The runaway freight train – School Sport

By Gregg van Molendorff of Graeme College

Virtually to the day, five years ago, I spent a little time writing down some thoughts about where school sport was headed; raising concerns about the ‘culture’ within school and the associated behaviour on the sides of the field. Sadly, I think we are in more trouble now than ever before. In that previous piece of writing, I referred to the Australian cricket chaos that ended in Cape Town 2018. That was a direct result of a culture eroded away, with norms and values not being respected over a long period of time.

Sadly, we witnessed two horrible events at the recent rugby festival which has prompted this particular concern again. Not that this concern has ever gone away. Both incidents involved parents having despicable altercations with learners that were playing matches in front of them. It is absolutely crazy to think about this happening – but it’s a symptom of where we are now, and very much a result of our current culture in school sport, and therefore within our society. SASRA has since banned the one parent from all school rugby anywhere in South Africa, for a period of four years.

Assistant coaches or team biokineticists are seemingly permitted to run up and down the touchline, shouting orders and remonstrating with referees about decisions. Often screaming at the referee in an attempt to suggest or demand decisions go the way of their team. This often fuels parents and spectators on the side of the field. There has been so much said about this, and the modern scenario has created chaos, especially in the professional domain. That has now more than consumed the same space in school sport. It is apparent that we now seem to ‘accept’ verbal abuse from spectators (and coaches), towards officials and players. When did winning become this important in school fixtures? How naive a question is that to ask, when we have 25 000 spectators watching school derby fixtures. The irony of course, is that at those schools, the behaviour on the sides of the fields is probably a lot better (I am hoping), because the sporting and school cultures attached to those particular schools.

You also hear more and more stories about parents questioning tactics and team selections. This was an absolutely alien concept 20 years ago. These days, you can witness unacceptable behaviour by spectators and coaches at any school fixture. When you combine all these scenarios, you find that we create a very unhealthy and significant pressure around school sport. That’s when we see coaches and players lose focus; even more so (possibly) when the coaches are not educators. Scrolling through social media platforms, reveals how common this is in our country. There are though, equally, a vast number of posts from schools requesting appropriate behaviour on the sides of the fields. However, the real solution is not to try to stem the consequences, but rather look closer at the culture that allows this type behaviour to manifest.

Over the last two decades, I have had the privilege to spend a lot of time with Greg Wilmot, a psychologist who is also employed by one of our local schools in that capacity as well. Greg has a passion for sport in general. He recently alluded to the fact that we are now in a world, where schools need to create a ‘Spectator/ Visitor Policy’ with regards to behaviour at festivals and matches and then hold the parents (and coaches) accountable to a much higher standard. He has written a great deal about this change in school sport. Please refer to his website for the various papers/ articles that he has written (https://wilmotpsychology.co.za).

https://wilmotpsychology.co.za/navigating-the-professionalisation-of-school-sport-in-south-africa/

He investigated the idea of ‘Professionalisation of School Sport’ which hasn’t had much research up to now. The ‘professionalisation’ leads to both positive and negative outcomes – but he asks a massive question as a result: Who is addressing how this is managed? His articles raise so many questions about this process and he calls for much more research to be done. He refers to an environment where we are creating unfair scenarios on learners and parents – and create huge expectation from players and teams:

 “We are ‘priming’ boys in high performance matches leads to aggression bursting out needs to be looked at. This is worsened when ‘win at all costs’ meets adolescent fear-of-failure and poor emotional regulation…

 

…we usually expect great things from ‘professional’ athletes but we also, wrongly, expect ‘professional’ performances from “talented” school-level athletes. This projection of expectations onto young athletes is fraught with danger and happens all too often in South African school sport. We expect greatness from those carrying our own hopes, dreams and ambitions but don’t consider the potential impact of our expectations. A host of recent Sport Psychology research tells us that the “motivational climate” we construct as parents, coaches and schools has a large role to play in determining our attitudes towards sport and exercise. Sport is a common language that transcends boundaries, barriers and backgrounds but how we as South Africans talk about sport and sporting success or failure will contribute greatly to both adult’s and children’s attitudes and beliefs about sport.”

