Headmaster’s Headlines

Headmaster’s Headlines

22nd May, 2019

Save The ChildrenAt last week’s Assembly Dr Lilley told us about 3 Second Form pupils and their participation as part of the UK input for a worldwide Save the Children campaign to Stop War on Children. Save the Children asked all their offices in countries around the world to provide a short video clip. The first of these clips have been launched on social media which was shown this at this week’s Assembly.

In Cricket, congratulations to the U15, who won the Glenalmond Sixes competition for the first time and were unbeaten during the day. Congratulations are extended to the following boys:
Mackenzie, Frederick, Isaac, Oscar, Matthew, Robbie, Monty, Lachlan
In other Cricket results, The U14 won against Robert Gordon and the U15 lost in a tight encounter. The Pringle 1XI, 2XI and U11A won against Loretto. The U11B and U9 lost.
In Athletics, there were some exciting performances at the Fettes Prep School Invitational. This is good preparation for the MCS Prep school Invitational on Thursday.
The Junior Games were postponed on Saturday due to the weather, but we are pleased to announce that this event will now go ahead on Tuesday 11 June.
In Tennis, the U18B lost against Fettes.
In Golf, the U15 finished in third place at the British Schools Trophy at Collingtree Park.
In Rugby, UVI pupil Chris has achieved something unique and quite remarkable on the Border 7’s circuit this year, whilst playing for Watsonians RFC. He has been too old to play Schools Rugby this year but has shown a dedicated and committed approach to club rugby in parallel with his studies. Last weekend he was part of the Watsonians Senior squad who were crowned the Kings of the 7’s. Throughout this season, he has also won the Macari Cup (best performing team in the competition from outside of the Borders) in all rounds of the tournament which took place at Berwick, Langholm, Kelso, Earlston and Jedburgh. Since joining the school in Chalmers West, Chris has shown a passion for and an excellent understanding of the game. The reality is that most players will not win this number of tournaments in a lifetime, so to do this while at school underlines the level of this achievement. Well done, Chris, congratulations on these outstanding achievements.

DevicesAt the risk of repeating myself, an article in yesterday’s paper caught my eye and I thought I should share it with you as it reinforces a message I have shared before, and one that I think I think is very valuable at this point in the year.
‘Previous studies have indicated that overexposure before bedtime to blue light-emitted from devices can affect the brain’s clock and the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, resulting in disrupted sleep time and quality.
The new research from the Netherlands found that teenagers who had more than four hours per day of screen time had sleep-onset and wake-up times on average 30 minutes later than those who recorded less than one hour per day of screen time, as well as more symptoms of sleep loss. The team conducted a trial to assess the effects of blocking blue light with glasses and no screen time during the evening on the sleep pattern of 25 frequent users.
Blocking blue light with glasses and screen abstinence resulted in sleep-onset and wake-up times occurring 20 minutes earlier and a reduction in reported symptoms of sleep loss in participants after a week.’
Nadeem Badshah-The Guardian
At this point in the year, with many of the boys already deep in exams and others about to embark on them, I encourage you all to take heed of this research. For some pupils screen time is controlled, but for others – you should pay attention to these latest findings and factor this in to your management of your devices. At the start of the year I talked about marginal gains and here is a great example of where making a small change can have an important impact.

Moving on, I have been reading a book that I have found fascinating and I wanted to take a little time to share some of its message with you. The book is called ‘’Mind Games: Determination, Doubt & Lucky Socks’’, written by Annie Vernon. Prior to becoming a writer, Annie was an accomplished international rower whose defining moment was in 2008 in Beijing, where she won a silver medal….not gold…silver, an outcome she describes as ‘devastating’. This event eventually inspired her book but actually plays little or no part in the book itself; it is merely a footnote. Annie’s sense of failure and devastation encouraged her to write this book as she was fascinated by the existential question about the purpose of sport in our comfortable, convenience-driven society. What makes an athlete push themselves to the limit, overcome pain or even cheat to achieve their goals?
Annie discusses a number of facets amongst which are:
• Competitiveness and whether can this be grown
• How people become an elite athlete
• Motivation
• Personality
• Confidence
The one chapter that I enjoyed the most, not least because I think there is a message in there for all of us, was the chapter titled –‘How to be Tarzan, How to be Jane’, the message being, who would you rather be – the ‘Hero’ or the damsel in distress? An outdated characterisation, she admits, but it is clearly designed to set the scene. Toni Minichello, who coached Jessica Ennis Hill, produced athletes who trained like heroes, but then became helpless in competition. For Toni the answer was preparation and rehearsal. ‘The nerves you feel at your primary school 100m race are the same as at the Olympic Final’, said one of the athletes, as the nature of pressure at that point in time is the same if you are feeling nervous. So, is it all about how you prepare to manage these nerves?
Sir Mathew Pinsent would get so nervous that he would imagine the bus taking him to the event breaking down so he would not have to compete. I am sure we have all felt that sense of nerves at one point or another, but as Toni Minichello said, ‘It is all about preparation, understanding that you will be nervous and managing those feelings as best you can, training your brain to deliver a basic routine in whatever circumstances.’
Just like exams, be prepared and have a routine that supports you before the exam, get everything you need for the exam ready and remove those unnecessary distractions.
A technique explored in this book is called ‘brain washing’, less sinister than it sounds, but it is all about removing unnecessary distractions on the day of your big performance. The key is to find what is right for you. If you are confident in your preparation, you can afford to be relaxed and that will help you manage that inevitable pressure.
Finally, ‘Lucky Socks’. Sport psychologist Chris Shambrook is blunt: ‘…if it is just superstition, then it is nonsense…You are putting your entire dependence on a particular pair of lucky socks. In which case, what’s the point in doing the training, if the value is in the socks? But if the socks make you feel stronger, then it becomes part of a well-rehearsed routine that is reinforcing.’
Mind Games – Annie Vernon

Good Luck with the exams and with your all important preparation.

Back to all news
Translate »