The Clifton Sports department put together a great physical education program during the lockdown, allowing the Clifton gentlemen to keep active during these tough times. I recently had the opportunity to chat with our hard-working sports staff about some of their challenges and successes.
How have you found the Online Coaching process during the lockdown?
The online coaching process was a bit frustrating as there is very little interpersonal contact. Coaching requires observation, analysis, feedback and evolution. As a coach, you crave the human interaction with your students as they do with you.
How does it feel to be back on the sports field, despite the restrictions?
It feels fantastic. It’s wonderful to see all the boys enjoying themselves as we prepare them for the upcoming season. The boys have responded well to the protocols in place, which has allowed us to focus on coaching. As coaches, our biggest reward is seeing the boys enjoy their sport and build friendships and camaraderie amongst their peers, those who they play with and against.
What challenges has the pandemic presented for school sport?
As a school, we pride ourselves on providing an all-round education, of which sport is an integral part. With there being no sport, the boys have lost out on valuable character and relationship building with their peers and sports coaches. Sport promotes discipline, trust, resilience and respect. This transcends into academics, together creating that all-round education.
What innovations have you introduced into sports programs that you will keep after the pandemic?
The pandemic forced us to implement online coaching. The program was sport-specific and was very successful but as time went on, we found the boys were losing motivation and were craving that human connection that is such a massive part of coaching.
From a PE perspective, we have put together a very structured program which will be highly beneficial for our boys going forward.
From a coaching perspective, working in smaller groups has allowed the coaches to ‘hone-in’ on the technical side of the sport and work with the boys more closely on an individual level.
What are you most looking forward to when sport returns to normal?
The one thing we are most looking forward to is the interschool competitions, playing against other schools and once again having the camaraderie and healthy competition that sport brings. Representing Clifton with pride and seeing our boys thrive and enjoy their sport once again. To add to that the build-up and preparation during the week for the upcoming sports fixture as well as the matchday experience.
“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability”
– Patrick Lencioni
With thanks to all the Clifton sports staff for their contribution to this article.