Swimming as a sport has two primary objectives; the first is to make all children water confident and the second is to provide an avenue for those children who are talented in swimming to excel in the sport. In addition to the normal swimming slots during school time, we have implemented swimming squad sessions, where the children train after school in order to develop their potential. Commitment to these squad sessions is crucial. Our swimming team participates in local galas in the Helderberg basin, which are hosted on various days of the week. We also hold an annual Inter-House gala, in which we get as many children as possible involved.
The weather in the fourth term is always changeable and, as a result, we only start swimming in November to ensure that we have warmer weather. We do provide the swimming squad with the opportunity to train in a heated pool so as to ensure that our swimmers are ready for the galas that take place at the beginning of November. The rule is that once we start swimming in November, the training will be assessed on a daily basis and that we do not swim when the water temperature drops below 19 degrees. Should that be the case, the children will then do land training. The wind-chill factor is also taken into account when making a decision about swimming or land training.
We participate in the Helderberg cricket league. Although we have cricket matches on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, at times we participate in Saturday matches. In practice sessions, our programme ensures that all of our teams are rotated through our facilities so that everyone has the opportunity to use the nets, fields and Indoor Centre. This provides a solid basis for building the skills involved in batting, bowling and fielding.
Class tennis lessons occur during the school day in which an entire grade participates. Typically, coaches have between 8 and 12 players on a court with them, depending on the size of the whole group and the number of coaches available. The playing ability during these sessions is very varied, which results in us splitting the group as best we can to ensure that players are challenged according to ability.
Coaches adapt their lessons as follows:
Beginner players focus on ball skills to develop basic strokes and apply basic tactics.
Intermediate players develop their strokes to be able to keep a rally going and apply basic tactics.
Advanced players play all strokes, do drills and play doubles if court space allows.
Players that are ready for squad tennis will be identified during these lessons and will be invited to attend squad training sessions.
Tennis is a fantastic game for our students to learn, however, not everybody can make it into the school team. Our aim in tennis is two-fold: firstly we would like to get all players to develop their skills sufficiently to be able to keep a rally going; secondly it is important that we challenge the players that show talent and a desire to play matches so that they can represent the school well in these matches.
Athletics trials are held in the fourth term and these culminate in our Inter-House Athletics Meet in the first week of the first term. Once we have run this, we select our best athletes to participate in our Inter-Schools Triangular against Bridge House and Somerset House. We hold voluntary and compulsory athletics squad sessions in which we get experienced coaches in to develop our athletes so that they are able to produce their best performances in these athletics meetings. Commitment to these squad sessions is crucial. They start in the first term and end once the Triangular Athletics Meet has been run.
Water polo is new and exciting sport which was introduced to our Sports Programme for Grade 6 and 7 children in 2016. Grade 6 and 7 children who choose to do water polo, must make themselves available to be part of the swimming team. The Head of Swimming will select the children at the beginning of the term.
We enter boys and girls Grade 6 and Grade 7 hockey teams into the Indoor Hockey League hosted by Somerset College and Somerset House in the first term. League matches take place on Monday evenings and run from 16:30 to 21:00. Indoor Hockey is not a main summer sport and, as a result, practices are fitted into slots where most of the children are available. These times are then communicated to the parents once they have been established.
Chess is a wonderful extra mural where your child is able to develop essential cognitive and practical skills such as logic, collaboration, discipline, attention to detail and analysation. Chess classes are on Monday and Tuesday afternoons and children may choose to attend on either of these days or on both days.