Living our School Vision

“Creating Confident Learners who like Jesus make a positive difference” in the context of Team Sports


Our goal at St Joseph’s School is to develop the skills and attitudes of all players and this is a challenging balancing act, especially as teams are often made up of students with different skill sets.
It would be easy if all students were at the same level but they are not. In netball, for example, to manage this and try and get more equal teams, Sasha, our Sport’s coach, Moana, our lead teacher this year and Jen, our lead teacher last year sought opportunities at the beginning of the netball season to work with other schools in combining teams. This year we approached Queenstown Primary School and Shotover Primary School. QPS were willing to trial all students interested from both schools together and create teams from this but they were restricted by the Netball Association in that if we had a full team, whatever the skill level of the individual players, we had to put forward this team. When we had 1 or 2 players that were not part of a team due to numbers, they have been playing with QPS players so they could be in a team. We are grateful to QPS for this. We challenged the Netball Association about having 10 players in one team, but they came back with the fact that the other schools also had these numbers so it was not appropriate to have a different rule for us. I let you know this so that you can be aware of the immense amount of work that is done in the background to get the best opportunities for our students.
So, in light of having mixed teams, the coach must consider the level of play and which players and combinations of players need to be on the court or field to get the best from individuals and the team. One consideration is to extend players and also to not have players so beyond their ability, that they are demoralised - it is not fair to put players into situations where they are over extended.

The impact of winning a game, though it feels good at the time, has short-term value. The impact of developing team skills of inclusiveness, supportiveness and how to encourage are skills we take away for life. If we focus on improving our personal and team goals, we will continue to be winners. Players and teams need to be setting goals around how they can improve their performance - eg to have hands up in defence, pass into the shooter using a triangle formation rather than doing a lobby pass - this is what the coach, parent and peer feedback should be, rather than around winning or court/field time.
Parents, find out your child’s goal and comment on their success with that - focus on what they did well and ask what do they still need to work on? This is what builds self worth and resilience.
Students, parents and coaches need to learn how to accept the referee’s call even if they disagree, how to win graciously (ie not gloating over the team that lost) and how to manage when they lose a game.
However, we also recognise that sport is competitive and we need to teach our students how to compete. The coach's role is to decide what is the most strategic way to be “competitive” and winning the game is only part of this and not always the outcome. Coaches consider how to get the best combinations of play to challenge and extend, while ensuring all players continue to have opportunities to develop at whatever level they are at.
Being on the team does not mean being on the field/court - much of the learning takes place off the field/court so they are looking at the play, reflecting on what is working and what is not, thinking about how they can improve their own play when you go on - the coach can engage with the players on the sideline - “What can you see is happening? Who should get the pass?”
Finally, please remember that all coaches and referees are volunteers and it is their personal time they give up. Our volunteers need your support and encouragement so that they will want to do this again next tournament or next year. Without volunteers, we cannot have both school and community sporting events.