Dilworth ups the ante in High Performance Sport

Date: 23 Feb 2023

A new high performance sport programme kicks off this year at Dilworth giving students the chance to pursue excellence – and potential careers –  in their chosen sport.

Offered to promising athletes in Year 9 and 10, the APC (Athlete Performance Class) pilot is an accelerated programme teaching everything from technical skills, tactical learning, and strength and conditioning, to nutrition, mental skills and even life after sport.

Programme head, former All Black Ant Strachan, says it will lay strong foundations for the school’s future sporting leaders, and provide exciting opportunities for athletes to elevate their physical health and advance fundamental skills.

“We have to keep pushing hard to be a competitive school in the performance space and APC is designed to enhance this,” explains Ant. “Our hope is that when these athletes get to Year 11 and 12 they’ll be the leaders of our flagship teams and far better equipped to handle all the challenges that get thrown at them when they play at secondary school and representative level."

While the two-term programme will focus first and foremost on rugby, basketball and football, Ant says there’s scope to expand offerings and develop athletes excelling in other high performance sports such as Olympic weightlifting, tennis, rugby league and touch.

Head of coach and athlete development on the basketball court holding basketball

“This is a condensed accelerant programme that will lift students to be the best sports people they can be. I’ve taught at a lot of schools and been involved in high performance sport for 20 years, but this programme is truly unique.”

Underpinned by Dilworth values like respect, trust and service, there will be strong expectations around attendance, behaviour, managing workloads and extracurriculars.

“Attending Dilworth is an opportunity to be the very best you can be, and we’re enhancing that further through sport. The students we see coming through our gates are young men who are keen to take up opportunities. We might be starting from a relatively fundamental level, but we’re progressive and we have lots of tools and resources. Our staff are here to help students shine.”

Twenty Year 9 and 20 Year 10 students will be selected for 2023, receiving 12 – 13 lessons each term for terms one and two, across a 50/50 mix of practical and theory. While the school’s head rugby, basketball and football coaches will be heavily involved in programme delivery, the expertise of external specialists will also be utilised, including the likes of Blues nutritionist Marcia Jerram and Northern Mystics strength and conditioning coach Pera Gibbs.

The curriculum-based programme aligns well with the Year 9 and 10 physical health and wellbeing programmes and eventually Ant hopes Dilworth’s pioneering high performance sport programme will gain NZQA accreditation.

“I’m a strong believer that sport is a critical fibre within the fabric of any school, and through this programme we’re putting our resources in the right places. This is a real value add for our students and their overall development.”