It gets chilly out there on the sports field at this time of year, and making sure that our students are suited and booted appropriately is key to ensuring that they can continue to enjoy outdoor activity whatever the weather.
We play hockey, rugby and netball in the winter, and the sixth-formers also do football, so there’s still a lot going on. We regard sport as a life choice and we have a full fixtures programme year-round whatever the weather. Whether our students are aiming to become an elite athlete or simply enjoy the comradery and fun of playing sport, there’s no reason to stop playing when the thermometer starts to drop.
We issue a sports kit list at the start of the academic year, showing which items are compulsory and which we recommend if parents choose to buy them. Our uniform includes a hooded top, warm coat and jacket; there are also woolen hats and gloves. Students often wear base layer skins underneath their playing kit to provide extra warmth. Even if they’re not used for training, it’s always good to have these at hand to put on afterwards.
But even if winter kit is available, how do you persuade the students to wear it? We source all our sports kit from a single manufacturer, Kukri Sports, which puts the school colours at the forefront of the designs. They make sure it’s attractive to the students, and in fact we often see them wearing it around town at weekends.
It’s also important to be mindful of the cold when considering how best to teach sport in the winter months. We try to make activity-based games so that we don’t have long queues of students waiting to do a drill. We go for a lot of action and keep the students moving to ward off the chill. As well as bracing the chill outside, our students also feel the cold indoors, as each year they take part in the British Ski Academy Inter-school Ski Challenge. We train on dry slopes and a couple of indoor ski centres in the UK before setting off for the mountains. In the Sports Department, we’re just as busy at this time of year as at the height of summer, and with a sports kit suitable for all weathers nothing is out of reach.