A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Marion, South Australia
Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Sport Development and High Performance - Edition 2 - 2019

Digging up Diamonds

In 2007, I was brave enough to ask my mentor why he was always so interested in hearing my opinion on his work. For perspective, at the time he had an Olympic fourth place, an Olympic bronze medal and Olympic gold medal to his name. All I had was a university degree and a year of full time coaching under my belt. I wondered what I could possible contribute. His response is something that has always stuck with me and has shaped my own thought processes as I’ve moved through my career.

He told me that when an idea or thought lives with you for too long, it gets familiar, and its turns a little stale. He said "When I ask you your perspective on my own thoughts, it’s like I keep giving you coal, and you keep coming up diamonds”.

I think that the way we sometimes treat our environments is the same way we at times treat our thoughts. We get familiar with proximity, and we take our own achievements or pursuits of excellence for granted.

In light of the schools theme for the year, gratitude, I went in search of diamonds in our own backyard with the hope of digging up some acts of excellence or achievement, and sharing the stories with you for a refreshed perspective.

Meet Coach Sam Wall... again

I had the pleasure of meeting Sam on the tennis court on one of my first days at Westminster. He was quietly spoken but working hard with the Drive team and I had guessed there might be more to him than meets the eye. It took me a little while to extract this information from Sam as talking about himself doesn’t come easily, but I’m sure as you read on you will agree with me, that he is one of Westminster’s hidden diamonds.

Sam has been the force behind Drive Tennis at Westminster for the past eight years and has been a professional coach at Coromandel Valley Tennis Club for 10 years, coaching on court for on average 50 hours a week.

With his work ethic and commitment level, it's little wonder Sam’s work has been making a name for him at the top of the game here in South Australia, being awarded Coach of the Year by Tennis SA for the last three years running. It doesn’t stop there, Sam has also been the Bruce Cup Coach (State School U12 teams event) for last five years and Pizzey Cup Coach (State School U18 teams event) for six years.

Most impressively, and as a testament to the work that he has put into his athletes, something that as a community we should be very proud of, Sam has been a finalist for Talent Development Coach for the past two years, nominated by Tennis Australia as one of the top coaches in Australia.

We sincerely thank Sam for his continued work with our athletes and commitment to the school.

A new face

Just as we recognise outstanding long service, I also have the pleasure of introducing one of our newer members of staff, Head of Preparatory School Sport, Tim Weatherald.

Although for many in SA Tim is a bit of a household name, with 311 SANFL games played during his career with Sturt and Norwood Football Clubs, but just in case you haven’t read his book, allow me to fill you in.

Tim was involved in the SANFL competition as a player for 17 years, including significant roles in a successful premiership team, and winning the SANFL's highest award, the Magarey Medal, in 2002.

Tim’s story is a true reminder of why it is so important to be grateful for every day we are given. As a survivor of the 2002 Bali bombings, Tim shared that this experience changed his outlook on life completely. He now actively takes nothing for granted and looks to make the most of every opportunity, especially his time spent with his wife and four daughters.

Since retiring as a player Tim has kept his passion for sport and footy alive by commentating on the ABC television broadcast, coaching with the SANFL State Under 16 Football team, and being an assistant coach at the Norwood Football Club. From there Tim’s coaching career progressed from strength to strength where he took on the Head Coach position of the Under 18 team at the North Adelaide Football Club Centre of Excellence. Tim and his family moved to Darwin, where he was the midfield coach for the NT Thunder in the NEAFL, and was the Club and Premier League Coach at the Waratah Football Club in the NTFL, Darwin.

Most recently Tim was the Inaugural Senior Coach of the NT Thunder Womens’ team in the VFLW, but the lure of SA has brought him back where he is currently the Assistant Coach of the Adelaide Crows AFLW team for the 2019 season, and we are proud to have him as part of the Westminster High Performance Team.

Future Diamonds

Now as we look to the future I wanted to congratulate some of our students on their recent achievements.

For some, school holidays meant a chance to kick back and relax, but our boys' football team has been getting ahead of the game, ably led by our excellent Strength and Conditioning Coach, Gerard Dutton. The team spent their down time working out and building strength in the Golden Keys Training Centre preparing for the season ahead, and from their testing data they are right on track.

In high performance it is always the process which determines the outcome. Our process is to show up and do the work which is required, learn from our setbacks and lift up our successes so that they may lift us. On that note I’d like to congratulate Kaine Baldwin on his participation in two AFL Hub training camps and on his promotion from the U18s to the League side.

We are pleased to see Kaine's efforts both on and off the field being rewarded, and know that the team and the school community are here to support him.

I would also like to make an acknowledgement of the volleyball teams who represented Westminster at the 2018 Australian Volleyball Schools Cup. There were two boys' team and a girls team who all had an excellent tournament, a sign of good things to come for volleyball at Westminster. Notably the Girls' A team came home with a Bronze medal after an outstanding battle in the final.

Looking forward to sharing more of our athlete’s stories in the weeks to come as the year is well under way.

Yours in sport,

Lauren Soderberg
Head of Sport Development and High Performance