View from the Dugout - Sports News 3 May 2018
Discipline. I am not sure what the word “discipline” means to you but for most people it conjures up a variety of feelings. For many the word has negative connotations and this is no wonder, really, considering the best synonyms for the word are “control, regulation, direction, order, authority, rule, strictness or a firm hand”. Throw in the word “self”, however, (as in self-discipline) and all of a sudden “discipline” doesn’t seem so bad. Self-discipline is after all otherwise known as self-mastery and can be defined as the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses. Sport is probably one of the best teachers of self-discipline as it is in the cut-and-thrust of competition that one’s weaknesses and emotions are most tested. This is mainly due to the fact that in sport there are very few situations that can be controlled and, ultimately, in team games, it is the referee or umpire who is the sole judge of all outcomes. It is therefore no wonder, that at a top level, much attention is paid to how players respond to significant “on field” occurrences whether they are elicited by the match official, opposition or even the crowd. It is a valid observation that certain sports have better cultures of on-field self-discipline than others, however, all great teams are conditioned to react positively and proactively to whatever stimulus they are exposed to. They understand that the present interference is not a variable that can be controlled but what their response to it is. They also know that should the incident take their focus away from the task, even for just a moment, it will cost them points/goals or even the entire match. I saw two contrasting examples of this on a TV highlights package this weekend. In one match a team was repeatedly sanctioned by a referee for technical misdemeanours, however, they maintained their focus, immediately falling back in defence and ultimately prevented their opponents from scoring. In the end they won the game. In a totally different sport, the opposite rang true. Following a red card incident multiple players of the offending team joined a fracas around the referee even barging him with their shoulders and chests; they had totally lost it. Needless to say, he didn’t overturn his decision and ultimately the team lost the game. The reality is that strong self-discipline in the face of an external stimulus is not only advantageous to sport but it is applicable to life in general. To this end, it is well known that emotionally intelligent people are generally more successful in life and, therefore, coaching players at a school level to manage their emotions may not only help them to be better athletes but better people as well.
As mentioned sport is an exceptional mechanism to train self-mastery, so as staff and parents let us look to develop emotional resilience in our players/boys in the following ways:
- Discourage boys from challenging decisions made by match officials – besides being dishonourable it is a distraction from the task at hand.
- Encourage boys to walk away from altercations with the opposition – this too can have a tremendously negative impact on a player’s performance.
- Expect players to minimise the time taken to respond when there has been a breakdown in play –games are won and lost in the inches, and inches in sport are measured in the time taken to react.
Our hockey club had an exceptional day against Kearsney on Saturday recording their best down-the-line results against this school. I spent much of the morning around Beckingham and Henderson watching the teams there and I was delighted with what I saw. The passion and intensity with which these boys played was superb. One of these matches, the U14C, turned out to be my team of the day. These boys displayed good skills and together they employed a solid structure which denied Kearsney any real impetus. Being the first match of the fixture their 1 – 0 win got the hockey club off to a great start.
The 1st XI played some of their best hockey this season in the opening half of their encounter. After an early stalemate our boys started to get the ascendency both in territory and possession. It seemed our relentless pressure was the difference as we coerced Kearsney into unforced errors. Our dominance eventually resulted in us converting three excellent goals and we entered the break tails up and in full control. In the second half we started well but a brief lapse of concentration opened the door for Kearsney to score. With the flicker of hope we afforded them, Kearsney were back at us and only minutes later they scored their second goal. Momentum had shifted and we were now under pressure. Kearsney completed the comeback not too long after (3 – 3). Both teams had opportunities to win the match outright in the last quarter but it wasn’t to be and we were left ruing a golden opportunity to take a Kearsney scalp at home.
Other excellent results come from the 3rd and 4th teams which both won their matches 5 – 0 as well as the U16A and U14A who both maintained their unbeaten run in the domestic competition with a 2 – 2 draw and a 7 – 0 win. All-in-all the hockey club played 13, won 9, drew 3 and lost 1 match on the day.
We were not certain of what to expect in the rugby matches against Kearsney as both schools were coming off tough encounters in the previous week. What we did know was that Kearsney had shown great fight against Glenwood, with their open division winning most of their matches. On our side, it was evident that our boys were keen and ready for the challenge, showing great courage and determination from the first whistle. Once again it was the lower teams that impressed me as I thoroughly enjoyed watching the 7th (26 – 15), 8th (15 – 17) and U14C (34 – 24) in tightly contested matches. The U14B in all likelihood deserve the team of the fixture award for their performance. This gutsy little side played sublime rugby on the day to run out 38 – 0 winners. Another noteworthy performance came from the U16A team who notched up a hard fought win against a very competent Kearsney U16A team (8 – 0). This is the first occasion that this age group has beaten Kearsney at an A-team level in rugby.
The 1st XV wrapped up the day with a very close victory and credit must be given to the Kearsney 1st XV for their determination.
The Kearsney outfit started like a house on fire scoring a converted try and an audacious drop kick to lead 10 – 0. Our boys showed fantastic composure and by the half we had reeled in our opponents to lead 14 – 13 after two wonderful tries. Once again, Kearsney showed real character by being first to score in the second half (14 - 20). Eventually, after sustained pressure and with the wind at our backs, the White scored 3 well constructed tries to build a heartening lead (31 – 20). Kearsney were not done scoring yet again 31 – 27 but fortunately, one more converted try pushed us out of reach (38 – 27) of a late Kearsney score. The final score 38 – 34. Congratulations to our boys for their never-say-die attitude which has helped them maintain their unbeaten record thus far.
PRETORIA BOYS HIGH FIXTURE
Parents are reminded that the information regarding the upcoming tour to Pretoria Boys High School can be found on the D6. We will be sending out further communication next week.
A couple of noteworthy deadlines are as follows:
- Leaves are for boys staying with their parents and all requests for leaves should be submitted to House Managers by 12pm tomorrow, Friday 4th of May.
- Requests from parents who have travelled to Pretoria and would like to transport their sons home after the 1st XV match on Saturday must be submitted to their son’s coach by 12pm on Friday 4th May.
Our remaining fixtures are:
- 5th May - Michaelhouse (Away)
- 12th May - Pretoria Boys High (Away)
- 26th May - Westville (Home)
- 2nd June - Kearsney College (Away)
- 9th June - St Charles College (Away)
- 16th June - Michaelhouse (Home)
Executive Director - Sport