The State of Play

I think it’s fair to say as a nation and as a School, we love our sport. As fierce advocates for the promotion of women in sport, Girls Grammar has a long and proud history of challenging the status quo when it comes to ensuring girls have the same opportunities to engage in physical activity and competitive sport as their brothers.

As a school, it was our innovative spirit in 1908, which alongside Somerville House and St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, laid the foundation for the formation of the QGSSSA, 10 years before the GPS competition was established. Individual achievements spanning our first 135 years are celebrated in the wonderful book, To become fine Sportswomen, by Manager of History and Culture, and former Dean of School and Head of Physical Education, Mrs Pauline Harvey-Short (1971). The amazing achievements of our more recent athletes continue to add to this impressive record of which we are rightfully proud. We love our sport. So how do we deliver sport and keep our community physically active amidst COVID-19?

With government regulations limiting gatherings and establishing physical contact protocols, sporting bodies around Australia found themselves in the unprecedented position of having to suspend their competitive and training seasons. School sporting associations echoed these decisions, and it was inevitable that QGSSSA cancelled all sporting fixtures and training sessions for Term 2. When communicating this news to our community, the implications of COVID-19 became very ‘real’ for me personally, and I know many of our girls were numb when they first heard the news. We certainly appreciate what we have when it is suddenly no longer available to us.

What we have not lost though, is our spectacular staff. Our Director of Sport, Ms Jo Duffy, and indeed all of our Sport staff deeply value the rich learning inherent in co-curricular sporting and fitness experiences, and their creative thinking around how best to deliver a program at this time, has led to innovation. While we must acknowledge it is impossible to replicate the School experience remotely, new ways for students to engage have emerged, which is exciting and energising.

During the holidays, a number of At-Home Workouts were posted on the Minerva Remote Learning page, and three new routines continue to be added to this each week. This has created a fairly robust catalogue of activities for girls to select from when considering their health goals for the day. Often led by our own Sport staff, these workouts educate students about correct technique, while also getting their heart rate up. Livestreamed and led by two Student Council members each morning, girls have been able to maintain their fitness and connect with each other socially, as remote members of the one fitness team.

Run Fit, Netball Fit and Rowing Fit programs are providing specific training routines for squads each week, allowing girls to focus on key skill development and foundational drills so that when we return to school, girls are as ready. Rhythmic Gymnastics stretching, fundamental skills and routine videos are under development, so girls who are anticipating trialing on return to school can be best prepared for their season. Upcoming Athletics-specific technique videos will also be released in the near future. In an evolving space for our Cross Country team, Metropolitan North is also exploring a virtual Cross Country Championship.

For those looking to improve their general fitness, RunFit Zoom sessions are held two mornings each week, and like the At-Home Workouts, are available for all students on Minerva. For those looking for exercise at a different pace or of a different style, Yoga, Qi-Gong, and the Five Tibetans workouts, as well as a number of Mindfulness activities, are also available on the Minerva Remote Learning page.

Ms Ellena Papas
Dean of Co-curriculum