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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, Stacey McKerchar

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

As a child I grew up on a farm in Mayfield, about 30km out of Ashburton. Having three older brothers, I always had to stand up for myself. I attended the local country primary school up to Year 7 before attending Rangi Ruru as a boarder in Christchurch.

How did you first get involved in sport? 

Right from a young age, sport was my passion, and I was very fortunate to have such supportive parents who encouraged me to give anything a go. Growing up I followed in my brother’s footsteps, playing rugby up to the age of 10. Then my mother encouraged me to give hockey a go. Right up until I was 17 I was playing many different sports, and I was fortunate to be able to represent New Zealand in age group touch and hockey right up until 2002, before I got selected in the New Zealand Women’s Black Sticks hockey squad for the Athens Olympics.

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

Sport has taught me a lot of lessons throughout my childhood as well as during my career as an elite athlete, such as:

  • Commitment and dedication
  • Self-discipline
  • Respect
  • Mental toughness
  • Learning to work with others
  • Teamwork
  • Handling fear and failure
  • Resilience
  • Overcoming setbacks, injuries, and disappointments
  • Importance of goal setting

What are the highlights of your sporting career? 

Highlights throughout my playing career include attending my first ever Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, and winning silver at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010.

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

Being a Balance is Better Champion is a huge honour and I hope that my experiences can help encourage and motivate children to continue to participate in any sport. I look at my journey as a child and now with my

own children coming through, I hope I can inspire kids to stay active and give anything a go. For me, I see an importance in encouraging parents to be positive on the sideline and to also encourage coaches to remember there is no ‘I’ in teams, that every child plays an important role in the team regardless of the level of competition.

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

The opportunity to play as many different sports as I wanted growing up. Mum and dad never told me what I had to play or forced me to play a certain sport.

Sideline behaviour from parents and coaches (seeing this a lot as my children are becoming more involved in sport).

Why does the Balance is Better Champions programme excite you?

It excites me in that I hope I can make a difference in our smaller rural towns by sharing my experiences and journey in sport, as well as potentially changing the mindset of how some coaches and parents think and behave on the sideline.

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

Through hard work, sacrifice, and dedication, you can achieve your dreams and goals. Self-belief is important – set yourself goals that are achievable and realistic. Stay grounded and don’t become complacent. Play a sport because you want to, not because you feel pressured to. And most of all, have fun and enjoy it.

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