Pro-Active

WT quizzes sports teachers on their own school games experiences...

Pro-Active

Kelli Hooper BA Hons Physical Education, Head of PE at Cobham Hall

What were your favourite sports at school?

Netball - I played for a ladies team from 13 and county level at 16+ - both fantastic experiences. I also enjoyed sports acrobatics, tennis, rounders, trampolining and athletics. Outside of school I loved riding, which I started at age 7, and eventing became my main sport.

What are your memories of competing in a school sports day?

I was very competitive and I put myself under huge pressure - would feel sick before an event. I enjoyed a range of athletics. During sports day my father would shout encouragement to go faster but I remembered my teacher's advice to 'pace yourself' which worked better and I usually finished in the top three! I always wished my peers were more competitive.

What form do your sports days take now?

Sports day at Cobham is a house competition and includes typical track and field events in every age group: javelin, shot put, high/long jump, 100m, 200m, 800m, 1500m and relays. Teachers and governors enjoy a fierce rivalry competing in a final house relay race of the day!

How do you encourage less confident pupils to take part?

Cobham Hall's motto "There's more in you than you think" is actively exercised and girls feel confident in their own abilities and have a positive mental attitude. There is always something they can excel in due to the wide range of sports offered at Cobham. Lots of inter-house competitions take place throughout school year and all girls are very willing to compete for their house.

What's your approach to placing the competitors?

The overall house winner receives a shield. Cups for best junior and senior sportswoman are awarded by combining performance in lessons and sports day results. 1st place certificates are awarded in all events. Team and individual success are equally celebrated in order to give the more able athletes the recognition they deserve.

How would you go about developing a young person's sporting potential?

Cobham has many inter-school fixtures as well as links with outside clubs which enables girls to further their potential in their preferred sport. We also encourage group and individual coaching from a young age and many GCSE and IB students assist at practices, enhancing their performance and furthering their own understanding of the sport. Cobham Hall London 01474 823371 www.cobhamhall.com

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Nick Young, Head of PE at Sackville School, Hildenborough

What were your favourite sports at school?

Cricket was my favourite sport at school. I was lucky enough to make some great friends through the teams I played in and in my memory the games were always played in beautiful warm sunshine, typical of every British summer!

What are your memories of competing in a school sports day?

Athletics was a big sport at my school. We would travel to an athletics track for our sports day and my main memory is one of having great fun. It was a day I always looked forward to and that's still true of sports day now.

What form do your sports days take now?

Our sports days are based around traditional running, throwing and jumping athletics events. There are subtle changes in the equipment we use to make them easier for younger students but essentially the activities are the same for all the students involved.

How do you encourage less confident pupils to take part?

Races are carefully balanced to ensure students of equal ability can take part together and the students choose their three favourite events to participate in so they can decide which events they enjoy the most.

What's your approach to placing the competitors?

There are individual medals for girls and boys in each event and an overall winning house. House points are awarded by the time, distance or height students achieve rather than their finishing position so everyone can contribute towards their house team score.

How would you go about developing a young person's sporting potential?

Enthusiasm and encouragement to help nurture each student's potential when they start. Good coaching and the opportunity to compete as they develop their talent. Finally giving them the confidence to believe in their ability and follow their dream. Consequently we have students competing at regional, county and national level in a range of sports from cricket to cross country, from athletics to martial arts to name but a few.

Sackville School Hildenborough 01732 836401 www.sackvilleschool.co.uk

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Julie Salmon, Director of Tennis, Bede's (Julie is a former Great Britain tennis player who played on the WTA Tour and at Wimbledon) Alan Wells, Director of Cricket, Bede's (Alan played cricket for England and captained Sussex from 1992-1996)

What were your favourite sports at school?

Julie: I played every sport on offer: netball, hockey, stoolball, rounders, but what I thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to each week was competing with my friends and for the school. Alan: My favourite sports at school were naturally cricket, football, rugby, basketball and athletics.

What are your memories of competing in a school sports day?

Julie: I always recollect it being such a hot day at junior school and I was excited that it was a whole school event. I have such fond memories. The egg and spoon race and the sack race seem to make me smile when I reminisce. Alan: My memories of sports day was just how exciting the day was. Having a day out of lessons to do sport - what could be better!

What form do your sports days take now?

Julie: We do various events from traditional athletics to tug of war. Alan: Sports day here at Bede's is a whole school event where everyone is encouraged to get involved. We have traditional athletics plus a bit of fun, too.

How do you encourage less confident pupils to take part?

Julie: I feel if there are more events on offer there is more likely to be something for everyone. Each individual can also have a role to play for the team/house which could be managing, motivating, analysing or officiating, all of which are vital team roles. It is hard to succeed without this backup! Alan: It's sometimes difficult to encourage less confident students to take part until they realise it's not all about the winning and the biggest cheers of the day are for those that finish behind the others but have given it a go.

