With the national secondary school pool competition just around the corner, one Waikato team from Ngāruawāhia High School is training hard for the tournament to beat their rivals from larger schools.

Physics teacher Murray Elgar is in charge of the team of 14 students and has been involved in cue sports at the school for five years.

The students train every week on their three school pool tables and at the local Massé club in Hamilton, with Mr Elgar transporting them there and back in the school van.

To engage with the students, Mr Elgar likes to use elements of physics when coaching his 14 pool master students.

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Discussing physics in action when the students strike a ball, he says that "when they hit a ball with their cue and it ricochets around the table, the ball actually stops still every time it makes contact with another object. However, you would need a slow motion camera to see it."

In fact, Mr Elgar believes that a third of the school physics courses could be taught on a pool table.

His students also show that pool is an inclusive sport.

"Anyone can play, there's no weightlifting involved, you don't have to be a fast runner — you've just got to have a few basic skills and mental toughness," says Mr Elgar.

The Ngāruawāhia High School team is working toward competing in the national secondary school pool competition, on 6-7 September in Hamilton. The event has already achieved its highest registration numbers on record with at least 140 schools confirmed, and many more interested.

"We're aiming to make this year's secondary school competition the best year yet, getting as many students around the country as possible hooked on the game of pool," says General Manager of Massé, Bernie Endres.

"With all the entries so far, we're looking at the possibility of a larger venue to accommodate all the players. It's great to have them all coming to Hamilton, as it has been held in Christchurch previously."

Teams from around New Zealand will compete in regional competitions in August to determine seeding, before attending the national competition in Hamilton.

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