Developing the new Dilworth School sports strategy and vision

Having been around for over a century, Dilworth School boasts an impressive list of sporting achievements. A number of the boys have gone on to represent their region, city or country in their chosen sport including playing for the All Blacks, fighting in the UFC and representing New Zealand at the Youth Olympics.

More recently, Year 13 student Edward Whyte has made the Auckland U18 Rugby team, Daniel McElwee was selected for the NZ Youth Lawn Bowls training squad in 2019 and Calvin Lee made the NZ Schools Football team in 2016. The Dilworth 1st XV rugby team has had some impressive wins in the 1A competition over the last few years including against Mt Albert in 2017 and 2018. The school has also had numerous successes in wrestling at national level and the Touch Rugby team were selected for the Premier Touch Competition in 2018.
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Dilworth Junior Campus Sports Centre

To further strengthen the sporting opportunities and achievements at the school, a new sports centre was built at Dilworth Junior Campus which was opened in 2019 by the Governor-General of New Zealand. The Sports Centre has one full-size and two half-size basketball courts, also allowing for badminton, volleyball and futsal (indoor soccer). There is a fully-equipped exercise room, a classroom, a function room and kitchen, and a facility for Food Technology teaching. The building has recently been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Auckland Architecture Awards. In addition to this, thanks to the support from Aon, the Senior Campus weightlifting area was upgraded to assist in promoting high performance training opportunities.

At the beginning of 2020, a new role, the Director of Sport was created to help lead Dilworth through the next phase of sporting success. The successful applicant was Darryn Hoare.  Born and bred in Wellington, Darryn Hoare has always had a passion for sport and physical education. After spending a number of years in the fitness industry early on in his career, he quickly realised that he was deeply interested in the growth and development of young people. He trained to become a teacher and spent a few years as a PE and Health teacher before moving into sports management.

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Director of Sport at Dilworth School - Darryn Hoare

Darryn was attracted to Dilworth’s unique model and the opportunities available to the young men. He says “I like the idea of a student in Year 5 seeing pathways and opportunities in sport that will keep them engaged and challenged through to the end of their schooling.  The unique set-up at Dilworth means we can do and achieve things that can’t be done elsewhere.”

His vision for the school is to establish a strategic framework that sees sport and codes aligned from junior through to senior school.  A framework that enhances students’ enjoyment of sport, provides a multitude of opportunities to try different things, while focusing on development that prepares students to confidently progress to the next level. “Ultimately, I want students leaving school with a life-long love of sport and physical activity and for them to go on and continue engaging in sport once they’ve left” says Darryn Hoare. 

Darryn believes that sport is incredibly important, particularly when it comes to young men. “Sport puts young men into different environments and situations that they don’t experience in the classroom, at home, or anywhere else.  There are obvious benefits to participating in sport, like physical fitness, but the true value of sport is as a means to building character and essential life skills – resilience, self-discipline, problem solving, working with others, coping strategies – the list goes on. Sport provides the context for these things to be learnt.  It’s a great place to experience success and failure and to learn how to deal with both.”

Overall, Darryn hopes to establish a thriving sports culture at Dilworth across all three campuses. At the heart of this, is ensuring that sport at the school is inclusive and that there are options for all students. “Every child’s experience of sport is different – it’s not a one-size-fits-all. Young people want opportunities. For sport, that’s a well organised programme, that provides them with the opportunity to engage at their level – whether that’s social participation with mates, or training and competing at the highest level. That’s often the biggest challenge for a sports programme at school - to cater for both the social participant and the elite competitive athlete.  But the two are not mutually exclusive and there’s no reason why opportunities for both can’t exist.”

As the new Director of Sport, Darryn acknowledges that for a sports programme to succeed at school it needs the support and expertise of coaches, managers, parents and staff. He concludes by saying, “it’s then about students taking ownership of the opportunities that are given to them. And at the end of the day, sport has to be fun. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard, or difficult, or a struggle. But enjoyment has to be at the centre of it all.”

May 6, 2020