The Showcase allows high school athletes the opportunity to put their abilities on show
CAPE TOWN - The Showcase gives high school athletes the opportunity to put their abilities on show in a season nulled by the Covid-19 pandemic, and on Friday, October 30, the top rugby and netball players will progress to the live event, where they will have the opportunity to have their talent noticed, and possibly be scouted.
In a season where no live school sports has meant that athletes (especially matriculants) could lose out on their last chance to bag that contract, the exposure that Phase Two will grant is invaluable. The event is the brainchild of multi-brand sports group, Old School Group – the team behind the popular 10s Sport Series.
During Phase One of The Showcase, a digital combine which consisted of an eleven-week home-workout programme, 600 athletes from all over the country, aged 13 to 18, took part in the first set of combines. Now, the top 100 rugby and netball players respectively will take part in the inaugural live Showcase Combine, with ETA Cape Town Campus conducting testing to determine the participants’ physical attributes and skills as well as validating the data compiled during Phase One.
During the next phase, the 200 participants will undergo various tests to determine their physical fitness and sport-specific skills in front of representatives from several rugby academies, Varsity Cup scouts and schools coaches as part of the audience.
Until now, The Showcase has of course been beneficial to players, and some coaches have shared what their athletes have gained from the initiative and just why they are looking forward to the next stage.
Annelie Lukas, head coach for the Western Cape Stings, was one of them: “For me, as a coach, The Showcase has brought some light in a very dark time. It’s given our players something to work towards again, I know of kids who went into depression during the lockdown and The Showcase helped a lot with regards to giving them a goal to work towards again,” she said.
“It didn’t just help with the emotional side of things, but it also helped them keep in shape. It kept them going mentally and it helped with motivation and drive. We are so grateful for The Showcase, it is definitely something we’d want to be a part of next year as well. It builds players, not just physically but spiritually as well.”
MG Gallant, head of sport Groote Schuur High School Newlands added: “Our children have missed out on the chance to play sport in 2020. The Showcase is an opportunity at the high level for an ordinary young player who is at school. The event comes during a time where it is much needed, given the landscape of sport at schools, not just locally, but all over the world.
“Covid-19 is not going disappear from our lives and our daily routines overnight. The Showcase has taught us to become familiar with online engagement between the player and coach in order to keep players up to date with fitness in a fun and exciting way, even while not being socially interactive.
“During the next phase of the event, athletes will be given the opportunity to perform and showcase their skills at a live event. Scouts, recruiters and representative federations will be invited to review the Digital Combine Data and view the physical combine. This is exciting. However, what is promising for me as a sports practitioner is the opportunity for community development through the concept of The Showcase. When we are able to use the institution of sport as a tool to grow develop, transform and enhance the community, my attention is captured.”
For Michael Aucamp, Bellville High School educator and rugby coach, the fact that The Showcased provided athletes a goal to work towards was one of the big positives.
“I think the kids had the opportunity to compare their talent with their peers despite not being able to do it on the sports field. The Showcase made it possible for the kids to set targets to reach within two weeks before the next combine score had to be sent in. The kids could see what the top achiever received and they had something to work for,” he said.
“Most of the kids had training programs from their schools’ conditioning coaches. But it’s aimless to practice and there is no competition, especially at their age. Kids want to see results when they practice and want to work towards an end result. The Showcase gave them that opportunity.”
Phase Two will kick off at the Western Cape Cricket Club.