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How much is too much when it comes to youth sport?

How much is too much when it comes to youth sport?

How to coach with a Balance is Better philosophy

How to coach with a Balance is Better philosophy

Balance is Better Principles Poster

Balance is Better Principles Poster

Creating a positive parent culture

Creating a positive parent culture

Unpacking the Balance is Better principles

Unpacking the Balance is Better principles

Running good trials and selections

Running good trials and selections

Balanced Female Health

Balanced Female Health

Q&A with Balance is Better Champion, Samuel Tanner

Tell us a bit about you and where you grew up.

I’m the eldest of five children with two amazing parents, Paul and Krissy. I am a Māori athlete and Ngāpuhi is my iwi. Pāpāmoa Beach has been my home throughout my childhood and is where many amazing memories have been created. This is where my love for the outdoors, water, and board sports grew. Where I learnt to surf, skateboard, and ride mountain bikes and dirt bikes.

Tell us something people might not know about you. 

When I am not outside, I absolutely love music and have played the bass for almost 15 years.

Why was sport important to you? How did it shape you personally? 

When my mum was 19 years old, she gave up her sporting career and had me. She was a successful touch rugby player and athletics sprinter, representing New Zealand on multiple occasions. She is the reason why sport means so much to me, and why I am the athlete I am today. I remember when I went to kids’ athletics for the first time, mum and dad stood near while I did all the different events and I was hooked by the competitive aspect.

Sport had grabbed my attention and I loved the thrill that it gave. Whether it was feeling the adrenaline and challenge of surfing big waves or being competitive amongst mates playing touch, sport had started to shape me. Not only my physical literacy skills, but also my social and emotional skills through the different challenges that I faced.

Were there any special people that had a positive impact on you? Who were they and why?

Two people I remember that had the biggest impact on my mindset towards sport are my parents. Dad taught me that “pain is my friend” and mum encouraged me to chase my dreams. Together these things have meant that I am not afraid to fail or work hard to achieve my goals.

What are the highlights of your sporting career? 

I have two major highlights of my sporting career so far:

  1. Competing at the Olympics – not because of my result, but because at the end of the race, when I looked up, I was in awe of where I actually was along with the culmination of achieving my childhood dream.
  2.  The Commonwealth Games final – 6th place – 3:31. I was proud of this moment because I understood the significance of the time that I ran, as well as it being on one of the biggest stages in the world.

Are there any important lessons you learned that you’d share with young people? 

One of the most important lessons that I have learnt along my sporting journey has to be keeping your identity separate from your sport. To me it is important to have a balanced life, so that when or if your ability to play that sport gets taken away, you aren’t left feeling like you’ve got nothing to strive for.

Why is being a Balance is Better Champion important to you? 

Being a Balance is Better Champion is important because I get to role-model the healthy benefits of not being consumed in one particular sport. Also, to show people what it looks like to be a professional athlete in one sport (athletics) and navigate other sports and recreational activities on the side.

My goal as a Balance is Better Champion is to inspire people to stay in sport longer and live a more balanced lifestyle that is going to benefit them in ways which they didn’t think possible. For example, in my career I find that doing other sports such as surfing, kiteboarding, or playing tennis adds to my strength and coordination and allows my body to be stronger in more than one linear direction (which is most of what running is). Balance is Better excites me because it is encouraging people to do just this – get out there and reap the rewards from sport at all levels.

Are there any important lessons you learned that you’d share with young people?

Try as many different sports as possible because you will not even realise how many ways you will benefit – social, physical, and emotional, just to name a few.

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