—By Mr Ben Cantrill, Director of Sport
At DCSZ the students can experience a variety of sports in PE lessons and these lessons give the students an excellent opportunity to get a taste of different sports. We also provide a large breadth of sporting opportunities in our CCA programme such as Football, Basketball, Swimming, Volleyball, Cross Country, Athletics, Golf, Baseball and Netball.Then this year we were able to expand to Badminton, Tennis and Gymnastics. All these CCA’s are very popular and shows students at the school enjoy and want to take part in sport. Earlier this week we have organised the Sport Day where our students all actively participated. Our multi-sport athletes were definitely shining on the day.
A rich variety of sport programs were taking place on the day including:
Throws – Javelin, Shot
Jumps – Long, High
Track – 300m, 400m, 600m, 800m; Relay
Tug of war
But often a question I am asked ‘is it better for students to specialise in one sport or multiple sports?’ There is not a straightforward answer to this, though we can provide some guidance based upon our beliefs at DCSZ and evidence or opinions from the sporting community.
At DCSZ we believe most of our students overall should be multi-sport athletes and specialising in sport would not be recommended until students are at the top of the Senior School in Years 11 – 13. We feel it is important students play multiple sports to gain a balanced view of sports, develop well rounded skills that are transferable and to develop a long-lasting love for sport that they can take into adulthood.
Why Multi-Sport Athletes?
Numerous articles discuss the benefits of multi-sport athletes including The National Scouting Resource who raised quite a few points including:
Multi-sport athletes become competent in several skills, and these can be transferred across different sports
They become more likely to keep motivated in sport as they know they will gain a variety of experiences
They are less likely to gain overuse injuries from repetitive skills.
May students specialise in one sport?
Evidence shows a small number of sports do lean themselves to specialising early due to people reaching the peak earlier in age.Sports such as Gymnastics and Swimming.Specialising early gives students the opportunity to perfect the skill needed in these sports.
How can students become multi-sports athletes at DCSZ?
From very early in the Junior School students at DCSZ have the opportunity to take part in multi-sport activities and this can be done through following the sport seasons of football and basketball or being involved in our multi-sport programme TIGERS. The TIGERS CCA gives students the chance to experience a wide variety of sports and really embed the idea of transferring skills across sports. Lastly, we understand some sports may benefit from early specilisation and to cater for this we have our year long swimming and gymnastic programme to provide students the opportunity to develop the specialist skills in these sports.
Once in the Senior School students still have the opportunity to take part in a range of sports and are encouraged to try a variety of sports through the year. Lastly, once students reach the top of the Senior School they will reach ACAMIS level and here we want to give students the opportunity to become more specilised, though still have the opportunity to be multi-sport if that is their preference.
At DCSZ first and foremost we want students to enjoy sport and have the opportunity to experience a wide variety. To help students want to continue taking part in sport in adult life. We don’t look to put pressure on the students to succeed at all costs but provide an environment where they can see the importance of sport and the how to develop the skills in their chosen sports. For most students at DCSZ a multi-sport approach would be the way forward and one we would advise, though for a small number who take part in early specialisation sports, this is catered for too. We look forward to seeing our students’ growth in sports, and welcome the support from the community too.