 

Greg refers to the professionalisation of school sport as “runaway freight train”, which is such a brilliant analogy. Nobody can stop this process, and we seem to have lost all control. Everybody is well aware of the changes, which possibly started with ranking systems, then moved to live coverage of school sport on streaming and television channels. We have also seen a major growth in what Greg calls “The ‘trading’ and ‘poaching’ of school-aged sportsmen.”  School sport has seen a huge leap forwards in highly specialized training and coaching, and with that has come the ‘over investment’ from parents and spectators. We have seen the career option of sport become a bigger reality but we have also clearly seen the overemphasis on First Team results and performances rise significantly. Profoundly, Greg’s most significant conclusion in a way forward is to highlight one major flaw in the current school systems with regards to this growth/ change:

 

“Just as we increase training, funding, tactics, equipment and facilities to improve a player’s on-field performance, we also need to increase the quality and care given to young sportsmen and women such that they can cope with increased pressure and performance demands both on and off the field. This does not require that each school has its own Sport Psychologist or that every player should be seeing the school Counsellor but rather that we are both sensitive to the wellness and needs of young sportsmen and women and that appropriate support systems and referral networks are in place as and when the need arises. coaches, teachers and parents should be consistently attuned to the subjective wellness of athletes in their care so that a well-timed and appropriate intervention can be implemented. Often, such an intervention might be a casual conversation on the side of the field.”

 

Somewhere there, schools are possibly missing the role of education and well-being of the learner in this process. But even more so, maybe we are losing the emphasis always being placed on morals, values and culture – ahead of the results. Some schools have possibly managed to keep these all in balance, where maybe others have completely lost the plot. The obvious statement, is that we can all do more, and desperately need to do more. Otherwise that freight train is going to do irreparable damage to the culture within our schools and around the sports fields. Hopefully, each school around the country is urgently addressing this as we enter an emotionally charged Winter sport season in South Africa. Hopefully, schools can make a stand and state what is acceptable on their fields, and what isnt.

Leave a Reply

42 Comments

  1. avatar
    #42 Grasshopper

    Off topic, let’s create an old model C English Speaking Gov school league, round robin;

    Western Cape (3 teams)
    Wynberg
    SACS
    Rondebosch

    Eastern Cape & Border (5 teams)
    Grey PE
    Dale College
    Queens College
    Graeme College
    Selborne College

    KZN (5 teams)
    Glenwood
    DHS
    Maritzburg College
    Northwood
    Westville

    Jozi/Noordvaal (4 teams)
    Jeppe
    KES
    PBHS
    Parktown

    17 teams, so 16 games. BOOM for me. English only posts on here ;-)

    ReplyReply
    19 April, 2024 at 19:20
  2. avatar
    #41 Kantman

    @Tang (Comment #39)
    I want to start by saying I respect you for your contributions. In the spirit of discovery then:
    Let’s agree professional is when you get paid. But kids not 18 yet cannot get paid, therefore it would go to parents. Then it applies if parents get paid (1). Parents should not receive any payment in my opinion.
    Bursaries in any form cannot be professional then (2). This is as old as the mountains practice to support less fortunate with talent. If there is a contract with specific performance I would agree – this should be frowned upon.
    Sponsorships or any other form of funding that schools can secure should be applauded (3).
    I think it is elite schools with endowments that cannot handle this – grossly unfair to keep the newcomers out. Unfair also to criticize schools on the way they reward sponsors that are willing to engage with schools and sport.
    On rankings we agree – if it drives the school’s decision making it is wrong.
    I will keep coaching for another post

