How Do We Raise The Next Generation of Sports Stars?

Tim Cahill and Torah Bright have a few ideas.


Who knows what it takes to be at the top of their game? Two of Australia’s premier sportspeople, Australian football’s greatest ever goalscorer Tim Cahill and Olympic gold medallist and champion snowboarder Torah Bright, of course. And both of these athletes are already working towards raising the generation of champions.

“I’m trying to show them that if Tim Cahill can do it, then they have a chance,” Tim tells Collective Hub of his program, the Tim Cahill Academy. “I take the elitism out of it and I get everyone involved—boys, girls—and I just concentrate on fun. I don’t care if you want to plat AFL or cricket after this.”

Opportunity, says Tim, is the first step in supporting a new generation of kids.

“When we do our Ambitions Tour and I get applicants from all over Australia, when it’s narrowed down, I get maybe 300 and I read through them and I write a small reference on every single kid [to say] why I’ve picked them and the reasoning behind that direction.”

“Sometimes I can only pick 20 kids boys and girls out of 200 from across Australia to come into my camp for five days to live like Tim Cahill and get the experience. Now, it has nothing to do with elitism; it has to do with giving kids an opportunity that I feel need it. It’s that sort of stuff that takes a lot of time but also that’s what I love doing.”

With a sponsorship with Roxy since age 15, elite snowboarder Torah knows better than most that no matter the brand backing, it’s the love of the sport that will see you through a long and successful career. It’s one of the reasons she’s part of the Torah Bright Mini Shread program at Threadbo, an annual event that encourages kids of all ages and abilities to learn new skills, make new friends and remember why they’ve taken to skiing and snowboarding in the first place.

“A lot of it is just to do with keeping it fun, because in this type of sport that’s the reason why we do it,” Torah tells Collective Hub. “I do see young kids coming up with parents who are giving them every opportunity to be the best, and I had that too, but the core reason as to why I started snowboarding stayed with me, and it’s something I’ve always tried to nourish.”

By continually instilling that sense of fun back into the sport, Torah hopes the kids she skis and snowboards alongside will take that beyond the day and into their future with the sport.

“I invite fellow riders and coaches just to be with the kids, give them tips; we’ve got music playing, we’re all helping each other and learning from each other. If one kid progresses on with the sport and keeps that as their core essence, then I’m pumped.”



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