View from the Dugout - Sports News 25 January 2019
I am the parent of competitive children. Two out of my three rug-rats (and one in particular) would probably prefer bodily harm in a contest than lose. Don’t get me wrong, on the whole they manage competition very well but the intensity at which they feel emotions in rivalry is made obvious to anyone who would contend with them. They want to win….they like winning… they play to win and … I’m sure they get it from their mother…
Having a competitive nature is an advantage in sports. The desire to overcome, get ahead or to be first is inherent in most accomplished sportsmen. Generally speaking, being competitive drives one to play hard and to fight for every point, right to the bitter end – attributes needed if one is to succeed in the world of sports.
Experts tell us, however, that this desire, the motivation to win, is driven by two very distinct motivations - extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Whilst all players are influenced by both, one of these motivators is always more dominant. The most common of these being extrinsic motivation - the trophies, accolades and bragging rights. Extrinsic motivation is an outward focus intent on overcoming ones opponent, born out of a need to receive something. Intrinsic motivation on the other hand is altogether different. Athletes spurred on by intrinsic motivation fight just as hard in a contest but, rather than the external reward, they are motivated by an internal sense of satisfaction borne out of a need to achieve or create something exceptional. Put another way, extrinsic motivation is the drive to be better than others whilst intrinsic motivation is the inner drive to be the best version of oneself – to be better than what you were the last time you donned your match kit.
So which is better? Whilst they are equally powerful to achieve success, when put to the test by science, there is no comparison when it comes to long-term results. For the most part intrinsically motivated athletes have longer, happier and more successful sport careers. The reality for extrinsically motivated individuals is that, as competitive as they may be, they cannot cope without receiving that which they most desire from competition, whether it be praise or prize, and are therefore, prone to giving up when faced by a run of bad form. And, yes, because of this, they also make rotten team mates - the kind that pull down their team mates when things are going badly. For those who have reached particularly heady heights in professional sport, the end of these athletes’ careers is usually marked with some form of personal implosion or another. Intrinsically motivated sportsmen, on the other hand, go the distance, they keep striving to be better, they bounce back and they endure the inevitable hard knocks that come in sport.
So, in conclusion, in my little family, we will be working hard with my competitive little angles, not merely because it can be unpleasant to play with such die-hards but because I want them to play sport for the long term and I want them to love it while they do. I hope to teach them to be intrinsically motivated by:
- Focussing on the love for the game not love of winning – and in that to love practise as much as they love matches
- Praising them for good play not the outcome of a point or a match
- Managing emotions whether it be in winning or losing
- Insisting on fair play, and respect on all occasions
And, as Hilton College sport faculty, my intention is that we to do likewise.
Undoubtedly our athlete of the week is Matthew Allwood who made us very proud, not only for his performance at the Drak Challenge but more so for his selfless act of helping a fellow competitor in need.
Matthew completed the Drak challenge in a K1 finishing in 18th place in the U16 division. Of greater significance is that, he could have finished higher but stopped to help a paddler who was in difficulty when her boat broke and capsized. For this thoughtful act he was awarded the ALICK RENNIE FELLOWSHIP AWARD after the race. The citation for the award is as follows:
Alick Rennie was an Underberg local, with a family farm near Pevensey, and a passionate paddler who loved nothing more than to get onto the Mzimkhulu when it was heaving! He was a class act paddler in big water, and one of the best slalom paddlers South Africa has ever produced – he went to the Barcelona Olympics as part of the Team SA that made history on the return of South African sport to the Olympic fold.
Alick was taken from us in December 2013 in a tragic plane crash, and his passion for river paddling and his outward looking and charitable nature was embodied in an annual award called the Alick Rennie Fellowship Award, which recognises a particular act of bravery or selflessness during the race – classically “what Alick would have done”!
Well done Matthew!
