The easing of South Africa’s adjusted lockdown regulations to alert level 1 has raised schools hockey’s prospects of returning to competition in the not-too-distant future.

The government has given the go-ahead for the resumption of contact sport training provided that all social distancing, hygiene and safety measures are observed and that there is no physical contact between participants during training.

The hockey fraternity as a whole is champing at the bit for some live action on the pitches around the country. At the same time, it is important to emphasise both the physical and mental benefits of physical activities.

According to a South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) policy brief regular exercise or physical activity in children and adolescents have been associated with significant health benefits. Exercise is critically important for their age-appropriate physical, social and emotional development needs, while physical activity in schools has been linked to improved academic performance.

“Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression,” SAMRC wrote in the policy brief on physical activity for children during COVID-19.

Other benefits include the reduced risk of children developing health conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. There is also growing evidence that physical activity can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve quality of life.

To that end, SA Schools Hockey Association (SASHOC) encourages aspiring young players and parents to find out from their local organisers or coaches about training sessions.

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SASHOC accredited coaches will help guide young players to ensure their return to the play is done safely and responsibly, ensuring they reap all the benefits associated with regular exercise and promote their development.

One of the modules within SASHOC’s coach education curriculum is risk assessment and creating a safe environment for the participants in line with public health measures.


The mitigating measures coaches have to follow include health screening, washing of hands, wearing masks, physical distancing, sanitising, and record-keeping for tracking purposes.

Coaches must conduct a thorough risk assessment and ensure the risk profile of activities are low, and ensure players maintain physical distancing while engaging in physical activities (three stick lengths in all directions at all times).

The current focus during training sessions is physical development, technical skills, tactical skills development, social interaction and emotional wellbeing.
SA SCHOOLS HOCKEY has published guidance on its website for coaches on how to mitigate the risks associated with returning to training during the global pandemic.

While SASHOC is delighted that young players can return to training, it is important to remind sports organisers, coaches, and players to do so responsibly. The return to training should be done in compliance with social distancing, hygiene and safety measures to prevent and curb the spread of COVID-19.

SA SCHOOLS HOCKEY appreciates the frustration and uncertainty around the delay to the return to play, but appeals for patience and are hopeful that we will soon be back enjoying the beautiful game as players, administrators, coaches and supporters.
For guidance to coaches visit click here.


Visit the SASHOC website for more information about the return to play protocols and new developments around schools hockey.