Maroons sharp-shooter Johanthan Thurston knows all about the importance of goals.
The North Queensland skipper’s deadly right boot has been the difference between victory and defeat, both for Queensland and the Cowboys, more times than anyone can remember.
So successful has JT become at kicking goals, a video of him steering a place kick between the posts from the sideline and behind his own tryline at a Kangaroos training session became a viral YouTube sensation during the Four Nations tournament in November.
Now, with the FOGS’ ARTIE program, JT is helping to show kids in central Queensland why setting goals and working towards success are just as important in life as they are on the football field.
The FOGS recently extended the ARTIE program into four central Queensland schools – Rockhampton State High School, Mount Morgan State High School, and Gladstone State High School – bringing the total number of schools across Queensland involved in the ARTIE program to 21.
And Thurston, like he does for the Cowboys, Maroons and Kangaroos, was leading from the front, working together with Steve Walters to motivate the students to lift their performance at school and achieve their goals.
Steve and JT drew parallels between school work and professional football to show the students how listening to their teachers and working hard could deliver them the success many may have thought was out of their reach.
Firstly, JT ran a key goal-setting workshop with the students, focusing on the key areas of maths, English and attendance.
The students then designed their own goal sheets, aimed at those specific areas and setting goals for personal improvement.
To help keep the students focused on their targets, JT explained how the challenges the students faced with homework and the interaction with teachers were similar to what NRL stars dealt with everyday with training and working with their coaches.
Thurston explained how he doesn’t like going to training, but he turns up to every session to help improve his game.
He explained how, if he didn’t go to training simply because he didn’t like it, he would be letting down his teammates, his family and himself.
JT explained how the students had a similar responsibility with their homework – while not many may actually enjoy it, it is important to improve their understanding and their grades, and making their families proud.
Similarly, Thurston encouraged the students to make the most of the specialised “coaching” available to them at school with homework clubs and their teachers.
He explained how, to be the best footballer he can be, he still needs the help of coaches, assistant coaches, kicking and fitness coaches, and encouraged all of the students to ask for help if there was an area they needed to work on to achieve their goals.
Not surprisingly, the students and staff of the schools were very excited about this new “coaching” approach to their studies, and the local elders and community member from the local areas also gave the ARTIE program strong support.
FOGS would like to thank everyone involved in the CQ ARTIE program, and we look forward to hearing about more positive results in the months ahead.