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In partnership with Player
Development
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In partnership with Player
Development
Project

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An initiative by
In partnership with Player
Development
Project
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Gemma McCaw on Improving Youth Sport

Gemma McCaw is a legend of New Zealand Hockey. But how did she achieve success? Gemma shares her experiences, her love for sport and her role as a Balance is Better Champion.

Gemma McCaw is one of Sport NZ’s Balance is Better Champions helping spread the word, drive change and when she’s off the hockey field… work with organisations to adopt a Balance is Better philosophy and commit to this statement of intent.

Gemma has played sport at the highest level for the Black Sticks during her hockey career. In 246 appearances she has scored 71 goals and achieved great success. Despite this success as an adult, Gemma’s journey as a young sportswoman wasn’t one driven by a performance focus, in fact she approached her sport with a fun first philosophy. Not only was Gemma involved in hockey, she played football and touch rugby amongst other things and gave everything a go.

In the video below, Gemma talks about the value of playing multiple sports, free play and how valuable the transfer of different sporting skills were in her ultimate success as a hockey player. Most importantly, Gemma reiterates the value of taking your time, enjoying your sport, having fun with friends and building a life-long love of physical activity.

Gemma McCaw on why Balance is Better

So what are some of the key take aways that are worth considering when it comes to creating youth sporting environments for coaches, parents and volunteers?

  • Play a variety of sports – there’s no need to have a single focus too soon
  • Sport is great for wellbeing and social connection, not just performance outcomes
  • Free play, back yard sport and organised sport all add value to athletic ability
  • Skills transfer across codes
  • Sport can teach so much including work ethic, determination and people skills

Image Credit: Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/photosport.co.nz

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