Principal's Address: Winter Sports Assembly 2011

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Principal's Address
Sydney Boys High School
Winter Sports Assembly
Held on 3 June 2011

Special guest Mr Maxfield, players, coaches, staff, parents, students – welcome to our Winter sports assembly for 2011. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land where we gather, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay our respects to them and their elders past and present, and to any Aboriginal people here today.

The culture shift to logging in strength and conditioning and the 'three training sessions’ policy that I spoke about last year, is not yet fully embedded in our Senior School. Preseason preparation by our senior rugby squad was poor, with no more than seven or eight of our players fully prepared, as revealed by an analysis of the logging records. Consequently, we have suffered a high percentage of trial season injuries, but not so among the prepared players. School policy is that three training sessions per week must be completed for selection in A or B GPS teams and are recommended for C teams. We insist that first and second grade players in Football or Rugby take personal responsibility for adequate physical preparation, by logging for strength and endurance and sprint training sessions.

Our winter sports are popular in 2011 but once again I find myself lamenting the reduced numbers of rugby players in the school. We need more balance in sports participation to fulfil our commitments as an AAGPS member. I exhort parents to let their sons grow and be themselves. If they want to play rugby – let them. Other high achieving schools have 4 or 5 opens teams, we should too. The time they spend training and playing is far from wasted. They might well be learning more valuable life skills than they will in the classroom. I urge boys to value the first or second XV jumper more. Prepare yourselves and show your grit as you face the challenge of full second grade GPS competition. It will be tough but if you concentrate on your basics and play to the strengths and limitations you have, then you can have an enjoyable season. More importantly, you are all making a statement about High rugby – we are playing the game and we are in the competition. Nevertheless, I have a duty of care towards you. If I lose confidence in your preparation as a means of self-protection, then your participation in the competition is in jeopardy. Please do what is asked of you as a whole squad! Thank you as always to Geoff Stein for his commitment to the administration of the sport and to the energetic Rugby Committee for their unflagging optimism and belief in rugby as a sport and character-building endeavour.

Association Football is our most popular winter sport. Perhaps for the last time, thank you to Richard Gifford for his efficient administration of the sport and for his recruitment and management of coaches. Mehdi Hazrati has brought structure, self-confidence, discipline and passion to the first grade squad. I foresee a competitive season ahead. Thank you also to Matt Mulroney for his input into the program as second XI coach and for his junior development efforts. Football is no longer lagging so much behind in physical preparation, but more needs to be done to make both our major winter sports equally tough options. It’s heartening to see that a Football Committee is functioning again. Partnerships with parents make so much of a difference to the engagement of families with the sport.

Volleyball is very successful thanks to the discipline of the boys and the management of Michael Kay, Paul Ganderton and Marina Trompetter. Full GPS status for volleyball is just around the corner and other GPS schools, particularly SGS and SIC, are growing stronger. Thank you to Cathy Meaney, the SBHS Rifle Committee and the Sydney High Rifle Club Inc for the continued successful development of the target rifle shooting program. We have high hopes for the team this year. Cross country running has attracted larger numbers this season. Thank you to Ms Dam and her staff for their seamless operation of this sport. Fencing has moved into its new home in the Casey COLA. Thank you to Jenni May for her leadership in developing fencing at High. Well done also to the Fencing Committee for getting together and planning for the future of their sport.

In sport, as in life, it is necessary to set yourself goals. One longitudinal study of university undergraduates found that only 3% of the sample had any form of written goals. Twenty years later that same 3% were worth more financially that the other 97% put together! The study’s finding reinforce the idea that the act of setting a goal and the commitment shown by writing it down, unlocks our creative resources and commences the process of bringing the goal to fruition. Top sports people are persistent goal setters, with strong personal motivation and a desire for personal achievement and success. Last year’s guest speaker at this assembly, Ewan MacKenzie, had a goal to lift the Queensland Reds out of their slump. Hasn’t he achieved his goal!

People need a process to set goals well. Without goals we just react to external events and people, rather than act, guided by our own decisions and purposes. Think about what you want most to be like or to do in life. ‘Being goals’ include: building greater self-confidence, concentration, perseverance, patience, intrinsic motivation, tenacity, optimism, commitment and better organisation. In order for things to change for you, you have to change things. That’s when ‘doing goals’ are valuable. These goals can be simple and practical – reducing your 1.6k time by 30 seconds, gaining selection in the 15As or not missing a training session. We all feel better when we set, test ourselves and achieve goals!

Our winter sport is strong at High. We stand up and take on the competition, no matter what. We relish the struggle. That need to struggle has been our history, is our present and will be our future. Congratulations to all boys selected in GPS teams this season.