Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Over the past week I have been involved in a number of rolls in a range of sporting codes.  From spectator to selector, from coach to supporter, and reflecting back on these experiences I would like to share some observations with you.

Firstly children succeed in sport when they enjoy the sport and are playing it because it is something that they want to do.  Often you will see children who have been pushed by their parents drop out at high school because they had become so afraid of failing that sport was not enjoyable.

The rule of ten thousand definitely is still a major factor, that is that to achieve at a high level you need to put in a minimum of ten thousand hours at your selected sport, but if you want children to put in anything like this level of effort then two factors are vital: they must have excellent support and they must enjoy what they are doing—feel part of a team or group.

My daughter’s hockey team has had a very successful season and the reason for this lies in their coaches ability to take a diverse group of girls ranging in age from 13-18 and including a national representative and some who only play for the school, and welding them into a team.

She was able to achieve this by her own skills but also by the fact that the older members in her team were real leaders.  Despite the fact; in one case they could have been playing for New Zealand one day and the next playing against South Otago, there was no self aggrandisement or self promotion but rather they emphasized the no ‘I’ in team saying.

The rest of the team responded to this leadership.  There was no talking down but only encouragement, no rebukes yelled but only encouragement, no snide remarks but rather support for a common goal.

I would suggest that sport here becomes a metaphor for life, if we want our team to succeed we need to focus on the collective not on our own aspirations.

Have a great week

Mike Brosnahan


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