Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Coaches concerned about student athlete downtime

Published:Saturday | September 19, 2020 | 12:11 AM
Action between Calabar High School and St Catherine High School during an ISSA Walker Cup game at Stadium East on Thursday, November 1, 2018.
Action between Calabar High School and St Catherine High School during an ISSA Walker Cup game at Stadium East on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

As uncertainty about the resumption of high-school sporting events continues, there is the belief that schools should put measures in place to ensure that student athletes remain engaged.

Calabar High School football team head coach David Laylor says that without football, it can be challenging to keep some of the players interested in school.

However, he said that discussions have been ongoing with the school’s principal and old boys’ association to organise an effective way to keep the players engaged in their learning.

“What can happen is for us to speak with the student council body, the parents, support groups that are normally there for the players,” Laylor said.“We can get some of them on board to put in extra lessons or extra classes for the footballers because even without football, they can be distracted.

“As a coach, I’m thinking of finding ways to ensure that the guys I’m responsible for stay in school,” he said. “Even though ISSA is not having any tournaments, there might be a newer way, such as playing sports online or whichever way we work it out, but we must find a way because I know we can lose them.”

Edwin Allen High School track and field head coach Michael Dyke says the break from games will give student athletes more time to focus on their studies.

He says that being involved in sports can be more beneficial to athletes in the classroom.

“We have to take into consideration that with a fit mind and a fit body, they will be able to retain information and be a lot more focused,” Dyke said. “We can get the support to facilitate their learning, and that is where the old boys would come in.

“The online learning is a new thing for us, and I don’t think it will be very easy, especially to monitor students. A child can always log on to classes and be doing other things, for example, not being as focused as they would have been in a face-to-face setting.”

Dyke said, however, that he is hoping that there can be a safe way to host track meets next year to facilitate final-year students who wish to acquire scholarships for tertiary education.

National badminton player and student at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Tahlia Richardson says it has not been easy without sports.

However, she says she has made it her duty to strive for excellence in school until she is able to get back on the court.

“Personally, finding the balance can be difficult, but it’s all about prioritising and time management,” she said. “I don’t have much time, so when I am not training or relaxing, I am doing something school-related.

“It shows that in this time of uncertainty, one thing that is certain is education.”

Athena Clarke