Tuesday 29 May 2018


With youth sport becoming more and more competitive, in both the quality and quantity of tournaments, many competitors are now finding that traditional schooling is hampering their ability to train and compete to the extent that they need to develop to their full potential. And now with Mind Sports such as e-Sports and others growing hugely in popularity and offering lucrative professional careers, the same kind of challenges are becoming apparent in this space too.

Home schooling has until now been the only viable option for these elite youth competitors, with added strain being put on parents to manage (or not) the education of their future star. The result has been far too many of these youngsters not finishing their high school education, banking on their sporting success continuing into the professional ranks.

To fill this gap and to provide a solution to these challenges, Balderstone Sports Institute (BSI), based in Johannesburg, has developed a tailor-made education solution for sports-focused high school students, called the BSI Sports Study Centre.

The BSI Sports Study Centre uses the ‘distance learning’ model, that brings greater flexibility of schedule for training and competing, and envelopes it with a fully managed, structured and disciplined environment to ensure that the education component of a youth athlete’s life is given the importance that it needs.

Each student’s education is tailor-made, with 3 different curricula choices including two international options, plus an individualised work plan based around their competitive sports schedule. One of the key philosophies of BSI is ‘Whole Person Development’, and included in the structure is a life skills and personal development programme, particularly geared around the specific demands of being an athlete such as media readiness, brand building and social media use.

An integral part of the daily programme is an ‘Energising Session’ to kick off the day before academics start. These physical sessions build long-term physical literacy, as well as preparing the students for optimum concentration for the day ahead. BSI boasts South African national squad members across 3 different sporting disciplines, and demand is coming from many other sports, including e-Sports. BSI Founder Michael Balderstone commented; “For many years golf was not seen as an athletic sport, but now an entire industry has grow around golf-specific fitness, and all of the top players have fitness and health regimes. e-Sports will go the same way, as improvements in physical literacy, fitness and nutrition have significant benefits for hand-eye coordination and concentration. We look forward to welcoming e-Sport competitors to our family and helping to grow the competitive professionalism around the sport.”

BSI is hosting an Open Evening on Wednesday 13thJune for parents and students who wish to find out more information.

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