At Somerset College we have a compulsory sports programme which plays a very important role in the development of the whole child.
SUMMER SPORTS OFFERED
Grade 1 to 7 children participate in the following sports:
Boys: Swimming, Cricket (U10 - U13 hardball), Mini-Cricket (Grades 1 to 3), Athletics (Grades 4 to 7) Tennis, Water Polo (Grade 6 and 7), Chess, Kinetics (Grade 1)
Girls: Swimming, Cricket (U10 - U13 hardball), Mini-Cricket (Grades 1 to 3), Athletics (Grades 4 to 7) Tennis, Water Polo (Grade 6 and 7), Chess, Kinetics (Grade 1)
Swimming as a sport has two primary objectives; the first is to make all children water confident and the second is to provide an avenue for those children who are talented in swimming to excel in the sport. In addition to the normal swimming slots during school time, we have implemented swimming squad sessions, where the children train after school in order to develop their potential. Commitment to these squad sessions is crucial. Our swimming team participates in local galas in the Helderberg basin, which are hosted on various days of the week. We also hold an annual Inter-House gala, in which we get as many children as possible involved.
The weather in the fourth term is always changeable and, as a result, we only start swimming in November to ensure that we have warmer weather. We do provide the swimming squad with the opportunity to train in a heated pool so as to ensure that our swimmers are ready for the galas that take place at the beginning of November. The rule is that once we start swimming in November, the training will be assessed on a daily basis and that we do not swim when the water temperature drops below 19 degrees. Should that be the case, the children will then do land training. The wind-chill factor is also taken into account when making a decision about swimming or land training.
We play in the Western Province league. We host a Pre-season Festival each year for our U11s & U13s. Cricket is played by all Grades 1-3 and becomes a choice for Grades 4s-7s. We have at least four teams per age group. All our matches are played during the week with a few matches being played on Saturdays. We have a Girls' cricket team as the sport is growing. From time to time we host a touring team from the UK and St Johns from Johannesburg. The school has wonderful cricket facilities, we pride ourselves on 4 cricket ovals, a state art Indoor cricket centre, 7 concentre nets and 3 turf nets. In the past, we have produced provincial players and coaches.
As part of providing extra coaching to our students, we have a Cricket Academy that offers extra coaching sessions (groups & one-on-one) and offers coaching opportunities to our coaches within the school. The Academy and its functions are placed under Somerset College with the Head of Cricket and the two Pro Coaches driving its functions. The Academy has since opened its doors to the wider community involving non-Somerset College students in its programmes. All Academy programmes are supported by Somerset College. We aim to advance the game of cricket at Somerset College and beyond our gates through sportsmanship, encouragement, team spirit and hard work. Our goal is to provide the opportunity, environment and facilities to learners of all ages and abilities to play cricket. We are particularly focused on promoting youth cricket and encouraging young players to take up the game at an early age. All its programmes carry extra costs and are done after Somerset College sports practices.
Reaching out to communities is part of Somerset College. Somerset College supports The Leading Edge which runs coaching programmes to underprivileged communities. The school opens its facilities and resources free of charge to all children who attend The Leading Edge for training, coaching and matches. This programme is run by voluntary coaches led by Hilton Toro (Head of Cricket) and Wayne Bosch (Head of Grade 7s).
Class tennis lessons occur during the school day in which an entire grade participates. Typically, coaches have between 8 and 12 players on a court with them, depending on the size of the whole group and the number of coaches available. The playing ability during these sessions is very varied, which results in us splitting the group as best we can to ensure that players are challenged according to ability.
Coaches adapt their lessons as follows:
Beginner players focus on ball skills to develop basic strokes and apply basic tactics.
Intermediate players develop their strokes to be able to keep a rally going and apply basic tactics.
Advanced players play all strokes, do drills and play doubles if court space allows.
Players that are ready for squad tennis will be identified during these lessons and will be invited to attend squad training sessions.
Tennis is a fantastic game for our students to learn, however, not everybody can make it into the school team. Our aim in tennis is two-fold: firstly we would like to get all players to develop their skills sufficiently to be able to keep a rally going; secondly it is important that we challenge the players that show talent and a desire to play matches so that they can represent the school well in these matches.
Athletics trials are held in the fourth term and these culminate in our Inter-House Athletics Meet in the first week of the first term. Once we have run this, we select our best athletes to participate in our Inter-Schools Triangular against Bridge House and Somerset House. We hold voluntary and compulsory athletics squad sessions in which we get experienced coaches in to develop our athletes so that they are able to produce their best performances in these athletics meetings. Commitment to these squad sessions is crucial. They start in the first term and end once the Triangular Athletics Meet has been run.
Water polo is new and exciting sport which was introduced to our Sports Programme for Grade 6 and 7 children in 2016. Grade 6 and 7 children who choose to do water polo, must make themselves available to be part of the swimming team. The Head of Swimming will select the children at the beginning of the term.
We enter boys and girls Grade 6 and Grade 7 hockey teams into the Indoor Hockey League hosted by Somerset College and Somerset House in the first term. League matches take place on Monday evenings and run from 16:30 to 21:00. Indoor Hockey is not a main summer sport and, as a result, practices are fitted into slots where most of the children are available. These times are then communicated to the parents once they have been established.
WINTER SPORTS OFFERED
Grade 1 to 7 children participate in the following sports:
Boys: Hockey, Rugby, Cross Country (Grades 4 to 7), Fitness (Grades 4 to 7) and Chess (this is a paid extra-mural)
Girls: Hockey, Netball, Cross Country (Grades 4 to 7) and Chess (this is a paid extra-mural)
Our school participates in the Helderberg Zonal League. The schools involved in this league are from Somerset West and the surrounding areas (Strand, Gordon’s Bay, Macassar, Stellenbosch etc.). Our aim is to make sure that as many of our teams participate in matches on Thursday afternoons. This is often difficult, however, as some schools have fewer teams in certain age groups than we do and this would mean that, on occasion, some of our teams will not play a match on a particular week. We have also found that the A teams participate on a more regular basis than the B and C teams.
The netball league involves children from U7 through to U13. League matches take place on Wednesday afternoons. We make every effort to make sure that all of our teams participate in the weekly matches, but not all schools have both an A and a B team available in all age groups. The girls that are not chosen that week have a normal practice session on our courts on a Wednesday.
We feel that rugby is a sport that is critical in boosting the physical and psychological development of our boys. There is a lot of hype and emotion that surrounds the sport, so we have taken the decision to run rugby in way which will best suit our own interests. We are involved in the WP rugby league, where matches take place on Wednesday afternoons. We also try to organise our own fixtures against teams of our own strength as well as against touring teams.
Cross country is new to the sports programme. At present, the children participate in the Helderberg league, where races are hosted on Friday afternoons. The races are held at various venues around the Somerset West/Helderberg area.
Chess is a wonderful extra mural where your child is able to develop essential cognitive and practical skills such as logic, collaboration, discipline, attention to detail and analysation. Chess classes are on Monday and Tuesday afternoons and children may choose to attend on either of these days or on both days. In winter, our Monday and Tuesday chess classes continue, as well as our Friday afternoon matches. We register with the WP Chess league, which allows us to play against schools in our area and in surrounding areas.
During our fitness sessions, the children have a chance to play TAG Rugby (every second week), use the indoor centre to row and develop their upper body strength, run in our vineyards, and do circuit training in the Prep Hall to improve their overall fitness. During the term, we test the children for upper body strength, core strength and their performance in a one-kilometre run.