14 August 2017

From the Head of Senior School

Personal Bests

At the PSA Inter-School swimming championship held on Thursday 10 March, there were 76 personal best times achieved by Scotch swimmers. This is a remarkable effort and highlighted the determination and endeavour made by all of the boys who swam as part of the Scotch College team.

There are many lessons to be taken from the outstanding efforts of the boys. These include:

  1. Personal bests do not happen by accident. A personal best, regardless of the pursuit, is the culmination of hard work, attention to detail, expert coaching, sacrifice and a determined mindset. In the case of the Scotch College swim team and the Scotch rowers who competed in the Head of the River this past weekend, the large crowds cheering the boys on were only witnessing the final product. The years of training, most of it done early in the morning before many of us have left home for the day, occurred out of sight and out of mind.
  2. Personal bests promote improvement and development. Our previous best time, score or result serves as the goal making the goal both challenging and achievable - we have done it before but it will take our best effort to improve the result.
  3. Personal bests provide great reward. Some of our greatest rewards in life are experienced when we overcome a challenge that required a great deal of effort. Remember the sense of satisfaction, pride and relief you experienced when you achieved something that was challenging.
  4. Personal bests promote mastery rather than comparison with others. A focus on your own performance places you in control of your goal. If boys spend too much time looking sideways at their competition and not focusing on their own path in front of them, they may fall into a pothole that lies just ahead.
  5. Everyone can succeed when they aim to beat their personal best.

While personal bests are often associated with sport, they apply equally to non-sporting fields, for example, achieving a higher grade on an assessment piece or examination, expending greater effort on a current assignment than on any previous assignment or performing a piece of music better than you have ever done before.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to an opportunity that exists for the community to support a very important cause. The Matipwili village in Tanzania is a community that Scotch College boys and staff have been supporting over a number of years, most notably with the construction of a trade centre for the young people of the village. On Friday, 1 April, Scotch College is co-hosting an African Beach Party that raises important funds for the Matipwili community. I encourage parents to support this event. Details can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.

Dr Rob McEwan

Head of Senior School