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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:26 pm 
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Hi All,

DS is due to start at Saint Olaves in September and is not the sporty type. He has been feeling very isolated at school lately as he thinks it is no use being good at academics. He says that the boys who are good at sports are the ones everyone wants in their group/team even during a classroom session. He was never much into football but started to try it out at the start of this year. He feels that no one wants to include him in their game. Even if they do, they expect him to let them down or do miserably. In spite of the academic successes he's had, his morale is at its lowest. I understood the severity of the situation when he broke down in tears today. His pain came pouring out in torrents.

I know that Olaves is serious about rugby. DS has never played rugby and is afraid that he'll be terrible at it too. I am desperate for him step into secondary with confidence and enthusiasm not worrying that he'll be terrible at sports and end up being excluded from lunchtime games or have no friends. Can anyone please guide me as to how I can prepare him for the sports side of Olaves? Should I find out what they play in that school and get him into similar after-school clubs now? Please please help.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Tell your DS not to worry. St Olaves has many boys who sound just like your son. My friend had one son who went through the school and was very very un-sporty but thrived. DD is similarly starting Newstead and is in awe of the achievements of the netball team, she just can't catch for toffee! We know that she won't be alone. I think the thing about both schools is that many of the children will be quirky and have their own strengths and weaknesses - I think sport is essential as without a fit body the brain can't work well but you don't have to excel if it isn't quite your thing. DD might meet your DS at the inter-school discos and events so hello on another level - I feel confident all will work out well and I hope someone else comes along with better inside knowledge.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:10 pm 
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And breathe! Please don't worry and reassure your son he will most certainly not be alone. Secondary school is so very different from primary and because it is so much bigger and diverse there will be loads and loads of new things to try and other boys to do these activities with.

If he's worried about sport in particular I've just taken a quick look at the sport bit of the website and there are loads of different sports to try, everything from a martial art to table tennis - it won't all be about rugby and there will also be a lot of boys who haven't played it before too. DS are not at St O's but it is local to us so we did go and look around it and I do remember there being lots of non- sport clubs and activities on offer at that time.

I'm sure he will soon find like minded friends. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:53 pm 
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Thank you so much for your kind comments. I feel reassured to know that there might be other non sporty boys like DS. Yes I do want DS to feel comfortable playing at least one sport (for his self-confidence if nothing else) and will try to encourage him in one thing this summer term. And a few deep breaths will give me the determination to help him do something about all this. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:13 pm 
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DS had never played rugby before he started his secondary school, but neither had many other boys. In the first games session the teacher asked the boys to put their hands up if they had played rugby in primary school and divided them into groups on that basis. Those who saw themselves as non-sporty went to a 'non-squad' games group, which meant that 1) they were in a group, fairly big, with similar-minded boys, and 2) they did not have to go to rugby practice after school (although they could if they wanted to) and didn't have matches on Saturdays, which was sort of a blessing on freezing, wet November mornings! Incidentally, some of the 'non-squad' boys decided to start going to rugby practice and ended up going into teams.

Moving up to a secondary school is a big step and can be really unsettling, so it's natural for your DS to feel anxious about fitting in with his new peers. I know he feels very upset, and so do you, but I'm sure all will be fine.

You could tell your DS it's like with the academic side of things - even in a very selective school there will be some boys who are more capable than others and the same applies to sporting abilities. He will find his group of friends he will feel happy with and they will love him to be on their teams. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:20 am 
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And encourage him, to try new sports - our school offers fencing, for example, and some boys who specialise in that, would never have felt comfortable on a rugby pitch - and are now competing on an international stage, so would never want to risk that on a rugby pitch!! They are respected by everyone in the school, for their achievements. If he is not that "into" sport, suggest he tries other things - music, choir, drama, any of the other after school clubs on offer. He will find his niche and there will be other boys like him - certainly in our school, whilst the boys may not all be good at various areas, they respect the achievements of others in their own spheres. i can't imagine that St O's is very different in that respect - our Head came from there...!!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:48 am 
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My DCs went to an academic state school with a strong rugby focus.
I am sure your DS will indeed find a group of like-minded non-sporty types to pal up with.

From experience:

Don't label himself as non-sporty at this age. There are any number of sports besides football ( and rugby) including ones that don't require hand eye coordination or a ball! Finding something he enjoys is important for his physical and mental health.

Don't worry about being 'popular'. The rugby team may well be 'popular' but if he has a small circle of friends that's fine too. People are different.

Find a dad, uncle, big brother, friend's child who plays rugby and get them to do some running, throwing, catching and careful tackling practice over the summer holidays. Not masses. Even half an hour would mean he knows better what to expect and hopefully won't feel so apprehensive. He might actually enjoy it.

Do join an extra curricular group that does interest him asap. ( Or try out two or three). It's by far the best way to make friends. If it's something that includes boys from different year groups that's an added bonus. Being recognised by older boys helps with kudos and they can give good advice on fitting in at school.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:19 am 
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Chess is regarded as a sport by some.

Dd2 now year 8 was treated very rudely as non-sporty in primary but tried lots of things in y7 now does lots of personal fitness and a martial art since the start of this year.

Think of things as activities rather than strictly sport or non-sport.

I realise the team thing is a different kettle of fish, but the angst of NOT making the wished-for team is nice to avoid too! So there's a little silver lining !


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:54 am 
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Being part of a team is a great experience but there are teams for quizzes, public speaking etc as well as choir, orchestra.

You are right that not getting picked for a team can be upsetting but it's another life lesson and it can help to learn than life does still go on and one does cope.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:25 pm 
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Please reassure your DS that he will definitely find other boys at St Olave's who are not sporty!

I had 2 DSs go to St O's. DS1 was not sporty but found he enjoyed cricket there. DS2 was sporty but didn't get involved in school sport (beyond the timetable) until 6th form.

Good luck to your DS, I hope he will enjoy his time there.


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