Meeting Neil Carter and Tjoff van Staden offers one an insight into what quality coaching is all about. Sport plays such an integral part in the holistic experience that Uplands pupils enjoy that the school has taken its vision to the next level by introducing two professional coaches to the staff.
The Cricket Academy is perched on the eastern side of the lovely Uplands campus. Here you will find Neil Carter, a professional cricketer who has played and coached both locally and internationally in Scotland and the UK from 1998 through to 2013. His focus turned to coaching in recent years due to his passion for the development of the sport. He has spent the last eight years at Bishop’s in Cape Town before taking the decision to relocate to the Lowveld with his family who have deep roots in the area. Carter oversees all aspects of cricket at Uplands. His objective is to nurture players and create a foundation from the early grades which follows pathways through to college. “If all the processes flow and continuity of cricket from a young age is established, the pupils will thrive in the sport,” he says.
Cricket is part of the curriculum at Uplands, and one only has to gaze across the lush cricket fields to realise the importance this sport has at Uplands. Private coaching is available at the Cricket Centre, with plans to develop more girls in the sport. “Processes, passion and enjoyment will lead to results,” says Neil, and Uplands supports the view that it wants to develop lifelong players who will pass their love of the game on through the generations.
Hockey has always been a strong sport in the Uplands community. Boasting some of the finest facilities, the school has long enjoyed its formidable reputation in the sport. Tjoff van Staden feels that “sport sells” and has played semi-professional hockey in Potchefstroom and NW University. He is determined to develop a culture of caring about the children and nurturing them through the pathways that are created in the One School environment. Tjoff is convinced that the opportunities in sports such as hockey and cricket will open doors to the outstanding players for their tertiary education journeys, both internationally and across South Africa.
The Mpumalanga Rhinos are based at Uplands, which identifies the school’s commitment to the sport. Through the initiative of bringing specialists into the Uplands family, the school aims to develop their players and improve the opportunities that the youngsters have to play. At Uplands, we believe that an important future outcome is to empower children through sport and learning, and the path mapped out with the first two specialists talks to that strategy clearly. Creating pathways to develop the talent pool within the school is an important step in development. Tjoff feels positive about his future at Uplands. “I dream of offering all children a cross-section of sport.”
Uplands strives to be Africa’s pre-eminent private co-educational family school, operating under the auspices of the Anglican church. The school offers quality, holistic schooling to pupils from Grade 0000 to 12, with outstanding boarding from Grade 4 upwards. Uplands has a proven track record of successes, a contemporary school with almost 100 years of timeless quality and values.
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