The South Island Squash Championships were held at the Burnside Squash club on the 24th & 25th June.

Schools from across Waitaha filled out the Burnside club with 30 teams across the boys and girls grade competing to put their name on the trophy for 2023.

Representing Your School

Events such as this provide an opportunity for rangatahi to participate and represent their school in a sport. For many individuals these opportunities are the highlight of their time at school. Addison Po (Burnside High School) mentions that getting to represent his school brings him a sense of pride and belonging and Olivia McCoy (Cashmere High School) loves the chance to wear the maroon and gold.

“Being a part of the squash team and representing my school brings a sense of pride and belonging. It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase our skills and compete against other schools. The friendship within the team is amazing, and the support we receive from our teammates and the school is truly encouraging. The competitive environment pushes me to continually improve and strive for excellence“, Addison.

“I love representing my school as it is a great experience to represent your school in a sport you love. I love wearing the maroon and gold on court because I know I am trying to play well and win for more than just me, but also for my teammates and school”, Olivia.

The Experience

Participating in sport also provides a meaningful and positive experience. For every athlete and young person that experience is always going to be different. Sofia Strange (Cashmere High School) and James O’Keefe (Burnside High School) identify that sport offers opportunities to stay active and take a break from school work.

“Participation in sport is very important to me as it gives me a chance to meet new people, stay fit and healthy and do something other than stress about school and hang out with friends. It also helps with prioritising and making choices”, Sofia.

“Sport is something that I value a lot in life where it keeps me fit and boosts my mood, therefore it is extremely important for me to participate in on a day to day basis”, James.

The Challenges

Although getting to represent their school at a regional level does have its challenges for our students. The Burnside High School students have identified the challenge of having to juggle all the different demands that a young person is faced with. Whether it be other school commitments or just the commitment to train for their sport.

“This season has presented many challenges for me. One of the main difficulties has been managing my time effectively to balance sports, academics, and personal commitments. It requires a lot of sacrifice to maintain a consistent training routine while staying on top of my studies. Additionally, facing strong opponents in matches has been a challenge, as it pushes me to constantly raise my game and adapt my strategies“, Addison.

“During the season there have been a large amount of injuries that hold me back and stop me from being able to perform consistently at my best. Another challenging is finding the time to train due to increasing commitments with work and school“, James.

Big Wins

Sport New Zealand’s Big Win campaign, highlights the importance that participating in sport has a positive effect on a student’ academic performance.

For the students at Cashmere High School, they find that their challenges are more driven around performance.

“Keeping a positive mindset and recognising improvement even if that doesn’t always mean winning. Since squash is an individual sport and the result is solely on you, if you get down on yourself it is sometimes hard to regroup“, Sofia.

“I am training a lot and feel as though I am improving but just can’t secure a large number of wins. I am definitely getting closer to opponents who used to beat me convincingly but it is hard to keep training so hard when the overall result is still the same“, Olivia.

Big Wins mentions that participation of sport plays a huge part in helping to develop physical and mental skills in young people, not just on the field but also off the field.

Both Sofia and Olivia mention that their wins happen behind the scenes, knowing that they have trained to the best of their ability and can feel that they are improving or simply when they leave the court happy with their own performance.