Category Archives: Sport

Hi-tech software to assist future sports stars

For the very first time in South Africa, amateurs and young athletes have the opportunity to make use of iTrainer, an online video analysis tool which has been in the past limited to professionals.

This provides future sports stars the chance to not merely get closer to their heroes, but to in fact be trained by them as well.

The iTrainer is run by PowerChalk, a web-based sports motion telestrator – a system that enables the user to draw a sketch over a video image.

Individuals can upload videos of their sports moves using their desktop or laptop computer or mobile phone, after which you can obtain feedback, that comes with voice-over and mark-up, from world-class athletes online.


Amongst the 34 South African sportsmen and women who have decided to offer their time, knowledge and expertise are Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Roland Schoeman, golf stalwart Dale Hayes, Proteas cricketers Albie and Morne Morkel and Springbok rugby players Victor Matfield and Morné Steyn.

Speaking at the release of iTrainer in June, Schoeman stated the technology makes it possible for young athletes to analyse their range of motion frame-by-frame, as a result furnishing them with beneficial insight into their technique.



Schoeman added that he felt confident that he would likely have realized success years earlier, had he been exposed to the technology earlier.

Thus far, the initiative continues to be appreciated amongst the local sports fraternity, with the iTrainer website logging in excess of 1 000 hits in its first two days.


Assisting young athletes to improve their game

Veteran South African golfer Nico Van Rensburg was first encouraged to get involved with iTrainer mainly because it was an opportunity to give back to South Africa’s schoolchildren who would like to boost their game.

He explained that the iTrainer will also help young athletes avoid travelling and coaching costs. “Coming from a small town, my mom and dad were forced to travel long distances in order to take me to my lessons. It cost a lot,” he said.


Van Rensburg, a 1999 Volvo Masters champion and winner of nine international tournaments, has helped bring on board 18 other champion golfers, who are going to be on hand to assist golfers make improvements to fundamental techniques such as grip, stance, posture and swing.

Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn mentioned that he, like many professional rugby players, trains for approximately five hours and afterwards doesn’t have much to do – now he is able to basically turn on his laptop and provide 20 to 30 lessons a day.


Making sports coaching accessible

Van Rensburg pointed out that there are programs to broaden the iTrainer initiative later this year.

At the moment the iTrainer caters for athletes involved in cricket, rugby, swimming, hockey, golf, netball and tennis.


Having said that, Van Rensburg pointed out that football will in the near future be on that list, as iTrainer is on the brink of adding top Bafana Bafana stars to their undoubtedly extraordinary line-up of coaches. General wellness assistance is at the same time on the cards.

In order to spread the word, coaches and facilitators intend to travel to a wide variety of schools following the mid-year holidays to provide one-on-one lessons to interested pupils. They will in addition offer incentives for individuals who subscribe.

Something for everyone

The program is sold in two bundles. The first is Powerchalk Plus which costs $49 (R338) per year. This makes it possible for the user to upload and store up to 100 videos, watch and record five minutes of video analysis, and participate in audio conferencing.

The Powerchalk Pro package offers the same services as the Plus but also permits the user to store up to 500 videos, watch and record 10 minutes of video analysis, provide dual view and split screen options, and create groups. This latter package is sold for $99 (R667) a year.





New sport program for SA schools

The Department of Sport and Recreation is intending to launch a program, generally known as School Sport, to ensure that active involvement of several sporting codes in all schools throughout the country.

Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed this in Parliament while delivering his budget policy statement.

Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula


“We are going to be starting School Sport before the end of June, immediately after officially signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Basic Education.

“Our fervent objective is to make sure that there exists sport in every single school in South Africa, which will culminate into a National Olympics Championship every year,” he said.

As outlined by Mbalula, all strategic stakeholders, including trade unions, universities and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), are all on board.



He further reiterated that his department is going to proceed to resolve and stabilise Boxing South Africa, beginning with the appointment of a brand new board in the near future. Having said that, Mbalula stated that they have formerly appointed Mandla Qithi, as the new CEO of Boxing SA.

“What we present to this House today is a Budget Policy Statement characterised by shrinkage from R1.255 billion in 2009/2010 to R802 million in the 2011/2012 financial year.

“Aggregated, in 2007/2008 financial year it stood at R5 billion, and to date, it stands at R802 million — an annualised decrease of about 40 percent,” he said.

The 2011 Budget allocates an additional R205.7 million over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.


For more information, contact the Department of Sport and Recreation directly:

Postal Address: Private Bag X896, Pretoria, 0001
Physical Address: Regent Building, Corner of Vermeulen & Queen street, Pretoria
Telephone number: (012) 304-5000

Source: BuaNews,


World Coaches Academy at Wits

South Africa’s Johannesburg-based University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and the Netherlands government have joined forces to create a World Cup legacy programme to develop social and football skills in the southern African region.

Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB), the Dutch football association, saw the need to revolutionise school-level football development in South Africa and decided to make Wits the home of the first World Coaches Academy in the country.

As part of conditions set for the Netherlands team to use the university as a training camp for its 2010 Fifa World Cup preparations, the team was required to present a legacy project that would run long after the tournament. The team formulated two projects. The first was to extend the World Coaches Academy to southern Africa, and the second the laying of a brand new astro pitch to develop Wits’ youth programme in Johannesburg’s inner-city area of Hillbrow.

“The Wits World Coaches Academy will see 1 000 coaches in the southern African region trained as life-skills mentors and coaches,” says Yunus Ballim, the Wits vice-chancellor in charge of academic affairs.

“The academy is a well-established programme in Holland and it seeks to improve the relationship between football and social development. The World Coaches programme launching at Wits has a new dimension and that is the life-skills element.”

The university has a proud tradition of football, and is home to the “Clever Boys”, the Bidvest Wits FC Premier Soccer League team.

Wits academics Ruksana Osman, Norman Duncan, Eric Worby and Demitri Constantinou have partnered with colleagues from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to develop a curriculum for the life-skills component of the initiative.

Ballim will meet with the deputy vice-chancellors from the Universities of Zambia and Mozambique this week to get their institutions involved in the project.

“Our intention is to focus on soccer as social development rather than develop players who will play for premier leagues around the world,” Ballim says. “And that is why we are going to try and focus on teachers in rural and township schools who will become the coaches trained by the World Coaches programme.”

The primary aim is to see teachers going back to their schools to develop the lifeskills of their students. The skills taught will include how to deal with crime, poverty and social power relations, and how to take advantage of opportunities for learning.

“If we can reach 1 000 coaches in four years, I think we can make an enormous contribution,” Ballim says. Wits will be the academic coordinator and base for the training programme. There will, however, be delivery sites that will reach out to the 1 000 people throughout the southern African region.

KNVB have proposed to lay an astro pitch at Sturrock park stadium where the coaches from Wits will be trained and will also improve facilities where the lifeskills lectures will take place.

“Sturrock Park will become a soccer-knowledge precinct. In other words, it will be about the knowledge about soccer and also knowledge about the role of soccer in community development,” says Ballim.

The programme will also be used as a research, learning and teaching structure, and Ballim encourages Wits students to take part in the initiative.