High Notes, Vol 16 No 39, December 04 2015

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From the Principal

High Talent
Congratulations to Oscar Dumas (Year 9) for his first prize in the Alliance Française de Sydney competition for native speakers.

Boys in Years 7 - 9 should have brought home their reports. Parents need to remind their sons to show them their reports. Soft copies of the reports are put online once the report discussion period with the Principal concludes. The reports of boys with uncollected reports are not put up on line until after they have discussed them with the Principal. It is getting very late in the year for some of these reports still to be uncollected.

Summer Sports Assembly 2015
Sandon Stolle, son of Aussie tennis legend Fred, spoke of his own successful career in tennis and of the life lessons that participation in school sport had given him. He currently works with aspiring young tennis players to transition into college tennis programs in the USA.  He attributes his success to the great coaches who saw something in him and responded to it and to the opportunities he was lucky enough to be offered. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Special guest Sandon Stolle, coaches, parents, staff, GPS teams and students, welcome to our annual summer sports assembly.

"Tennis at High is building momentum after its strong showing in the GPS competition last season. Head Coach David Deep is building a strong culture dedicated to improved performance. Pat Rynsaardt (SHS 2013) is doing a good job with second grade and junior teams. I want to thank Paul Wright for his years of service to the school as MIC of tennis.  He was very conscientious and caring in his role. Thank you to Matt Cotton for his efforts as MIC this term. Thank you to Lixia Song and Joyce O’Sullivan for their efforts in organising parent support for the parking days and to the Year 7 parents for their help.

"Basketball continues to be the largest program in summer, headed up by MIC and First V coach, Ben Hayman. He is ably supported by coaches Tom Neal, Tim Seccombe and Richie Gerard. The Basketball coaching staff is extensive and supported by staff members. The Basketball Committee members give a lot of time to the program. Thank you to Shiraz Biscevic (SHS 2010) as the Chairperson, Nima Sedaghat (SHS 2004) as Treasurer and Peter Jeffery as Secretary. Madura Perera coordinates a big parking allocation. Thank you also to the many families supporting basketball, particularly the Udler, Menzel and Merrick families.

"Swimming had a good season last summer and under the guidance of our long term MIC Peter Loizou, looks set to improve again in the upcoming season, particularly in the senior division. Great student support at the GPS Carnival was much appreciated.

"Water polo has become a higher profile sport at High in the last two seasons. Our depth is producing better quality results across the age groups. Thank you to Katie Barton, our new MIC water polo for her efforts with our improving water polo teams this year and to Head Coach Harrison Pullinger and Assistant coaches Ned Anson (SHS 2014), Jonathan Chew and Lachlan Reid.

"High cricket is a developing program. I am grateful for the energetic work of MIC Geoff Tesoriero and 1st XI coach, Andrew Walters. Thanks are extended to Hugh McDonald and Michael Clarebrough for their work with the 2nd XI. Thank you to our Cricket Committee President Seetaram Nagendra for all his organisational work and to 1st and 2nd XI parents for their catering assistance at fixtures. Keith Saunders has again been very active managing the COLA nets hiring to bring substantial funds to the cricket budget

"Sailing has developed strongly in both the fleet racing and teams racing formats. Having negotiated a new deal to store three Pacer dinghies at Woollahra Sailing Club, our program is more flexible, allowing Saturday morning and afternoon sailing to be based at two venues. Thank you again to the South family – Adam as Head Coach, Nicola as coach and Marika as MIC. A special thank you to long serving MIC and sailing program teacher, Graham Moody, who is retiring. His years of service to our students will be remembered.

"After the result of the recent rugby world cup I reflected on the importance of cultural coaching in team success. There are, as I see it, two major challenges facing a coach of a sporting team.  First, how can an optimistic culture be nurtured to prepare my team for winning?  Second, how will I bring out the best performance of every team member?  The most successful international team in the world, the All Blacks, have addressed these fundamental issues annually so as not to allow complacency, to weaken future performances. They intercept entropy by innovating annually. They use metaphors, stories and aphorisms to nurture the culture. ‘When you’re on top of your game, change your game’. ‘If you’re not growing somewhere, you’re not going anywhere’. Don’t let the music die.’ They produce mighty icons of the game like the late Jonah Lomu and retired greats Dan Carter and Richie McCaw who fuel the fires of tradition with their great legacies.

"To address the issue of a positive culture, coaches try to develop a sense of unity, of interdependency, by using bonding activities.  Great performance stems from team capabilities and team behaviours.  The All Blacks have developed a sense of stewardship of their cultural legacy.  They have integrated Maori notions around ‘whakairo’ (carvings) commemorating ancestral deeds depicting ‘mana’ (underlying spiritual goal) of authority and prestige.  The All Blacks have the strong sense of collaboration, connection and communion.  They use storytelling to frame their cultural context. It is raised to a spiritual level and becomes part of a belief system for individuals and the team. It seems that the more you have to play for, the better you will play.

"Getting the most out of individuals requires getting them to buy into the purpose and the program.  Once that is established coaches work on mastery of small things first.  Sean Fitzpatrick, the great All Black captain, felt that the key to team success was modest improvement, consistently done.  For management guru Tom Peters, success is ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’.  Phil Jackson of the Chicago Bulls used the Rudyard Kipling allusion ‘the strength of the wolf is in the pack’ to build ‘group mind’ or oneness in his teams.

"As the saying goes, ‘there’s no I in team’.  To get the most out of their players, coaches have to get their players to think as a team and not about their individual performances or ego-driven reputations.  Coaches have to create an environment where individuals can develop their skills, their knowledge and their character.  Our deep belief in the value of team sports at High is a reflection of our understanding of the pedagogical power of learning how to work with others and how to surrender to the talents and skills of others.  We can improve our results in competitive situations if we can improve our culture.  We will improve our culture when each and every boy understands what teams are and why we join them.

"I congratulate all those boys chosen in teams and honoured here today and exhort them to reflect on the importance of what they are joining."
Dr K A Jaggar

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