Hi there, my name is Jacinta and I am currently a Year 9 student at The Royal School Wolverhampton.
Like many students, I first experienced rounder’s whilst in primary school in after school clubs (when the weather permitted) and as part of our PE lessons during the summer months. I recall standing with the bat and swinging at the ball like a helicopter blade and as a fielder chasing the ball as a pack, throwing the ball to anyone who could catch it or happened to be in the way. This was my initial taste of rounder’s and I enjoyed playing as a fielder between 2nd and 3rd base as well as batting. It was also a sport that allowed me to be competitive against other teams and begin to establish myself as a team player.
The transition to year 7 is where rounder’s developed into a sport rather than an activity in my eyes. Curriculum lessons focused on teaching positional play and team strategies rather than the more relaxed way we played in primary school. It was also when I realised that being a ‘lefty’ really works in my favour when batting! I was selected for the year 7 school team and worked hard to develop my skills as a fielder and a batter. The challenge for me during the season was developing an appreciation of everyone’s role in the team – so our teacher allowed us try out in all fielding positions. This is when I discovered I had the potential to be a good bowler. I had extra-curricular training sessions with my team and the year above. My teacher identified I had talent and I was put on the gifted and talented list and allowed to represent my school in the age group above too. I loved the challenge of playing against other school teams. Going to other venues for tournaments also allowed us to bond as a team and to be honest, as a group of girls on an away game, we had enough time to sort out all the problems we had in the world (usually related to homework!). Games came thick and fast and before I knew it, the season was over!
In year 8 I was rewarded with a recommendation for the National Trials by my PE teacher. Although unsuccessful, it became obvious at the trials just how popular rounder’s is across the country at school and club level – follow Rounders England on twitter and you will soon realise how big the sport is! The knock back made me more determined to do better in future.
This year – year 9 – with the support of my teacher and a school team, that is now well established, we compete against schools within the city on a weekly schedule. The support of The Royal School PE teachers, especially Mrs Ingerfield-Lapsley, and my Year 9 teammates have played a crucial part in why I was selected to represent England being selected in the Under 14 elite squad, as a batter and one of two bowlers. To date we have played 7 matches, winning them all. England fixtures have taken me all over the country as well as an international fixture in Guernsey.
Rounder’s is definitely more than hitting a ball – it is about developing skills such as communication, team work and leadership, coaching and supporting one another, developing strategies and strengths whilst ironing out weaknesses. It is also a great way to make and build friendships.
England Under 14 Elite Squad and a Year 9 Royal School Wolverhampton Rounder’s Team Player