Tue, Mar 19, 2024 12:00 PM

Igniting Sporting Passions


William Woodworth

Sport Tasman and eight of Marlborough’s sporting organisations have collaborated to give girls opportunities to try new sports in a fun, supportive atmosphere.

The Ignite Kōhine Maia Festival of Sport brought together 200 girls from across Marlborough to Lansdowne Park on Friday to provide fun, inclusive half hour sessions for local girls, with the goal of opening avenues for more female involvement in all sports.

With local organisers of football, touch rugby, hockey, tennis, cricket, rippa rugby, basketball and softball collaborating through Sport Tasman, each noticed they were having similar issues with engaging intermediate and younger high school students.

“Today came about due to insights gathered in our code connect hui that Sport Tasman runs every six weeks with Marlborough sports codes”, says Sport Tasman Development Officer Emma Sorensen-Brown.

“The codes have identified the struggles within the participation drop off, particularly in the year 8 -10 female space.

“The question from the codes was how to present opportunities to try different sports when connecting with the schools is hard, and identifying what are the main barriers to why girls are not participating in sports.”

Ella Sowman (right) helps Caitlyn Davies with her forehand. Photo: William Woodworth

From there, Emma spoke with local schools to understand the barriers to participation in organised sport for intermediate and early high school aged girls.

She found that a lack of personal confidence, uncertainty when playing with boys and social factors wanting to play with friends were key barriers to sporting participation.

“Listening to the participant is extremely important in our drive to hopefully grow participation numbers in this target group, because we need to speak their language and provide the experience they desire” says Emma.

“Sport is essential in supporting the development of life skills for our tamariki and rangatahi, strengthening social networks and provides an important sense of belonging for most.

“Sport supports the overall wellbeing of this target group, especially within the mental health space and achieving academically when engaged in regular sport.

“Sport Tasman is passionate in supporting girls to receive more quality sporting experiences consistently to ensure a lifelong involvement in sport”.

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