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Winning with Kids explained

What is your role in the Winning with Kids initiative? I came up with the concept and content after researching what is happening with children’s sport participation in South Africa and abroad, and after hearing so many stories of Western Cape school parents and coaches putting undue pressure on children’s sport participation, leading to them being injured and leaving the sport. Since then, there has been amazing support and encouragement for the initiative. Jean de Villiers was one of the first to come on board and to support the message.

Can you please provide a brief detailed description of the initiative? We want to educate parents and coaches about coaching kids for healthy and sustainable success in sport, and for a lifetime of success. It’s about winning in sport and, at the same time, gleaning the best life lessons and character development that sport offers.

When and where was the initiative launched? The first pilot event was held at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa in October last year. The flagship event, to date, has been held at La Rochelle Girls’ School in Paarl, where more than 600 parents and coaches filled the hall to hear the message Jean and I had to deliver. The response and feedback was awesome and humbling.

Whose brainchild is Winning with Kids? It is my idea. However, there are a number of people in other countries and in South Africa who are also doing their bit to promote healthy sports participation in schools.

Tell us more about Winning with Kids.

It is a two-hour talk and workshop aimed at inspiring and providing school heads, coaches and parents with the right tools and knowledge to motivate and prepare kids to win, the

right way, both on the sports field and in life.

Why did you decide to launch the initiative? The current and pervasive overemphasis on results – winning – is causing a number of problems for kids’ sport participation, including their quitting, anxiety and stress, early specialisation causing injury, burnout and quitting, compromising the values that sport teaches, compromised relationships between kids and coaches or parents, parents and coaches behaving badly, parental interference, and more. The talk will address these and other relevant challenges, offering healthy and sustainable solutions that will benefit children, parents, coaches and schools, which still delivering excellent results!

Who is involved with the project? Jean de Villiers and I are the main presenters of the content at this stage, and at each event there are champions in some schools. In Paarl, former Blitzbok Leon van den Heever and Adrian Raisbeck, and the La Rochelle School’s management were champions. For this upcoming event in Stellenbosch, Paul Roos Gymnasium is hosting the event. In the Helderberg area, AK Southey of Hendrik Louw Primary School is lending his support in championing the cause. Nothing big and significant like this happens without numerous supporters who add their time, ideas and efforts.

The Winning with Kids event will be held at Paul Roos Gymnasium on Tuesday 11 September from 18:30 to 21:00. Tickets, at R150 per person, are available on www.quicket.co.za. For more information, send an email to WinningWithKids@gmail.com.

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