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All you need is character, effort and respect

This week Bryanston's Head of Performance Sport, Alex Chapman, takes a look at the thinking behind our Performance Sport Programme and the key values upon which it is built.

“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose – it                    teaches you about life.”

Billie Jean King

Sport, particularly in schools, is about more than purely winning. It is about the desire to improve and to build strength and stamina of both mind and body. At Bryanston we launched our Performance Sport Programme (PSP) in September 2016 with the aim of helping pupils achieve their personal sporting aspirations. It isn't only for high-performing sportspeople, but for anyone who wants to improve and get better. At its core, PSP is built on the values of character, effort and respect; these values and the behaviours that underpin them will help pupils in any endeavour they pursue, not just sport.

The environment created within PSP is critical to the development of these values. It is one where pupils are supported through challenges and helped to persevere through failures and adversity, which, in turn, breeds resilience and confidence. This process applies across all three strands of PSP: Senior (years 12 and 13), Junior (years 9 to 11) and Prep, where we invite prep school pupils to participate in the PSP programme and experience the basics of strength and conditioning and looking after their body.

While the resources available to the PSP programme are considerable and Bryanston pupils have access to facilities that would be the envy of most universities and professional sports clubs’ research facilities (dual triaxial force platforms and 10 camera 3D motion analysis suite), it is the people involved who are our biggest and most valuable resource. Our Sports Centre team (Ben Weldon, Drew Beaver, Andrew Jeffrey, Joe Davis and Myles Wheaton-Green) have been instrumental in the setting up and running of the programme since its inception, and sessions would not be available to the 80+ pupils currently engaged without them. Jack Phillips is our newest member of the team and is the first full-time PSP coach specialising in strength and conditioning. Jack has brought with him a new energy and a multitude of ideas which have already made a big impact on the programme. Last but by no means least we have our physio team. We liaise regularly with Clara and Mercedes to keep our pupils playing sport. They provide integrated (S&C and physio) rehabilitation sessions for our injured pupils and input into not only our rehabilitation sessions, but also the content of our CPD sessions. Injury prevention is a key priority of PSP.

The reason we go to these lengths is plain and simple: it is all for our pupils. They never fail to surprise, impress and inspire us every day through their effort and character. Through their hard work, determination and commitment we have celebrated the success of several current pupils who have been selected as junior internationals across multiple sports this year (rugby, rowing, equestrian and running) and we are honoured to help them on their journey, wherever that may take them. Of equal importance and merit however are the growing number of pupils who come to train every day just to get better at a sport they love. This takes no less effort and each personal success is important and valued by the programme. It is the development of an affectionate connection with sport which is the ultimate goal for every pupil and the lasting legacy of the programme.

Bryanston PSP affords all who have the necessary desire the chance to be better than they imagined they could be; acting as a catalyst for a lifetime love of sport and physical exercise. All you need is character, effort and respect.