    ReplyReply
    19 April, 2024 at 18:52
  3. avatar
    #40 Grasshopper

    @Tang (Comment #39)
    Spot on again! My issue with professional coaches is they don’t see the childs bigger picture, in terms of academics, mental health etc. This is why teacher coaches were so good, they were there to coach boys about life in general. I learnt a huge amount from my coaches and why Toppy Hortop at Glenwood is such a legend, he mentored many boys over the years and is still friends with most of them. This is the sort of ethos I would love to continue at school BUT that horse has now bolted. In terms of sponsorship, I think to fund the scrum machines etc, that is fine BUT not the jersey. I’ve heard figures of up to R2m a year for some of these coaches and Directors of Rugby, just nuts. So if you have a few of them the bill gets pretty big. I mean proper qualified teachers are paid a pittance, rather pay them more and focus on the rounded individual. Unfortunately the current situation does mean the schools who can find the most money will perform best in sport, so there will be a cream of 20 schools above all others. I have always loved PBHS’s stance but I feel they may lose the traditional fixtures if the gulf widens, although your U14s look pretty good this year. These are children and there has to be some boundaries. I even heard a player getting a car, free flights, pocket money etc to keep them at the school….shocking…

    ReplyReply
    19 April, 2024 at 11:00
  4. avatar
    #39 Tang

    @Kantman (Comment #37)
    @Kantman – I am not 100% sure what the definition is. Professional sport is defined as sport where participants receive payment for their performance. If the Bulls or the Lions pay a school boy and he plays rugby for them, he is a professional. If a school uses a fund or a bursary scheme or a marketing project to secure talent and the boys play and perform for them, they are professional. I think you would agree with me based on your post. If parents pay the full school fees, the child is not a professional. He is attending school to get an education he is not playing rugby for a school in exchange for a bursary or a scholarship.

    On the question of sponsorship, I think the matter is a little murky. If a school is amateur and plays friendly fixtures, why are sponsors necessary? If the parents are paying the fees, buying the clothing and the kit, there is no need for a sponsor. Sponsors and sponsorships are a clear indication of the need for funds. Maybe you can explain why a school would sell a first team jersey in exchange for money. Why is advertising needed at a school boy rugby fixture?

    On the issue of coaching, I agree with you up to a point. Rugby has become more technical and the need for specialist coaching is required. School masters may not have the skills to coach proficiently. How many paid coaches are required? When a school has a paid first team forwards coach, backline coach, conditioning coach, doctor, biokineticist, etc. Don’t you think this is becoming unreasonable and would require sponsorship to cover the costs?

    I would hate to see school boy rugby come down to a few wealthy schools who have the means to be the most professional. That is where the freight train is headed.

    ReplyReply
    19 April, 2024 at 10:10
  5. avatar
    #38 Tang

    @Grasshopper (Comment #36)
    @Grasshopper – you make a very important point and one I think has had a huge and probably unexpected effect on school boy rugby. When rugby turned pro in South Africa, the provinces realised they had to secure talent. Offering school boys contracts and then paying for their education started to become the norm. In the early 2000’s this caused a seismic shift in how some schools started to perform. Garsies probably being one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Bulls buying school boy talent. Once schools saw how easy it was to secure talent, a war began. As you correctly point out, schools started to use any mechanism to secure talent. OB’s paying for school fees, bursary funds used to secure talent, etc. etc. The freight train was gaining momentum from around 2001/ 2002. With no controls and no consequences, why stop? If you can get away with a seemingly legal practice and bolster your school image, why is there any incentive to stop? The ranking system has taken traditional, friendly encounters and turned them into win at all cost encounters. The chances of a non-professional school set up beating a professional / semi-professional school set up are becoming less and less likely. The lopsided nature of results over the last 15 to 20 years will fully support my views.

    ReplyReply
    19 April, 2024 at 09:40
  6. avatar
    #37 Kantman

    @Tang (Comment #33)
    I am really interested in what constitutes Professional setup – maybe we can agree a definition then? Coaches are already paid pretty much across the country – you mention same for PBHS. That leaves the players … and there I know plenty of parents who pay the full fees and tournaments for their often highly rated boys.
    No need to drag sponsors in unless they are directly involved with players?

