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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, Shontayne Hape

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

  • Born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau – West Auckland
  • Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi
  • I love to DJ and have travelled around the world
  • Dual rugby league international (NZ Kiwis #711), England Rugby Union
  • Fishing and surfing are a few of my favourite hobbies

How did you first get involved in sport? 

Te Atatu Roosters Under 6s (rugby league) was my first sports team. I loved the social skills involved with sports – developing communication and teamwork.

Playing sports early also helped boost my self-esteem and confidence and helped me learn new skills.

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

My parents played a special role in influencing me early on by supporting and encouraging me. It also helped that my dad was my coach who provided guidance and motivation and helped develop my sport skills.

What are the highlights of your sporting career? 

Representing New Zealand Kiwis in rugby league and competing against the best athletes in the world. Winning the Tri Nations in 2005 and beating Australia in the final 24-0 stands out for me.

I travelled the world living in Europe for 15 years playing sport and switching codes to rugby union, representing England on the international stage – Winning Six Nations and playing in the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

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

To make a positive impact to our communities and to help make a difference in our kids’ lives with sport. Promoting positive experiences and values and inspiring others.

Is there a particular aspect of Balance is Better that resonated with you? If so, why?

I always wanted to play rugby and basketball growing up as a kid as I just wanted to play with my school mates. My own experience of being forced early to specialise with one sport at a young age made me burn out and fall out of love with that sport.

I decided on a new challenge to switch to rugby later in life. This helped reinvigorate me and helped me find the love and passion for sport again.

I now have four kids and encourage and support them to play all kinds of different sports.

Why does the Balance is Better Champions programme excite you? 

I’m excited to see how rugby league can collaborate and work with other sports towards a common goal and make a positive impact to our tamariki through sport.

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

I would encourage our young people to have fun in sport and adopt a growth mindset, which means believing that their abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. This can help them stay motivated and resilient, even when faced with setbacks or failures.

Also that it’s okay to ask for help if they’re struggling with their mental health.

What value do you feel sport gives to young people who are involved in sport, at any level?  

Sport can provide a wide range of benefits, both physically and mentally. It can help them develop important skills, build relationships, and improve their overall quality of life. Sport can also help young people develop social skills, such as teamwork, communication, and leadership.

Sport can be a great way for young people to manage stress and improve their emotional wellbeing. It can provide an outlet for stress and can help young people develop coping mechanisms that they can use in other areas of their life.

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