true greatness is not measured by that, it’s about being courageous. Having courage and having great heart,” Steve told the students.

“Some of our New Zealand athletes might not have won medals at the games but they had huge heart and ran personal best times. They had true courage,” he said.

Sport participation rates at Naenae College have increased from 39 percent in 2010 to 54 percent in 2013. According to College Sport Wellington they are ‘great numbers’.

Naenae College Principal John Russell says the increase is a result of succession planning and providing opportunity for leadership development. He says several senior students now officiate and coach junior teams. That in turn gives more students an opportunity to participate in sports.

“We have repeated Ontrack each year with our Year 10 students and are reaping the benefits,” says Mr Russell.

The College also contracted Ignite Sport to deliver a Year 11 Ambassador’s programme this year. This teaches students to first ‘lead themself’.

“Ambassadors develops young sports leaders to recognise that to positively influence and lead others, they must first learn to lead themselves. This implies leadership in both sport and within the school community,” says Mr Goldsbury.

He says Ignite Sport recognises the importance of providing pathways for young people.

“We have been working with Naenae Intermediate Venture Class for several years now. Our intermediate programme focuses on developing positive life skills, encouraging exercise and recreation and helping students transition into the secondary school environment,” he says.

“We just love seeing those young people now in senior leadership roles at college or helping with junior sports. They have recognised their skills and are excelling in community leadership,” he says.


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