Madibaz coaches Cheslyn Gie and Jenny Kingwill returned from the Tokyo Olympics with some valuable lessons under their belts as they continue to mould the young sportsmen and women of South Africa.
Gie, the Madibaz Sport hockey manager, was assistant coach to the men’s hockey team, while Kingwill took charge of the long jumpers in the track and field programme.
The hockey team proved to be extremely competitive in their group and registered a first-ever 4-3 win over ace European outfit Germany.
The jumpers – Ruswahl Samaai and Cheswill Johnson – did not make the final of their event, which Kingwill said was an illustration of the competitive nature of elite sport.
Gie said he hoped the famous win over the Germans would prove inspiring for the hockey community.
“The support and positive messages that flowed from that victory were wonderful and hopefully we have motivated more people to take up our beautiful game,” he said.
“It was a great reward for the players who have worked so hard to achieve something like that.”
While only winning one match, he put their improved performances down to meticulous preparation.
“We had very good game plans for our specific opponents and the players stuck to those tactics and backed themselves,” said Gie.
“Mentally I think the players were in a good space as we worked hard on our team culture and set ourselves goals.”
He said they had improved their counterattack and became comfortable spending large amounts of time without the ball.
“But we also learnt that we have to spend more time on our defensive strategies and to understand how to break down a press.”
Gie added that he was excited about passing some of his knowledge onto the Madibaz team, which he coaches.
“We have already implemented some of the lessons learnt at our training sessions. It’s important that we grow with the sport and stay abreast of the modern trends and playing systems.”
He felt the country had a good crop of youngsters coming through the system that should be nurtured and guided as they would form a large part of the SA hockey team going forward.
“We set some good standards at the Olympics and we should build on this and strive to be even better.”
Kingwill said their targets in Tokyo were to make the long jump final and then to seek a spot on the podium.
“Unfortunately, Cheswill developed a soft tissue ankle injury during the week of preparation in Tokyo and subsequently withdrew during the heats.
“The eternal lesson is that anything can and will happen at the Olympic Games. Dreams are both realised and shattered, and even the best-laid plans do not always work out.”
The experienced coach added that a decent recovery period was needed from the rigours of preparation for an occasion such as the Olympics.
“We need a good break from the tough physical and mental regime of training month in and month out,” she added.
“A physical rest day does not mean a psychological rest day. There must be a time to recover and to re-engage the hunger and passion for training and competition.”