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Proactive provides free physio services to students onsite at a number of schools. It’s a great opportunity for our physios to help educate the students on the value of physiotherapy, and a chance to provide physio to students who might not have access to it otherwise.

Rongotai College in Kilbirnie, Wellington is one of the schools we work with, and we asked Rongotai Sports Director Scott Richardson what sports students are playing in schools these days, what motivates and excites them, and what can we expect to see happening with school sports in the future?

What is the range of sports that kids are playing in schools these days, from the mainstream to the weird and wonderful?

It’s a wide range, there is seriously something for everyone and our boys typically play 2-3 different sports per year. The traditional sports still have the highest playing numbers and it’s important for the College to perform well in them. However traditional sports aren’t for everyone, and it’s awesome to see new sports evolve if it means it’s going to get a group of kids active and socialising in a positive environment. Sports like handball, table tennis, canoe polo and floorball are popular now. A few years ago, a bunch of students came up and asked me if they could start up a floorball team. I admit I had never even heard of it, but we got on board and 2 years later they became the National Secondary Schools champs. We now have 6 school teams and 7 students in the U19 NZ side that played Australia last year, yes floorball is definitely a sport.

Who are the coaches and how much time goes into training?  

We rely on the support of parents, staff, old boys, students and good people in the community to coach and manage our teams. These people are absolute legends with some of them giving up as much as 15-20 hours per week for some of our major teams.

What excites and motivates the kids to take part in sport? 

The reasons definitely differ depending on the individual. For some it’s the social aspect – making new friends and keeping fit. For others it maybe more about the competition, the challenge and the feeling of representing. Let’s not forget there is also professional scene at the top end of sport and there are some of our young people that see sport as a legitimate career path these days.

Scott, what does your role involve?  

My job is to promote the importance of sport and exercise at Rongotai College and deliver a comprehensive sports programme that engages our students. It is important that Rongotai College is well represented and achieving in our sporting community and that our students are living active lives. We offer a wide variety of sports to cater for various interests at various levels of competition from social to the highly competitive. The role involves a lot of planning, coordinating and management of our programmes, facilities, students and coaches – recruiting a large team of volunteer coaches is always the big challenge. Last year we had 104 volunteer coaches and managers across 32 different sports.

What can we expect to see happening with school sports in the future?

These days, with smarter coaching and more development opportunities available to young people, the level of competition and performance of our athletes is increasing. This, along with the media coverage that follows it, is steadily building its profile.  There is huge coverage of school sport with a weekly College Sports page in the Dominion Post newspaper, not to mention live TV coverage of 1st XV rugby and Senior A netball. This is all good for competition, apart from some schools that recruit and poach players to have the best team. It’s a thriving environment which is great because it’s developing New Zealand’s future superstars.

Visit Rongotai College website  or Rongotai Sports on Facebook for more information on Rongotai school sports.

Shaun Wakefield

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