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An Holistic Approach to Developing an Athlete

Elite athletes Taylor Adams, Tegan Philip (nee Caldwell) and Renee Garing (nee Smith) were regular and enthusiastic participants in the Christian College sports program during their school days. Since then, they have gone on to represent the Collingwood Football Club, Melbourne Vixens Netball Club and Geelong Football Club, respectively.

No matter what sport was on offer, Taylor Adams would demonstrate a fierce determination to win – whether it be on the sand at Ocean Grove beach in the Surf Flags, the State Hockey and Netball Centre playing in a Netball final, playing for the Christian College Eagles Basketball Club or representing Burrows House at a Swimming Carnival. From an early age, Taylor demonstrated his leadership capabilities, expecting his team-mates to play just as ferociously as he did. It is therefore no surprise that he is now in the leadership group at the Collingwood Football Club. 

Tegan Philip was first identified by Netball Victoria when representing Christian College at the Waverley International Schools Championships. Presently Tegan plays goal shooter for the Melbourne Vixens. Tegan has also gone on to represent Australia as a member of the Commonwealth Games gold medal winning Australian Diamonds. Tegan’s formative years involved her excelling on the AFL field, trying her hand as a basketballer, clearing over 1.5 metres in the High Jump and being a creative member of the Penman Synchronized Swimming team. Tegan embraced all sport, whether it was in her Physical Education classes, the House arena or representing our College in Interschool Sport.

If you ask Renee Garing about her greatest memories of school, she would no doubt say the annual AFL Carnival was right near the top of her list. Renee, who is now our Middle School Sports Coordinator, thrived and embraced all Physical Education classes, in addition to House and Interschool activities. Renee, along with Tegan, led the School Netball team for a number of years, enjoyed challenging herself over the Cross Country course and competed for her beloved Taylor in House Carnivals and sports.
Renee’s record in the Geelong Netball League is of the highest order – winning three A Grade League Best and Fairest Medals, in addition to coaching and captaining Interleague teams. Demonstrating that her athletic abilities cross over to other pursuits, Renee has recently moved to AFL Football, where she is now representing the Geelong Cats in the Victorian Women’s Football League.

Sport is big business in Australia, with only a very small number of elite athletes able to earn a living and enjoy their chosen sport at the highest level. Unfortunately, this professionalism has added greater pressure on junior players to specialise in one sport, at a younger age. Whilst there are many benefits that come with the Pathway Programs – such as education on physical preparation, nutrition, recovery and the sport-specific training – the pressure and singular focus can mean that, at times, students miss out on the broader educational experiences that can make them more well-rounded athletes and individuals.

The physical, emotional and psychological benefits gained from playing a variety of sports and participating in a range of activities cannot be underestimated. Christian College offers students the opportunity to participate in 13 House or Interschool sports. Each sport provides students the opportunity to develop emotionally and intellectually through being part of a team, collaborating towards a common goal, applying sport-specific understanding to improve performance, interacting socially and physically in an environment that is safe and supportive, and to participate with peers whom they may not have the opportunity to play sport with outside of school.

The Health, Physical Education and Sport program, just as the Music, Art, Technology and Design, and Outdoor Education programs (to name a few), provide students with a balance in their weekly educational experience. It is through this breadth of programs that many Christian College students remain engaged, enthusiastic and motivated to learn.
Such an approach to Sport is in line with our College’s overarching belief that education is concerned with the ‘whole’ human being; and that every pupil has the capacity to achieve, or even excel, in some field. Participation in lifelong physical activity is an essential part of living a healthy and well-balanced life. The skills, knowledge and conceptual understandings explicitly taught and studied at our College provide a platform from which students are able to achieve this goal. 

All students have their own dreams and aspirations and as a College, we celebrate the excellence Taylor, Tegan and Renee have achieved. However we also value and celebrate the students who are prepared to take on each of the pursuits placed in front of them. This demonstrates perseverance in the process, showing true grit and on many occasions surprising themselves with the outcome!

Jonathon Ryan

Deputy Head of Middle School - Highton



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