I played cricket for all seven years that I was at school. In that time I am almost certain that I didn’t receive any formal coaching. Nor did I have a single session in the cricket nets that existed in large numbers round the school site. So it is fair to say that “sport for all” wasn’t a philosophy that St Albans School supported. The same can be said for both rugger and hockey – no attempt was made to develop my interest or skills in these team games. If anything tennis was even worse run because there was little or no attempt made even to supervise the pupils. Providing you were physically present that was enough for the PE Department.
Looking back this was a curious omission because sport was taken very seriously by the Head Teacher. We had entire afternoons devoted to sport and the school teams achieved a number of notable successes at both local and regional level. I really would have to question how carefully the pool of available talent was examined by the school staff. While playing rugger I was top scorer for three consecutive years – playing loose-head prop forward of all positions! – without getting any recognition from the “powers that be”.
It was much the same with the Field Centre in south Wales that swallowed up vast amounts of staff time and school money. It was endlessly being promoted and boasted about by senior staff despite the fact that many students never visited the wretched place. A few of my year visited it half a dozen times – wearing a whole range of different hats – but not one of my closest friends ever darkened its door!