Principal's Address: Summer Sports Assembly Term 4 2011

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Principal's Address
Sydney Boys High School
Summer Sports Assembly
Held on 12 October 2011

Special guest Jack Manning Bancroft, coaches, staff, GPS sports teams, parents and students – welcome to the 2011 October Summer Sports Assembly. This morning’s first summer sports assembly is held annually to introduce and congratulate the teams who have GPS competition in term 4 – basketball, cricket and water polo.

The cricket program has been revitalised for the commencement of the 2011-2012 season. . The GPS Heads agreed to a radical approach to cricket this season, mixing 20/20, one day and two-day games in an exciting new competition format. We believe it will give an opportunity for a variety of skills to be demonstrated by players and teams. The best and most versatile cricket team should win. The cricket nets have had a major refurbishment, with lights being added, ready for community hiring. I want to thank David Smith for his work this year as MIC cricket. He brought fresh ideas to the administration of the game. This season, Old Boys Hugo Richards and Siva Valliapan have taken on roles as Co-MICs. I am confident that they will be well supported and will get on top of the complex administration of the sport. I wish them well in their roles. We have gone for a Coaching Director model with Barry Davison taking a lead role in designing and implementing coaching programs and working with the coaches of all teams. Laurie Heil has taken on the second XI again. The preseason preparation this year included a Brisbane tour. The boys seem ready to play. Good luck to Jesse and his team.

Water Polo is maintaining a strong program this year. Rhiannon Davis has taken over from new mum, Taryn Evans and has some fresh ideas about accessing venues and increasing training opportunities. It is a great sport for GPS swimmers. We value our continuing relationship with Sydney University Sports and its expert coaches.

Our basketball program has evolved into one of the highest quality school programs that any schoolboy sportsman could wish for. The facilities are good, the coaches skilled and enthusiastic and the pool of players, talented. Success this year at GPS, CHS Knockout and All-Schools has imbued the team with great self-belief, discipline and cohesion. These qualities enable them to overcome opponents with more raw talent and greater size. Their term four objectives are to start well in two tough away games at Scots and Newington and to win back-to-back Australian Schools tournaments in December. With three of the top ten school teams in the country playing in the GPS competition, there are tough challenges ahead. I want to acknowledge the dedication of Ben Hayman as Coaching Coordinator, MIC and first grade coach; Alex Hayman as Assistant first grade coach and Junior Development Coordinator; and the Basketball Committee. We welcome to High as second grade coach Reg Day. Good luck to Craig and his team in first grade and co-captains Nick and Shuming and second grade. I am confident that another successful season lies ahead.

Coaches and players are in a constant search for improved sports performance. One way to do this is to develop what is called ‘sensory behavioural flexibility’. We all have ten senses – five external and five internal. Typically, external sights, sounds and feelings, get jumbled up with our internal dialogue of imagined sights, self-talk and feelings. The result is that the quality of our external sensory perception is compromised. However, good competitors find a way to cut out or control any interference which distorts sensory input. If you can “clean out your head” and remove internally generated interference and static, your coordination and sports performance will improve.

Neurologically, the brain does not distinguish between real and imagined experience. It cannot clearly assimilate internal and external sensory input simultaneously. Both are interpreted ambiguously. To perform well at sport you need to be 100% in external sensory awareness. Some sports have regular breaks in the action – such as cricket, tennis, water polo and basketball. In these moments between action, self-recriminations for bad shots, being hit for six or missing a basket, shot for goal, pass or rebound, or losing possession of the ball, may distract you with negative internal input. You blame yourself and lose confidence in your ability and even feel embarrassed in front of your team mates. That’s when you need personal control of the mode of sensory awareness – you need a rehearsed physical trigger to refocus your mind on the game.

I urge boys in competitive situations to learn how to ‘clear out their heads’ to enhance subsequent personal and team performances. Congratulations to all boys selected in GPS competition teams. Good luck for the season.