    ReplyReply
    18 April, 2024 at 17:54
  7. avatar
    #36 Grasshopper

    @Tang (Comment #35)
    Spot on! Schools will never have a dedicated line item for rugby funding, it will always be a hidden cost OR not disclosed at all. What stops any old boy agreeing with a parent to pay a kids school fees for them by transferring money to them every month. This is happening. OR a sponsor saying we will loan this kids family a car. The wealthier and more bought in the OBs the more this will happen. Unfortunately for PBHS and others the horse has bolted, it’s a complete free for all now. The provincial teams can even pay the schools to keep ‘prospects’ in the province. It a very sad state of affairs where there isn’t a real allegiance to a school any longer and kids can just move about where the biggest tickets are offered…

    ReplyReply
    18 April, 2024 at 16:34
  8. avatar
    #35 Tang

    @Ringo (Comment #34)
    @Ringo You are right, PBHS have been very fortunate with a high level of parents who pay fees on time and in full. PBHS may have a sizeable budget for sport but that is largely around away fixtures and the payment of coaching staff.

    The only way to create a proper baseline for the discussion is to figure out how much each school spends directly on rugby as a % of total income or total expenditure. I have looked over the PBHS financials and I see no direct line item for rugby expenses. I must also say that the Pretoria Trust offers bursaries (in a very similar fashion to the TJ Fund). However, PBHS don’t prioritize sport as the major reason for giving the bursary. In other words, the bursary isn’t given for the glory of the school but rather for the boy to benefit from attending PBHS. I have no doubt there are many success stories from the TJ Fund.

    I think back to the Jeppe First teams from around 2013 and there was a clear trajectory of increasing professionalism. I think the 2014 side had Simelane, Green and Dayimani (plus there were several others being funded by old boys). I know Denzil Hill and Jethro De Lange were funded by old boys. If there are five to six boys per year brought in for rugby, it means the first team has 66% of the players on bursaries. Jeppe vs PBHS has always been close but since 2013 and the increasing level of professionalism, the results have been heavily in favour of Jeppe.
    In my view the fixture is no longer a competition. As Wanza_15 said., “we expect nothing less than a clear win”. There is a difference between what Jeppe leadership and PBHS leadership find acceptable on the field. PBHS would find advertising on the school first team rugby jersey unacceptable. I have always thought the Jeppe hoops were amongst the finest jersies in all of school rugby. When I look at a Jeppe jersey now all I see is Teljoy (even the 2nd fifteen has Teljoy).

    Good luck at Affies this weekend. I think Jeppe have a real chance of a victory. Ringo – thank you for always being a gentlemen in your responses to my posts. I am a huge believer in the power of school sport. I am, however, very concerned by the unchecked professionalism. Where does it all end?

    ReplyReply
    17 April, 2024 at 19:01
  9. avatar
    #34 Ringo

    @Tang (Comment #33)
    SARU are greatful for the professionalism and SA rugby benefits immensely especially as schools always expand the reach of rugby as they pursue athletes to bolster teams …. I know Safa would cut off their right arms for a similar schools’ soccer setup…. I once worked on a project that looked into the decrepency in school finances for the Gauteng department of education and the reason why Boys High does not need sponsorship is that between them and KES are the two richest public schools in Gauteng …. I think when we looked into the books at the time these two schools had more money than the next ten schools on the rich list ….. So a school like Jeppe with its so-called professional Teljoy set-up still does not spend as much as PTA boy high does on its rugby and that is a fact….. a public schools financials statements are publicly available document and any member of the public can request them. There is nothing amateur about the extra-curricular budget at PTA boys high

    ReplyReply
    14 April, 2024 at 17:59
  10. avatar
    #33 Tang

    @Kaya I think Van Mollendorf is clear in his last paragraph. “Otherwise that freight train is going to do irreparable damage to the culture within our schools and around the sports fields”. He asks for schools to address the needs of boys playing in professional set ups and he asks for schools to take a stance and define what is acceptable on their fields.

