By: Peter White
The Elite Sports Performance Programme, devised by school director of sport Kaye Barnett, will provide in-depth coaching and mentoring for junior students initially.
“The benefits of the programme are that the girls who attend Tauranga Girls’ College will be given the opportunity to focus on not only the academics but give a bit more structure and support around meeting some of their sporting goals,” she said.
“They will be able to choose at Year 9 and 10 an option called the Elite Sports Performance Class. In that they will have three hours a week allocated to learning how to be a better athlete, run by a specialist PE teacher.”
Many elite programmes in schools target team sports only but that will not be the case at Tauranga Girls’ where everyone will be welcome, Barnett said.
“We are going to be including everybody in our programme. It doesn’t matter if it is team sport or an individual sport.”
Barnett wants to bring together athletes from many diverse sports.
“From a historical perspective we have a lot of girls who perform really well and get amazing results at both national and international level.
“But as a school we have our own little sections where hockey does their thing and volleyball does theirs, etc. So we thought this is a good way to offer them something that brings them all together so they get to know each other a bit more as different athletes.
“We will be able to provide them with a little more continuity with their programmes they are doing and offer them some more support in how to be good athletes in different facets.”
Older students will also be included in a part of the programme which will provide specific options for them with specialist mentors to be brought in.
When Barnett began working at Tauranga Girls’ 18 months ago there was a similar programme in place.
She says it was quite productive but did not continue.
“There was some good leg work already done and I had been thinking we should offer something else for our girls. I had been doing some planning and then I took it to the principal [Pauline Cowens] in April this year who thought it was a great idea.
“So since then I have been working on how to make it work to enable our girls to be the best they can be. Hopefully it means we will have more girls with a greater understanding of how to get the best out of themselves in class and in the sporting context.”
Year 9 student Kenza Taele, 14, who excels at basketball, netball, cricket and volleyball, is looking forward to being part of the programme next year.
“I will get to improve with everything to do with sport and the extra work will be helpful. Having sport as another option is good I think instead of having art or something I probably wouldn’t pursue.”
Source: Bay of Plenty Times