"Balance is Better"

 Balance is Better

In partnership with Sport Canterbury, Waimairi School brought together a panel of local champions - parents, athletes and coaches - to address the theme: How to Raise a Champion - Balance is Better.

The speakers and panellists included Anton and Laila Cooper (MTB champion and his mother), Jackie Cowan (lecturer and researcher), Jonelle Quane (Surf Life Saving NZ) and Tracy Campbell (teacher and mother of two Canterbury basketballers) and Andrea Hewitt (Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist).

The purpose of the evening was to hear from these speakers and de-bunk the following myths:

  • Early specialisation is good: The earlier athletes choose their sport and focus on it the better. This can cause burnout, over-use injuries and declining motivation. Having a diverse sporting experience, children develop transferable skills, greater creativity and better decision-making capabilities
  • Childhood success leads to adult success: Talent can be identified early (sometimes it is obvious that some athlete’s gifts are obvious at an early age), BUT every athlete is different, and progress is non-linear. We know that how one preforms at a young age is not a reliable predictor of their future potential


  • Successful athletes focus on winning:  The most successful, coaches, athletes and teams don’t focus on winning at all. They focus on their development, how well they perform. Winning is the expected outcome of being the best they can be.

The guest speakers had personal and powerful messages to share with the audience proving these myths wrong about how we can actively support children to become 'champions' - Not necessarily the absolute best at something, but the best version of themselves.

When there is less pressure on children to specialise, there is more fun in participating and that childhood success does not always lead to adult success in their sport.

All profits from ticket sales will go towards getting solar power for the Waimairi School pool.

For more information on Sport New Zealand’s Balance is Better, please visit:

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