    I also think it’s high time we start to call schools by their professional names. Just as we call the Lions the Emirates Lions, we should start to call schools by their pro names. Here are a few examples:
    Afgri Affies
    Afgri Paarl Gim
    Suzuki Westville
    Teljoy Jeppe
    Powerflow Paarl Boys High School (I think HJS could have two sponsors).

    Once BoysHighPa acknowledges this in his rankings, we can have a new classification of school called: Professional! At least then when a pro school plays an amateur school, you can have a sense of reality.
    Perhaps some of the over enthusiastic commentators on SuperSport Schools can also get the memo on some schools being more professional whilst others chose to remain amateur

    ReplyReply
    14 April, 2024 at 17:40
  11. avatar
    #32 Smallies

    @Kantman (Comment #31)
    Stem saam ,maar n goeie onderwyser besit die vermoë om die potensiaal van n leerder te ontsluit ,n goeie onnie is baie maal die verskil tussen onderskyding en n B gemiddeld ,n goeie onnie is in baie gevalle ook die verskil tussen deurkom en druip …

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 20:53
  12. avatar
    #31 Kantman

    @Smallies (Comment #29)
    Teachers are important, but only up to 15% (3-14% if I remember study correctly). The ability of the student is most important.

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 20:43
  13. avatar
    #30 Grasshopper

    @Smallies (Comment #29)
    Spot on!

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:34
  14. avatar
    #29 Smallies

    @Grasshopper (Comment #26)
    The quality of the teacher is in any case the most important factor

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:24
  15. avatar
    #28 Smallies

    @Grasshopper (Comment #26)
    Were obviously not speaking about kids who scraped through gr12 here ,I actually used a big word exell…

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:20
  16. avatar
    #27 Grasshopper

    @Smallies (Comment #25)
    Well done to your daughter, the level of the student is different to the level of the exam. That is why you see like a gazillion A’s now in Gov schools, because it’s easy to pass.

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:15
  17. avatar
    #26 Grasshopper

    @Smallies (Comment #24)
    No durr boet, but the standard to pass is still different. University standards differ too. Anyway, as I’ve said not for a rugby blog. My point was about looking after rugby players after school, not the best currently….SA should be dominating internationals at U19/U20/21 etc but don’t….

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:13
  18. avatar
    #25 Smallies

    @Grasshopper (Comment #22)
    My daughter (NSC) and her friend (IEB) are both currently in their final year of studies, same varsity, same degree….my daughter is outscoring her friend by about 10% in every subject

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:13
  19. avatar
    #24 Smallies

    @Grasshopper (Comment #22)
    Studies have actually shown that from varsity onwards there are virtually no difference between those with an NSC and an IEB certificate…also 1+1=2 whether its asked in a NSC exam or an IEB exam….same with the laws of physics

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:09
  20. avatar
    #23 Grasshopper

    @Grant (Comment #21)
    No it doesn’t, I’ve hired quite a few on NSC who got A’s but can’t do the basics. I don’t care about your opinion, it means nothing to me. Byeee!

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:06
  21. avatar
    #22 Grasshopper

    @Smallies (Comment #20)
    It’s not but as I said I’ll leave it there, the standards in SA have dropped massively.

