Virtual sports summit to help school coaches improve vital skills

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CAPE TOWN – The Department of Sport Science at Stellenbosch University and WJK Coaching Consultancy will host a virtual summit on November 6 and 7 aimed at educating school and club coaches.

Apart from coaches, other sport practitioners like administrators and coordinators, or anybody involved in sports in any other capacity, stand to benefit from attending the event, which will take place via Zoom, Dr Wilbur Kraak of WJK Coaching Consultancy said.

“The goal is to educate amateur coaches at school and club level, that’s where the biggest gaps are, all seminars and workshops are always focused on the elites, and they form just the tip of the iceberg. The idea was to present a more affordable conference that’s accessible to all amateur coaches.

“There can of course be knowledge gained from this event and the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, and hopefully they can apply this in their communities and environments. I have a philosophy of one to 10 – I believe that if you can take one coach they can possibly influence 10 more people and each one of those people will hopefully further transfer their knowledge.

“I think what we lack in South Africa is ongoing education. Sport evolves, but coaching and coaching education in South Africa hasn’t evolved.”

On the theme of the event – Disconnect to Reflect to Connect – he explained: “What happened before/during Covid-19 can’t really be done after Covid-19. You can’t coach the same anymore, you can’t look at sport the same anymore, you can’t treat people the same because Covid-19 has given us time to reflect.

“The ‘disconnect’ part of the theme refers to how we have had to disconnect from the way we used to do things. There was a distance between coaches and players, we couldn’t engage on the field, everything was on virtual platforms. The time away also gave us the chance to reflect on our systems and our approach and how we used to do things in the past.

“So, the ‘disconnect’ part is basically about sitting back

and thinking, and the ‘reflection’ part is about taking time and reflecting on how you used to do things. The ‘connect’ part is basically how you are going to connect going forward.”

Dr Kraak also gave some insight into some of the topics to be discussed during the fourth sports coaching summit.

“Some of the key points we will discuss is the physical development of players, policies that include and exclude people, how video and performance analysis can be integrated, and we will also look at key topics in psychology and we will also cover the social aspects of sport,” he said.

“As a university, department, and consultancy I feel that we’re not impacting where we need to impact – everything is geared at elite sport, but who caters for your amateurs? Through this we can influence communities, and that’s where work and development is needed. We want to present it in a manner that makes sense to everyone, so this is going to be a practical summit.”


There will be 10 keynote addresses and two panel discussions. The keynote addresses will consist of a 35-minute presentation and a 15-minute Q&A session.

The first panel discussion will be facilitated by Debbie Skinstad, a former professional tennis player in the States currently working as a lecturer in sports science at Stellenbosch University. During this panel discussion, focus will be on how to create an environment that is inclusive, with Jonathan Mokuena, a former Blitboks captain and Varsity Cup-winning coach and Babalwa Latsha, Springbok Women’s captain part of the panel. The last panelist will be confirmed in due course.

The second panel discussion will cover women’s coaching in South Africa and will be facilitated by Ilhaam Groenewald, senior director of Maties Sport. The panel will consist of Desiree Vardhan, who is in charge of the Coaching Association of South Africa, Dr Shaundre Jacobs, who completed her PhD in Policy in Sport and Inclusion and Exclusion, Dr Suzanne Ferreira, the successful paralympic coach, and Maties netball head coach, Zanele Mdodana.


Dr Eileen Africa – Qualified kinderkineticist and program leader at the Stellenbosch University

Dr Suzanne Ferreira – Paralympic coach

Michael Loftman – Performance Analyst at Pirates Football Club

Desiree Ellis – Banyana head coach

Dr Shaundre Jacobs – Policies within elite sport in South Africa

Dr Kirsten Spencer – Auckland University of Technology

Brett Igoe – Leinster Rugby Union and the Institute of Technology, Carlow, Ireland

Warren Abrahams – former USA women’s assistant coach

Dr Wilbur Kraak – Closing address (unpacking the theme)

Registration closes October 30 and can be done through Quicket (R300 per ticket).

Contact details: / 0835910321


IOL Sport

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