A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school on Kaurna Country, Adelaide, South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Sport Development and High Performance - Edition 15 - 2019

Commitment - non-fulfilment and the flow on effect

Has commitment changed or is it less important in our values system in the modern fast-paced world? Term 4 sport seems to be suffering immensely as the school year draws to a close. Teams that were filled in Term 1 are dwindling, teams are being pulled and draws are being changed much to the frustration of administrative staff, coaches and team managers.

So let’s examine a little what happens when individuals forget they are part of a whole. It seems reasonable to think that if I withdraw from my sports team, it’s just one person down and doesn’t effect anyone else, so what’s the harm? The facts are that the impact is bigger than you might think.

Our school has been built on an every opportunity motto. Meaning that if there are bare numbers of students wishing to compete in an activity, our sports staff will do all they can to support and field a team. Which means often we are fielding teams without many reserves in order to fulfil our commitment to offer students as many sporting opportunities as possible.

So what happens when just one or two people withdraw from their commitments:

  1. You let down your team mates, those who still want to be part of the team, those who now may not be able to if we can’t field numbers to support a team.
  2. Fewer numbers means staff and managers are calling trying to find fill in players, often failing and having to forfeit matches.
  3. Coaches who have committed to the team are being cancelled from their activity – some are forgoing their professional paid work to be a part of our schools coaching team.
  4. If its training sessions we are light on number for, then coaches who have spent their own unpaid time planning and preparing for training sessions have to reconstruct a new session plan on site, and modify or completely scrap their intended session, simply to accommodate different training numbers.
  5. Referees that the school employs for games have to be cancelled for the session - understand that these people are giving up their weekends and evenings with their families to officiate our teams and play a crucial role in any sports program.
  6. Transportation which has been booked needs to be cancelled and cancellation fees apply! The school has to pay if we have expected a team and no longer have one.
  7. We need to call our opposition school and cancel the games - there is an impact on another entire player group and staffing from another school who miss out on a match due to our team cancelling.
  8. Representation of our school in the community. It does not reflect well on our school in the wider community if we are not fulfilling our sporting commitments.
  9. When we withdraw teams late due to numbers drop out, entire draws need to be redone by either IGSSA and SAAS. This is a timely exercise and one that is quite tedious at times, and requesting withdraws which demands draw modification is extremely frowned upon by the Independent Schools Sporting bodies. We do not do ourselves any favours for future draw requests.

What about fulfilling commitments?

The purpose of sport is about so much more than winning. It’s about learning a skill set for life. If not commitment, what about teamwork and being there for those who stand beside you? Even if your team is posting more losses then wins, you have a chance to learn resilience and determination. Not too many people enjoy the losses, but the fact is we learn much more about ourselves from how we deal with a loss, than we will ever from a win. The reason being it exposes our weaknesses and gives us a chance to grow and improve.

Rethink your decisions.

The decision to nominate – if you are unsure if you can fulfil your commitment, it's simple – don’t make it, until you are sure you are willing to do the work that it takes to truly be a team player.

The decision to miss practice – you are directly affecting the team’s ability to practice. You are directly effecting the time your coach has put into planning a session. You are directly effecting the performance on the weekend – we only get better at what we practice.

Solution - manage your time better, we are all given the same amount of hours in a week and we have athletes who are doing Year 12, playing and training in state and national level teams never missing a practice. We can do whatever we decide is important enough for us to commit to. Humans are incredibly resilient and creative beings - where there is a will there is a way. Make your commitments important, they are a true representation of yourself and your word.

The decision to miss a game – unless you are physically incapable of being at a match it is the 100% expectation that you will attend all your games. This includes if you are injured – be a team player and get there to support your teammates and be part of the learning from court side. You will be surprised how watching from an off-court perspective can influence and improve your on-court decision making and performance.

Remember that when you signed up for sport you ticked a box that states, 'I have discussed my choices with my parents/guardians and they have approved and we understand the commitment required'. That commitment required is to be 100% present at all matches and training sessions unless extenuating circumstances to be approved by myself, the Head of Sport Development and High Performance.

Commitment is a life skill to be fostered and developed in the sporting landscape. Your level of commitment is a representation of yourself. Let go of the misconception that it is just me, and it doesn’t matter if I miss a session, a game etc. Look at the flow on effect that your decision making has and the impact it has on others and lets lift our level of commitment at Westminster.

