Sporting Bodies and the Sports We Play

Years ago I was included on the cover of a book called the “Sporting Body”. It makes me laugh as I was only a scrawny kid and I dare say the picture was chosen more for the look of determination on my face, rather than my “sporting body”. In saying that, one of my friends apparently was giving me a compliment the other day and said ‘’you have an Amazon-like presence”. It shocked me a little, but then it got me thinking…what is an Amazon-like presence?

I wonder if it’s code for athletic body or did he mean I have a “warrior-presence” and can take on anything that comes my way? Either way, Amazon women were warriors and Wonder Woman is one…so I WILL take it as a compliment! Being almost 6- foot tall, broad shoulders and a little bit of muscle (underneath my ever-growing subcutaneous layer of fat), it is hard for me to hide. When I stand next to someone small and petite, I quite often feel like a giant.

Amazon like or not amazon like, it is great to see the athleticism in any gender. But what makes people more “athletic” over others? Sure, genetics play a part -it can determine a person’s height and body composition including fast twitch /slow twitch fibre mixes determining whether they are likely to be better at sprinting. Socialisation plays a part, growing up with parents and other siblings involved in sport can determine how athletic you are. Psychological make up of internal drive and competitive instinct can also play a part, it creates the determination and willingness to train hard to go through the pain for victory. But are there any sports that people (children in particular) do, that makes them more athletic later in life?

I strongly urged my son to do gymnastics and athletics and said it would set him up for any sport he wanted to do. In fact, when he decided to do cricket, part of my negotiation was he can do cricket if he also does gymnastics. My negotiation failed, but 4 weeks into his cricket season, the coach said he needed to work on his core strength, flexibility and explosive speed…all the athletic elements he needed to improve his cricket, he would have got from gymnastics!

We see rugby and cricket players do specialised sprint training, we have rugby league players boxing and have even worked on their wrestling techniques. There was a recent discussion on a sports radio channel this week about rugby league players who converted to rugby union. League players were the better Union players when they switched codes, but very few Union Players switching to league made it into the same calibre of quality players. One of my work colleagues said, had he have had a son he would have got him into dancing. Dancing creates core stability, timing, memory retention and ability to be light and quick on your feet.

It is evident that there are some sports that help with your athleticism (motor skills) in other sports, it seems to be a little bit of struggle for some of these codes to retain these athletes in these sports which are usually not professional…why stick to a sport (even if you love it), when you can get some decent money in another? I wonder if there is a way for sports to work collaboratively to allow these athletes to stay involved in more than one sport? I wonder if that would potentially mean we have a stronger representation at the Olympics games?

In my opinion, genetics, fitness regimes and various types of sport participation can all affect ones “Sporting Body”. The amateur sports that seem to be the base line for athletic skills for the “professional” sports should be nurtured a little bit more.

Lastly from a personal note, I will deal with the fact that I will never be small and petite and will embrace my “Amazon-Like presence”, using it to the best of my ability!

Yvette Audet

Yvette Audet

Sport has been an integral part of my life, both work and personal. I grew up with sport, met my husband through sport and now as a mother, am involved more than ever in sport!

As a trainer and consultant in the industry I work with sporting groups and councils to create community facilities and partnerships aimed to increase sport participation.

I have created a range of articles from the perspective of a SPORTING MUM. The articles relate life skills and messages that we can get from being involved in sport. It’s uncanny how Sport can mirror life.


Involved in gymnastics, netball and athletics from an early age, Yvette experienced being part of a team as well as the unrelentless discipline in individual sport – in particular her Heptathlon days.

First became a mum in 2005 and remembers having the inner debate of how long should I play netball while pregnant? Doing quick breastfeeds in between netball games and hoping her uterus wouldn’t feel like falling out when she jumped for the ball.

Funny anecdotes aside, she has worked in the sport and recreation industry for almost 30 years and holds several certificates and degrees around the management and training of sport, community recreation, aquatics and fitness.

Through her various roles in profit and non-profit sectors, she has helped plan for programs, events and facilities to help get communities active through sport and recreation.