Inaugural African Sport Leadership Programme bridges the gap between research and practical application

Annette Willemse -- Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:31

Inaugural African Sport Leadership Programme bridges the gap between research and practical application

In another first for the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal), the Department of Sport and Recreation (within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology) recently hosted the first-ever rendition of the African Sport Leadership Programme. 

The programme – also referred to as the ASLP, successfully aimed to unite researchers within the field of sport and recreation, administrators, sportsmen-and women as well as professional governing bodies from across the continent. The organisers of the event – Dr Chrisna Botha-Ravyse and Ms Bianca Els, both from the Department of Sport and Recreation, explain that the programme represents a tailor-made, needs-based leadership growth series that emphasise the importance of the development and empowerment of individuals to champion the implementation of sport (and physical activity related interventions) as partners of multi-sectoral groups and teams operating on various levels. In short: bridging the gap between academic expertise and practical skills application by means of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

The event, which took place at Khaya iBhubesi in Parys (Free State), saw experts from a wide range of disciplines sharing their expertise and experience with delegates. These experts included: Heinz and Stephan Neethling (whole brain training), Prof Babs Surujlal (performance appraisals for sport coaches), Terseus Liebenberg (Olympic javelin coach), Dr Elrie Botha (emotional intelligence), Dr Chrisna Botha-Ravyse (communication), Ms Nerice Swanepoel (doping and supplement use) and, Ms Bianca Els (industrial psychologist).  Other topics up for discussion included leadership, cultural intelligence, motivation, psychological wellbeing and ethics.

The power couple Annelize and Sheldon Rostron acted as ambassadors for the inaugural event and as international hockey umpires, high performance coaches and trainers themselves this husband and wife duo shared invaluable information with young up-and-coming coaches.

Some of the delegates pictured with Heinz and Stephan Neethling (in front, right)

ASLP set to become an annual event

According to Dr Botha-Ravyse the ASLP is set to become an annual event. “It is important for us to establish research collaborators within Africa, since the experience – in terms of sport administration, governance and even participation, are similar to that in South Africa. It would therefore be counterproductive to try and compare – in terms of research, the impact of sport and recreation, between South Africa and continents like Europe,” explains Dr Botha-Ravyse. She further states that Sports Science in Africa is still – relatively speaking, in its infancy. “By means of this programme we wish to continue to bridge the gap between research and practical application and impact thereof within the field of sport and recreation,” adds Ms Els and says that the discipline in which sport and recreation exist represents a multi-dimensional and intertwined labyrinth of medicine, physiology, nutrition, psychology and biomechanics to mention but a few.

What makes the ASLP unique is the fact that it does not be presented as a conference, but rather as an interactive presentation which saw participants rolling-up their sleeves to take part in a variety of activities aimed to not only inform but also to stimulate debate and dialogue around issues impacting on sport science in Africa. 

Dr Elrie Botha Mr Terseus Liebenberg
Sheldon Rostron Dr Chrisna Botha-Ravyse



Vaal Triangle Campus
Hendrik van Eck Boulevard Vanderbijlpark
South Africa