Positive Payback

As we head into exam block remember that exercise is a fantastic, if not the best form of stress release, it has a positive impact on your sense of wellbeing and improves your ability to sleep. Engaging in an hour of sporting activity, twice a week might just give you the added boost you need to get you through the end of the school year.

UK Cricket Tour 2021

An invitation is extended to all cricketers in Years 7 to 10 and their parents interested in participating in the 2021 UK Cricket Tour.

During the 1980s, the Westminster Cricket Program began to look abroad to enhance the cricketing experience for its students. Several tours to New Zealand resulted. In 1991, the school embarked on its first tour of England, a tour which has been repeated every three years since that time. The 2021 tour will be the school’s eleventh venture to the ‘Mother Land’.

The early tours included stop overs in the United States with visits to cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orlando. These stop overs were largely for tourist activities, however not always. For example, the first game of the ’91 tour was played at Marin County just outside of San Francisco as the touring party made their way to England. Such stop overs have become a thing of the past, although side trips have been features of some tours to destinations like Singapore.

The 2021 tour will see us arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland and play George Watson’s College followed by Durham School. For the first time we will play Barnard Castle, where we will meet up with former Westminster staff member Mark Robson. We will then be renewing our acquaintances with Stowe School, Clifton College, Monkton Combe and Felsted School. Felsted will be the significant stopover of this tour where we will take part in their ‘Cricket Festival’, where three international schools participate in a Round Robin tournament. While we are there we will play against Felsted for the fourteenth time. We will also visit Dumbleton Cricket Club for the fourth time – the club where former First XI coach Mark Scott previously coached, and two Old Scholars, Akash Patel ('12) and Mitch Douglas ('13) have played. We are also in negotiation with Westminster School in London, where we hope to play a game on Vincent Square and then follow this with a function to celebrate our School’s 60th birthday. We also intend to finish the tour in Amsterdam where a final game is in negotiation.

An information session for the 2021 Tour will be held in Room 201 at 6.00 pm on Thursday 7 November. At this session, we will go through the proposed itinerary, tour structure and application process. It will also be a valuable chance for you to ask any questions that you may have.

Please RSVP via www.trybooking.com/BGIRB by Monday 4 November.

Student Highlights

Starting with the talk of the town, the SANFL grand final. Unless you have been in hiding, I’m sure you have heard the news or seen the headlines that Glenelg was successful in breaking a 33 year drought and defeating Port for the premiership. What you may or may not know of is that Westminster’s very own Year 9 football coach and Magarey medal winner, Luke Partington played a critical role in the team, as did Westminster Old Scholar, Andrew Bradley ('09). A huge congratulations from the Westminster family.

Lots of news out of the Prep School this week with our students competing in a multitude of competitions.

Jazz McKay (Year 6)

Jazz represented SA at the School Sport Australian 12 and Under National Netball Championships in Canberra. This was a great achievement for Jazz who is only 11 and is still eligible to play in this team next year. SA took out the Silver medal. The manager informed me that Jazz played very well throughout the week in Centre and Wing Defence, with the highlight beating QLD by 1 goal following an intercept from Jazz with 20 seconds to go, saving the day. SA defeated every team in the tournament and only 2 points separated SA and QLD for Gold.


Athletics – State Representatives

Westminster had six students represent SA at the School Sport Under 12 Australian National Athletics Championships in Darwin. In hot and humid conditions our students have had a great experience.

Congratulations to Gerard McGinley (Year 5), Sam McClarron (Year 6), Timothy Alver (Year 6) and Jeremy Shepherd (Year 6).

Their results are as follows:

Sam McClarron - 800m 2:23 (PB) 9th, 1500m 4.57 (PB) 10th
Jeremy Shepherd - 800m 2:19 (PB) 9th, 800m Relay team 1st

Gerard McGinley and Tim Alver also competed in a number of events and Adelle Parkinson-Need was selected to compete but had to withdraw because she had two grand finals in Adelaide at the same time.

Cross Country – State Representatives

Westminster had six students represent SA at the School Sport Australian National Cross Country Championships in NSW. Our students ran some great times with personal best performances over the four days of competition.

Sam McClarron - 16th 3km in 10:39
Adele Parkinson-Need - 33rd 3km in 12:24
Zachary Tucker - 37th 3km in 11:19
Caitlin Dyer - 63rd 4km in 15:38
Katie Natt - 38th 3km in 11:34
Jess McManus - 24th 4km in 14:43

Yours in High Performance,

Lauren Soderberg
Head of Sport Development and High Performance