Why Throw like a girl?
“#Throwlikeagirl…it is deliberately confronting because it challenges stereotypes,” Kirsten Hellier, world-class throws coach.
On Sunday 2nd February, around 75 athletes, coaches, parents, caregivers and facilitators came together at Porritt Stadium to participate in the first one day regional #Throwlikeagirl event. What a spectacular day Hamilton provided the sunshine, and the participants provided the enthusiasm!
The day was designed to provide practical opportunities in each of the throwing events for all present and to break down some of the barriers that may otherwise impact on participation. The goal was to create a positive athlete- focused environment that was fun and supportive, while developing young athletes, building coaching relationships and growing the capability and capacity of throwing events within the athletics communities.
Every person who attended was encouraged to join in and participate, 'learn by doing' is one of my favourite mottos. Each participant went in the draw for spot prizes throughout the day, some fantastic merchandise was won. At the conclusion of the event, there was two major prizes of a $150 and $100 voucher for sporting equipment or shoes, which were won by two very excited young athletes. Thanks to Athletics New Zealand for the sponsorship of these prizes.
Everyone broke into four small groups to complete warm ups consisting of rotations in different movement patterns.These warm-ups varied from plyometrics, high jump mat work, soft ball and medicine ball work, and hurdles, all with learnings to take away from the day and utilise for future training.
From here, groups worked through 40 minute rotations at different stations on different events. The aim was to keep everyone active and learning as much as possible. Participants were star-struck having the lovely, humble Julia Ratcliffe spend the afternoon sharing her passion and expertise. Thank you Julia for giving up your afternoon to encourage and inspire the next generation of throwers.There were many participants who had never thrown a hammer before, but I’m sure it won’t be the last time they do. There were huge numbers giving the javelin a go and requests for more in the afternoon sessions. Shot put and discus were also hugely popular with everyone having lots of opportunities to practice and learn something new!
As well as opportunities for practical experiences, there were several discussion forums throughout the day. The event was fortunate to have Simone from Aktive attend and offer two 40 minute forums which covered the topics of Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome (REDS) and Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD). These discussion forums presented a unique opportunity for learning, some great group discussions and questions about relevant real-life situations that coaches encounter. #Throwlikeagirl was also fortunate to have Katie from Sport Waikato provide information on the Good Sports philosophy.
Sport Waikato engaged in a conversation around Youth Sport experiences, sharing a powerful video of local Waikato youth talking about their sporting experiences. During the discussion the Good Sports® Spine was introduced as a sense making tool, to ensure that as adult influencers, our attitudes and behaviours sit in a Climate of Development, where we are inspiring our kids to keep getting better, connecting them with life-long friendship, empowering them to share their ideas of new or different through an environment filled of play and variety.
I would highly recommend anyone working in a sporting environment, with and alongside athletes of any age, in any sport, to educate themselves on Good Sports, REDS and LTAD. This information can create positive change and have a lasting impact.
This event was only possibly by the cooperation and collaboration between Athletics Waikato Bay of Plenty, Athletics New Zealand, Sport Waikato and Aktive. #Throwlikeagirl was also supported by wonderful, dedicated coaches. A special thank you to Kirsten Hellier, Pat Hellier, Debbie Strange, Kevin Bradley, Alan McDonald, Peter Blackwood, Julie Ratcliffe and Tanya Murray. A personal thank you to Kirsten Hellier for providing a wealth of guidance and knowledge, and to Debbie Strange, thank you for your wisdom and passion for javelin. I could not have put this event together without support from you both.
#Throwlikeagirl was also only possible from the strong support of the local clubs and athletes. The support and attendance shows the demand and importance of holding events like this locally, especially in a region like the Waikato which is spread over a wide geographical area which may limit opportunities for our young athletes. Athletics Waikato Bay of Plenty has responded to the need and vision to develop athletics and implemented the role of the development advisor. This event was possible with the support and encouragement from AWBOP – and there will be more to come!
For any centres that may like to organise a similar event, please touch base with Mariah from Athletics New Zealand, email@example.com or Louise from Athletics Waikato Bay of Plenty, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Athletics Development Advisor for Athletics Waikato Bay of Plenty