Rugby coach inspires players

Sergeant Zane Olckers.

A Fish Hoek police officer is changing the way high school pupils look at life.

Sergeant Zane Olckers has become a familiar face at Fish Hoek High School, where he has coached Grade 8 and 9 rugby for the past eight years.

But his coaching goes beyond the rugby field. He believes the fundamentals of life are discipline and respect and when you have that on the rugby field you have it off the field too.

He believes his calm approach towards players have made him gain their trust.

“Children are under so much pressure in high school and Covid-19 has not helped. Many of the players have asked me for advice on many issues in their lives in the past and I have given them advice,” he said.

He said his influence had resulted in positive feedback from the parents over the years and the feedback was “very rewarding”.

Sergeant Olckers attended Simon’s Town School where he played rugby for the first team and later played club rugby in Centurion followed by stints at the False Bay and Masiphumelele clubs.

He was approached by Fish Hoek High after he started attending the matches regularly after his brother-in-law told him the school needed a coach.

“I was thrilled when the school approached me,” he said.

Due to Covid-19, he said, the team could not do any rugby training except for ball skills and fitness until the end of February and since full practice has resumed three weeks ago his focus is on tactical defence and offence. He will be coaching the under-15s only as of the second term.

These skills, he said, went hand in hand with discipline and respect.

Fish Hoek station commander Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Johnson said Sergeant Olckers presented the Fish Hoek police in a positive manner in the community and his contribution to the community was invaluable.

“Boys are told from a young age that men don’t cry and they seldom talk about their feelings. Sergeant Olckers has managed to get them to open up and make a positive contribution to the future men in our community,” she said.

Fish Hoek High School deputy principal and head of sport, Steve Joubert, said Sergeant Olckers had made a significant contribution to rugby at the school during his time there. He had coached the junior teams with great success and was also a role model to the pupils.

“He teaches our boys about respect, honour, sportsmanship, leadership and responsibility, which are critical skills our young men need in our community today. He has a heart for serving and has given up his time to help us maintain our rugby equipment, cleaning of the sports pavilion and equipment care,” he said.

Mr Joubert said Sergeant Olckers was an excellent example to everyone as he was always giving back to the community.