The South African Schools Hockey Association (Sashoc) said it welcomed the return of school sport.
“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 activities,” the organisation said.
Sashoc cited a policy brief released by the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) in September which outlined the benefits of physical activity in children.
“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 said.
However, Sashoc urged coaches and players to remain cautious and to follow the necessary health and safety guidelines.
“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,” they said.
The organisation encouraged coaches to conduct regular health screenings, ensure players washed their hands and wore their masks, enforce necessary physical distancing and kept accurate records to allow for infection tracking if needed.
It is important to remind sports organisers, coaches and players to do so responsibly
“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.
“SASHOC 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.”
Guidelines for how to mitigate risks have been published on the Sashoc website.