What's your approach to placing the competitors?

Julie: I believe there should be prizes for the winners as there are academic prizes and we should celebrate achievement. I also see it as an essential life skill and a learning tool to recognise and appreciate everyone's strengths and weaknesses. Alan: There are no prizes for winners, just points that go to a grand total. The winners are the houses not individuals. Those points then go towards the annual House Cup.

How would you go about developing a young person's sporting potential?

Julie: I feel it is important at a young age to keep any sport fun by not over emphasising the need to always win but focusing more on performance. The improvements made should instil confidence, enjoyment and long term commitment. Alan: Continually instil confidence through competence. Work hard on their technique but more so on their skill acquisition. It is also vitally important to understand that everyone is different and young people find their own way to achieve if they are in the right environment.

Bede's Senior School Upper Dicker 01323 843252 www.bedes.org

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Tim Fox, Director of Sport at Saint Ronan's

What were your favourite sports at school?

I really enjoyed playing all sports at school. I was lucky enough to play in a talented rugby team who won a lot of matches. I played scrum half and loved the fact you are always in the game: passing, tackling and occasionally scoring! I also enjoyed playing football. I was a right back although I loved to get forward at every opportunity and help the attackers!

What are your memories of competing in a school sports day?

The opportunity to represent my form and compete against my friends in both track and field events created lots of excitement and friendly rivalry. Despite having short legs, I remember having to do the triple jump and chase Darren Scrivner around the track in the 1500 meters - and he was very fast!

What form do your sports days take now?

Saint Ronan's sports days have always been very traditional with the pupils taking part in track events. In addition they also compete in field events such as the long jump, javelin, shot, discus and throwing cricket and rounders balls. The Olympics gave us an opportunity to introduce other sports such as judo, fencing, badminton, table tennis and touch rugby which the children really enjoyed.

How do you encourage less confident pupils to take part?

With the large number of activities on offer within our sports day the pupils can choose an event or sport they enjoy. They would have been taught these with their PE lessons or extras programme therefore they have a good understanding of the technique, tactics and rules. Our school, staff and pupils are always very encouraging and supportive so hopefully the children will feel they are able to have a go at all times.

What's your approach to placing the competitors?

Each child represents one of four houses and for each race, event or sport they earn points which go towards their house total. All the winners receive a medal and the older pupils get awarded trophies for the athletics events. We also run a Victor Ludorum and Vixtrix Ludorum competition, where individual pupils are awarded points for a run, throw and jump. The athlete with the most points wins the trophy.

How would you go about developing a young person's sporting potential?

We start off by developing simple ball skills, movement and agility for example, and apply these skills within specific games such as football, netball, badminton and gymnastics. The pupils have the opportunity to represent the school in matches and tournaments and attend extra clubs. In addition to this we encourage pupils to join local clubs and those that show a particular talent are put forward for district and county trials.

Saint Ronan's School Hawkhurst 01580 752271 www.saintronans.co.uk

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Mr Jon Hellyar, Director of Sport at St Edmund's School Canterbury

What were your favourite sports at school?

My favourite sports were hockey, football and racket sports. I was fortunate to have very enthusiastic and dedicated PE teachers who have all helped to shape my views on the role of PE and the need to offer a broad range of activities.

What are your memories of competing in a school sports day?

I was usually full of nerves and excitement as I tried to work out which fellow athletes could be in my races. I remember there being loud support from parents, teachers and classmates. Sports days hold some of my most treasured memories from school.

What form do your sports days take now?

St Edmund's sports days offer pupils the chance to compete and challenge for house points. We hold separate events for Senior School, Upper Junior School, Lower Junior School, and Pre-Prep School - this gives all pupils the opportunity to compete in races appropriate for their age: fun races for the youngest children through to traditional athletics for the older pupils.

How do you encourage less confident pupils to take part?

Pupils who are building confidence are encouraged to increase their personal best performances. This is a measure that is personal to them and can lead to further success later on. Points are always awarded despite finishing last, especially when a single point can mean winning or losing the overall cup.

What's your approach to placing the competitors?

At St Edmund's all competitors score points irrespective of their finishing position. This encourages a wider participation and ensures everyone is happy to enter for races. It also gives value to their performance in the wider context of the competition.

How would you go about developing a young person's sporting potential?

A St Edmund's pupil who is driven and determined should be guided towards taking their interests beyond school. Developing sustainable links through sports clubs and School Sports Partnerships (SSPs) is an excellent way of nurturing talent identified at school. A sports scholarship at St Edmund's also offers exciting opportunities to help develop potential.

St Edmund's School Canterbury 01227 475600 www.stedmunds.org.uk