As was to be expected, it was a tough day down at Maritzburg College for our basketball boys. The 2 week head start that our opponents had on us certainly told in terms of match awareness and conversions. To our credit, our boys showed exceptional effort and courage, playing every match to the best of their ability and right to the end. Our finest performances came from the 3rd and U15B teams. The 3rds were just sublime on the day and from the get-go, they put their opponents to the sword. Were it not for a subdued final quarter, the score would have been even more in our favour (34 – 21). The U15B enjoyed a titanic battle in their match. The lead frequently swapped hands but with time running low Maritzburg College were able to build up a 3 point lead. This was reduced to just 1 point in the final stages and with momentum on our side we had a number of chances to steal the win. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and the game ended 20 – 21. The 1st team gave their best in what ended as a comprehensive win for Maritzburg College. The victory was really the result of an exceptional defensive effort by Maritzburg College, which, try as we might, we could not break down. Their comfortable lead after the 1st quarter extended in the second, a deficit that was going to require a miracle to overturn. The second half was more evenly contested as we found rhythm and accuracy but in the end the PMB boys deserved the win on their home soil (26 – 58).
On Thursday the 1st XI hosted Scotch College from Australia for a T20 match on Hart-Davis. The touring side has not had the happiest of times playing cricket schools in South Africa and so coming to Hilton for their last match must have seemed somewhat daunting. To their credit, they started well with the ball and at 52/5 we were battling to gain any momentum. Following up on his good form in Cape Town, it was Nick Hatton (37 not out) who alongside his captain, Michael Booth (29), that steadied our innings for us to finish 133/7 – a defendable total. It is safe to say that our bowling attack has been our strength thus far and the boys took no prisoners on the day. Our chief destroyer and man of the match was Michael Frost who with his handsome 5 wicket haul, bundled Scotch out for 73 runs.
Due to the weather, the only official match to be played on Saturday was the 1st team game. Unfortunately, even this match was affected with each side only getting 39 overs to bat. Our boys batted first and although we lost wickets early, we quickly recovered with some excellent batting in the middle order. Chris Meyer (33), Michael Booth (53) and Nick Hatton (46) all cashed in to take us to a solid total of 183 runs. Our hosts were not about to give up and, although they were bludgeoned by our pace attack, they stuck to the task at hand and slowly whittled away at our total. Try as we might we just couldn’t get the breakthrough we needed and, in the end, it came down to the wire; Maritzburg College eventually getting over the line with one ball to spare – truly a game of inches! Congratulations to both sides on an excellent display of school boy cricket in what were trying conditions.
The tennis club made a solid start to their Midlands league campaign on Monday. The 1st team travelled to St. Charles for a tricky encounter in the city. Although we were probably favourites we were made to fend off some stiff resistance in the match. In the end we did well to complete a 13 – 8 overall win. The 2nds were up against it versus Maritzburg College 1sts losing 6 – 12, whilst the 3rd team overran Voortrekker 1sts in a one-sided 15 – 3 victory.
Our boys travelled to Epworth on Wednesday for a friendly fixture against this competent squash school, renowned for producing many provincial players. And schooled we were, losing the 1st team encounter 1 – 7 and the 2nd team 0 – 4. This was an excellent fixture for our developing club, not only to get match practise but equally to forge a relationship with Epworth. We hope to play them many more times in the future.
Hilton College Water Polo made an excellent start to their year against Maritzburg College on Saturday. The club finished this encounter with 4 wins, 4 draws and only 1 loss. Despite the lack of practise time going into the day the Hilton teams did exceptionally by showing real determination in every contest. The most notable results were the 1st, U15B and U14A teams. The U14As proved to be too strong for our opponents, snuffing out their attacks with ease and attacking with deadly effect to win the match with ease (20 – 0). The U15B team, one of our unbeaten teams in 2018, continued their good form with another strong all-round performance to win 12 - 2. The 1st team, arguably our team of the day, gave little opportunity to Maritzburg College on attack as our well-organised defence in combination with our effective counter attack took its toll on the hosts. After a cagey first half (4 - 1 halftime lead), the White turned up the heat in the 3rd chukka and then ruthlessly put Maritzburg College away in what was an impressive 16 - 2 win.
Executive Director - Sport