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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, Tom Abercrombie

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

I grew up on the North Shore, Auckland, and as the middle child, was in a constant battle to beat my older brother at every sport under the sun.

How did you first get involved in sport?

My brother and I enjoyed a great rivalry competing against each other in the carport playing round the world to the front lawn emulating our favourite cricketers. This competition was my first foray into the sporting world and the competitive streak was evident early, as was a great disdain for the regular humbling beat downs at the hands of my brother.

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

I was a typical Kiwi kid who enjoyed playing everything, most of the time in bare feet, no matter the conditions. Sport was a constant in my childhood, nurturing some amazing friendships and special times of bonding with my family.

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

My mum in particular had a profound impact on my sporting journey. A basketball player herself and my first ever coach, she allowed me to enjoy and foster a great passion for the sport without ever feeling forced to pursue a sport I had a natural talent for. This talent has allowed me to go on and represent my country in three world cups and enjoy a professional career that has so far spanned 14 years, in multiple leagues around the world.

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

Becoming a Balance is Better champion is important to me because I now find myself in my parents’ footsteps, with three young children aged seven, five, and three, just starting to discover their own interests and abilities in sport. Navigating this journey, knowing the value and skills I gained from having the freedom and time to develop when I was young, is going to be a great challenge.

What do you hope to achieve in being a Champion for the programme?

I am excited to learn from my children while being able to share my own journey as a Balance is Better Champion.

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

When I think about advice for young children developing in sport, I often come back to advice I would have given my younger self. First and foremost, the focus on fun should be front and centre at all times. Always remember why we started playing, and the joy we had playing sport in simpler times.

The second piece of advice is to not be too hard on yourself. This applies to sport at all levels, but often what we perceive as bad performances or mistakes are never as bad as they first seem. Take time to reflect on learnings from bad experiences and celebrate small victories along the way.

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