The 6th Powerade Performance Academy kicked off in Durban last week. It is an annual seminar held in major cities nationwide to empower local coaches.
It saw coaches from around KwaZulu-Natal listen to expert performance coaches as part of an interactive session of empowering and enriching lessons for school coaches.
Powerade has aimed much of its focus on high school coaches in recognition of their role as primary influencers of the next generation of South Africa’s sporting heroes.
Dick Muir, Simphiwe Dludlu, John McGrath and Sizwe Ndlovu took the coaches through critical aspects of coaching, on and off the field of play, at the KZN Academy.
Dick Muir, former Springbok rugby player, ex-Springbok and Sharks coach and managing director of the Investec International Rugby Academy SA, spoke about why he is part of the Powerade Academy.
“The biggest thing for me is sharing knowledge with the coaches, making them believe there is no such thing as a bad coach, just an ill-informed coach.” he said.
“It’s important to invest in coaches because, through them, we are investing in our youth. Developing the knowledge of coaches is important in preparing kids at a young age.” Muir concluded.
Simphiwe Dludlu, SA U17 women’s soccer coach, reflected on the team’s 2019 U17 Women’s World Cup experience. She inspired the coaches to build character in their teams.
“I find it amazing that we expect players to perform in a certain way when we do not really know their characters and what they are mentally capable of.
“Everyone is born with a certain character; we need to understand the building blocks of character and how to influence a person’s character for the better.” she said.
Sizwe Ndlovu, 2012 Olympic Games gold medalist, spoke about what he called the new low.
“It is important for people – and coaches more especially – to understand that when they reach a milestone, instead of saying that this is the highest they can reach, rather should look at the milestone and say this is my ‘new low’ and I need to do better than this’.”
Ndlovu continued narrating to the coaches about his journey as an athlete, facing setbacks but never giving up. He further explained how the concept of a new low helped him to surpass his goals.
John McGrath, a former strongman who is now a high-performance business coach, tackled the mental side of preparing sportsmen and women.
“In shifting paradigms it is about abandoning preconceived ideas that people have about their abilities and about what is perceived to be a boundary (to progress),” he said.
McGrath illustrated practical examples of breaking boundaries by bending nails, breaking chains, tearing packs of cards and straightening a horseshoe.
“These are all metaphors for what you can do and what is possible. I don’t expect all of the coaches to start bending nails, but the coaches at the Powerade Performance Academy are there to learn how to make breakthroughs.
“At Powerade Performance Academy you have coaches that have performed at a world-class level and they are talking to coaches from all over South Africa – and that is a price worth paying,” he said.
Coaching continues to be an ever-transforming discipline that incorporates innovative techniques and principles to improve performance.
The Powerade Performance Academy’s featured coaches, through their in-depth knowledge, afforded the attendees – the coaches from the various KZN schools and sporting codes – the opportunity to go back to their respective schools in the spirit of “teach one, teach all”.
To connect sports coaches across the country, Powerade has also introduced a Powerade Facebook Community called the Coaches Corner, where coaches can interact and share their daily challenges and achievements with their peers.
The next legs of the Powerade Performance Academies will take place in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
For more information, visit Powerade Facebook page (@PoweradeZA) and #AlwaysForward.
More about the Powerade Performance Academy speakers
Dick Muir: Former Springbok rugby player, ex-Springbok and Sharks coach, and managing director of the Investec International Rugby Academy SA.
Topic: Creating your own coaching and playing philosophies
Simphiwe Dludlu: Former Banyana Banyana captain, former Tuks women’s coach, SA U17 women’s team head coach, and founder and chairman of The Simphiwe Dludlu Foundation.
Topic: Character carries her
John McGrath: Luvo Manyonga’s high performance coach, world-renowned high-performance coach and last Strongman of Africa; motivational speaker and performance artist.
Topic: Shifting sports paradigms
Sizwe Ndlovu: 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist; manager and coach of rowing at University of Johannesburg, and inspirational speaker.
Topic: The New Low