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 19:05
  22. avatar
    #21 Grant

    @Grasshopper (Comment #19)
    Boet. FFS. Are you still banging the same drum after 10-15 years. Well done for your success and moving to the UK. We are very happy here in the “slums” of RSA. And as Smallies and others correctly pointed out: at the end of the day a NSC in the hands of a top student means EXACTLY the same as an IEB certificate. Jog on. Locust. 🤫🤫🙄🙄🤌🏻🤌🏻

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 18:22
  23. avatar
    #20 Smallies

    @Grasshopper (Comment #19)
    Maths is Maths,science is science ,biologie is biologie and book keeping is book keeping it makes no difference whether its NSC or IEB .
    If someone excels at those subjects they will excel in both systems …
    And once they hit varsity it actually makes no difference …

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 14:27
  24. avatar
    #19 Grasshopper

    @BoishaaiPa (Comment #16)
    Mate, I agree with you. Not sure those NSC matric certificates are helping anyone but that is for another debate. I love the passion and focus of SA school rugby, just think it should be the same at club level. Win at all cost is not great, there needs to be credit given to ‘home-grown’ teams. I liked the stat the other day when it said Affies and Helpies had 100% boys from grade 8. Also, a focus on the lower teams, Get the 1st team to clap on the U14Gs. Re parents, yes there have been nutters for centuries, that won’t change. Personally I think sponsorship and televising games have gone too far, BUT I’m old school. These are just school boys in the end, not professional sportsman. I don’t like the Man of the Match getting a cheque! Who uses cheques these days ;-)

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 14:03
  25. avatar
    #18 Mate

    @Email Received (Comment #17)

    What do you think of the Paarl Gim maul?

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 12:46
  26. avatar
    #17 Email Received

    This article is hilarious in the context of Graeme College’s field set up. For years they haven’t had barriers around their fields and have been happy for their parents / spectators to mill around the touch lines and interact (or should I say abuse) staff from visiting schools.
    I heard SARU are insisting that charges be laid against the supporter who hit the Kingswood boy, but it seems like the schools are trying to bury it. Disappointing.

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 12:33
  27. avatar
    #16 BoishaaiPa

    @Grasshopper (Comment #15) The good thing is that these schools still produce more professionals in the fields of Engineering, Science, Medicine, IT etc than rugby players, so I don’t know what the concern suddenly is around sport becoming more focused as well. There is a much smaller window of oppertunity to become a professional at sport and if the school can assist in helping these individuals live their dream as well its all for the better. Crowd behaviour and Parent behaviour has not changed because of a winning mentality. I have seen the same things 40 years ago next to rugby fields. As Rainier mentioned, its not something new, just getting more “out there” because of social media and more platforms providing info on schools rugby. You will always get the idiots who cannot behave themselves and are to invested in a game and you will always get parents to involved in their sons’ rugby! That is a given, but for most part they are a very small minority and most schools handles these situations well. As for equiping the kids with mental skills to cope with the pressures the coaches are also doing their bit to help develop them for real life scenarios, where it is not always just friendly competition!

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 11:33
  28. avatar
    #15 Grasshopper

    @Rainier (Comment #14)
    Which feeds into pro rugby, anyway…

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 10:52
  29. avatar
    #14 Rainier

    @Grasshopper (Comment #13)

    But the article laments the status quo in school rugby.

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 10:11
  30. avatar
    #13 Grasshopper

    @Rainier (Comment #12)
    Dude, 500 odd professional rugby players isn’t exactly a huge percentage in terms of post school jobs and the career is super short, 15 years or so. SA Schools rugby is good but there is a serious drop off after school. SA Schools ranked as low as 50th in SA can beat the best in most other countries, what goes wrong after school because suddenly the other countries U19/U20/U21 are competitive. Literally if Grey represented SA at U20 level they would do better than the Bok U20 side. Either players are not playing after school, left the country or the wrong ones are being picked. Based on the performance of SA schools the Boks U20 should never lose, ever. In fact they should win every game by more than 30. Something is not right after school. In Ireland they focus on 18-23 and getting it right there….

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 09:56
  31. avatar
    #12 Rainier

    All this navel gazing and hand wringing about the state of rugby in our schools is much ado about nothing.

    Parents acting like arseholes and coaches trying to get an edge is as old as the mountains – the only thing that has changed is social media.

    30 years ago if Pietie headbutted an opponent like the KW boy he might also have received a PK, but there would have been no video. It would have been an isolated incident, like this one, the schools would have handled it and nobody outside of the Eastern Cape would ever hear about it.

