Meet the teacher

We speak to Sam Wood­ward, the new sports di­rec­tor at Reigate Gram­mar school

Surrey Life - - Education -

Why did you get into teach­ing sport? I was lucky to do some coach­ing of cricket from my mid-teens and while my dream was to play pro­fes­sional cricket, I was not quite good enough. Coach­ing was some­thing I had re­ally en­joyed, but I was also keen to get into the class room and teach GCSE and A level PE. After a brief stint work­ing in Lon­don, I was lucky to get a job at Whit­gift School (I am an old boy) and I have loved teach­ing sport ever since.

How of­ten do pupils at your school take part in sport and what sports are avail­able? As I am new to Reigate Gram­mar School it is very hard to say, but I think a bal­anced week would in­clude a games ses­sion, after school prac­tice and then a com­pet­i­tive op­por­tu­nity on a Sat­ur­day. The school sport sea­son has nat­u­ral peaks and troughs in terms of fix­ture sched­ules so some weeks may be more busy. Ad­di­tion­ally I would an­tic­i­pate many stu­dents hav­ing ex­ter­nal sport­ing or non-sport­ing ses­sions on top of this

How does sport play a role in chil­dren’s de­vel­op­ment? I think sport is a fan­tas­tic ve­hi­cle to cre­ate ‘good peo­ple’. Not only through the health ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal en­deav­our, but also through in­ter­ac­tions with a range of peo­ple and ex­po­sure to suc­cess and fail­ure. I re­ally be­lieve that if you work hard, have fun and re­main hum­ble you are pretty well set for what­ever chal­lenges/ op­por­tu­ni­ties present them­selves.

Who in­flu­enced you as a child both gen­er­ally and in a sport­ing sense? My par­ents and grand­par­ents are my big­gest in­flu­ences as both a sports per­son and as a per­son. I watched my dad and grandad play alot of sport as child. Fur­ther­more, I was very lucky that they spent alot of time play­ing sport with me in the gar­den/park as a child and Mum and Dad took me to prac­tice/ matches through­out the year re­gard­less of con­ve­nience. Out­side of them David Ward (di­rec­tor of cricket and Sur­rey CCC leg­end) at Whit­gift would be a big in­flu­ence and some­one I have known for over 20 years.

Favourite sport? Cricket, with Foot­ball and Rugby close sec­ond. Th­ese days I am a ‘MAMIL’ (mid­dle-aged man in Ly­cra) and spend quite a bit of time on my bike throw­ing in the odd race.

Favourite sports per­son? All time: Brian Lara. Cur­rent: Peter Sagan.

If you could com­pete against one sports per­son, dead or alive, who would that be? Bat against Mal­colm Mar­shall and his fel­low West In­di­ans at their best. I think I would be a lit­tle scared, but it would be a lot of fun!

Name three sports peo­ple you would like to in­vite to your school... Richie Mc­caw as I love ev­ery­thing he and the All Blacks stood for un­der his lead­er­ship; Gareth South­gate – it’s such a great story from ‘96 to now. He’s a top player and as a coach has struck a chord with many who watched Eng­land this year. He also seems like a very good man. Jes­sica En­nis-hill is an in­spi­ra­tional ath­lete and a tremen­dous role model. Rather than the sports they rep­re­sent, it’s the qual­i­ties that they and their per­for­mances bring/ brought as peo­ple that ap­peals more to me.

“I think sport is a fan­tas­tic ve­hi­cle to cre­ate ‘good peo­ple’”

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