    Looking at the amount of SA players making a living playing overseas we should make rugby a subject in school…

    ReplyReply
    8 April, 2024 at 08:19
  32. avatar
    #11 Kaya 85

    Although if u read Wilmot’s articles it looks like he wants to make out as if school sports in SA is a supposedly ‘colonial’ project in need of overthrowing and/or de-colonizing. Van Mollendorf highlights some practical matters which schools would be able to address with some willpower, but not sure what outcome Wilmot is calling foe.

    ReplyReply
    7 April, 2024 at 13:24
  33. avatar
    #10 Kaya 85

    Can’t disagree. It gets too much.

    ReplyReply
    7 April, 2024 at 13:12
  34. avatar
    #9 Grasshopper

    Excellent article and why I love the UK system so much, at schools they promote multiple sports and no huge pressure to win at all costs. They have 2 or 3 teams per age group and probably play 10 games a year. What is frustrating is the lack of war cries and passion for your school and badge BUT that changes at club. To really focus on a sport, you have to be in a club here and they are strictly managed, no parental influence and you pay to be in the club. My daughter is in the county netball team and a strong club, the passion comes there. What the SA system does is focus the glory at a level too low, club rugby is where it should be to retain those school heroes who go from playing in front of 10,000 people in matric to maybe 100 at club/varsity level. Kids develop at different rates so to get serious too young isn’t good. In my daughters case if she doesn’t ‘make it’ at club level she still has school sport to fall back on, play and improve, to maybe go back to club.

    ReplyReply
    7 April, 2024 at 09:35
  35. avatar
    #8 Griffin

    Very good article. We are definitely at the point where time and resources need to be put into managing this beast, both to parents and visitors through the schools, as well as directly to the players.
    The point around the team bio and or fitness coach – whomever it might be – running up and down the sidelines influencing the match officials is a big one. I’ve seen this far too often. But I am sure I read somewhere that one of the new regulations schoolboy rugby this season was that this was no longer going to be allowed, along with technical areas for coaches no longer allowed to be behind the posts? I see nothing of this happening.
    Does anyone know why this is not being enforced?

    ReplyReply
    7 April, 2024 at 09:25
  36. avatar
    #7 KatzRugga

    PART OF IT ONCE COMMITTED

    This article is such an important read for all parents before they choose High school for their kids. Once You have choosen a tier 1 sports school this is a part of the packet for 99% of the kids, especially if a bursary has been accepted by mum and dad.
    ReplyReply
    7 April, 2024 at 06:40
  37. avatar
    #6 Kantman

    @Smallies (Comment #5)
    100

    ReplyReply
    6 April, 2024 at 21:07
  38. avatar
    #5 Smallies

    Ouers moet ondersteun
    Afrigters moet afrig
    Revs moet die game beheer
    En die seuns moet speel
    Die rolle is nie interchangeable nie …..
    Veral nie vir ouers nie ,jy maak net jou seun se naam gat as jy die shit try wees langs die veld….

    ReplyReply
    6 April, 2024 at 21:05
  39. avatar
    #4 beet

    Agreed excellent read and food for thought.

    ReplyReply
    6 April, 2024 at 20:30
  40. avatar
    #3 agter_die_pale_pa

    Had this very discussion with friends during the week. We are feeding a beast that will not be going away.. and our DNA is making us do it. Will not change.
    Should professionalism and schoolsport ever be mentioned in the same breath? Perhaps not, but it has happened… and it comes with costs.
    Can we turn it around? I am afraid we are already there.

    ReplyReply
    6 April, 2024 at 19:47
  41. avatar
    #2 KatzRugga

    Great read. It’s gone too far already!

    ReplyReply
    6 April, 2024 at 19:40
  42. avatar
    #1 Kantman

    True. Think, discuss and apply.

    ReplyReply
    6 April, 2024 at 19:25

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