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January 30, 2013

Sport can help with social skills

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Introducing children to team sports, can help to hone their social and personal skills in an enjoyable, yet challenging environment.

The camaraderie that you get from being part of a team can have a really positive impact on children; they learn how to work with others and communicate towards team goals, it can raise their self-confidence and self-esteem.

All the skills that children learn from playing sport; they will retain for the rest of their life, and they will also make friends for life too.

These life skills will be crucial in securing employment, in an ever competitive job market, a person who has the ability to build rapport with other people, can communicate with effectiveness and build relationships; stands a far better chance of securing employment.

There have also been studies that show that emotional intelligence is far more important than IQ in being able to build relationships (I feel another topic on the cards) which would obviously help with interviews and in a workplace environment.

So in summary, sport is a great vehicle to promote young peoples social skills!

December 5, 2012

Freddie: ‘the boxer’

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When it was announced that Andrew Flintoff or ‘Freddie’ as he is more commonly known, would be entering into the boxing ring, a few raised eye brows were certainly made.

Freddie Flintoff who was without doubt one of the most natural gifted cricketer’s England has ever produced, but certainly no-boxer! (or so we thought) If he wasn’t in the headlines for his cricketing ability, it would more likely be for his ‘boozing’, not always the perfect role model for a sportsmen!

But on Friday the 30th November 2012 at the MEN arena, Freddie made his boxing debut against American: Richard Dawson – following 4 months of intensive training under the stewardship of Barry Mcguigan and his son Shane.

Even though Freddie was victorious, he has come in for fierce criticism from certain quarters of the boxing fraternity, branding the fight a ‘farce’ and ‘circus’. Putting aside the criticism he has received, I think Freddie should be paid some respect, as he demonstrated the discipline required to become a professional boxer, the personal sacrifices he made in conditioning himself physically and mentally to enter into a boxing ring, and the desire to step out of his comfort zone and place his head above the parapet—for this he has to be applauded!

Does Freddie, have a career in boxing; very unlikely! But he would probably agree with us all there.

What he will have gained from the whole experience is a huge amount of respect for professional boxers; who sacrifice years of their life to the noble art.

And finally, Freddie: well done, in setting yourself a goal and achieving it! I think you now deserve a pint or two of your favourite amber nectar!

November 5, 2012

Let’s get competitive…

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There has been talk from the Prime Minister recently about re-introducing competitive sport into schools, and I completely echo these thoughts. I believe a move away from the ‘prizes for all’ culture that has been created over previous years would be a positive step towards improvement in school sport.

A society that discourages winners is not the breading ground for competitive champions, nor is this preparation for the reality of life – where we all face many challenges.

The Olympics highlighted how competitive sport teaches you all that is important in life: the discipline, the teamwork and the focus that is required to be successful; all children can take something from this.

Less academic pupils in schools should be given a platform to showcase their own ability, and if this means they’re the ‘winner’ of a 60 metre race, allow them to celebrate this, give them a pat on the back or even a medal as a badge of achievement. Those children who can, should be given the chance to do, and we should all embrace this.

I challenge all schools to bring back competitive sport— don’t wait for government policy; go and make contact with your local school to arrange a Football or Netball match, and let’s celebrate competitive sport!

October 9, 2012

OPPORTUNITIES is the starting point for many Primary Schools…

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Following two recent reports that were televised on Sky Sports and ITV—which debated: School Sport and the Olympic Legacy.

I thought I would share my two pennies worth. For what that’s worth!

A root to branch approach when looking at School Sport is the answer, “Yes” there needs to be continued funding available for elite athletes and NGB’s… But the starting point for any kind of organic legacy has to be in our Primary Schools: more government funding is required, teachers need more than 6 hours initial PE training and more specialist coaches available to work in Primary Schools.

As a really great coach will succeed in providing aspiration and inspiration to children. There is often complaints of lack of resources and space in many Primary Schools— but a great coach will overcome these obstacles to be the real game changer.

In my opinion; “There needs to be a specialist PE teacher in every Primary School.”

And without coming across too partisan, private companies like; Progressive Sports, can be the answer to giving children a positive first experience of PE. We can often sometimes be over looked in the whole debate, due to our staff not having qualified teacher status—but the reality is many coaches have all the skills, and more, required to provide excellent teaching, coupled with a real passion for their craft.

Lets stand up and work together with a clear outcome of improving School Sport, without opportunities for our children to experience high quality PE, the results of any kind of implementation will be patchy. There will be debate from Government, the Youth Sports Trusts, Sport England, NGB’s and School Sports Partnerships alike on how this can be achieved.

However, Headteachers and those of us that can make an impact today in our Primary Schools, need to take action, and to provide even the most rudimentary amount of opportunities for children to experience sport has to be the least we can do.

Without our children being able to have opportunities. How do we hope to unearth the next Olympic Champion?

September 20, 2012

From adversity…

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The Paralympics embodied the word DETERMINATION, with every athlete’s story as strong as the next.
One athlete’s story that captured this fully was Martine Wright, who participated for the GB Paralympics Volleyball Team.

On 6th July 2005 she was out with friends celebrating the announcement that London was to host the 2012 Olympic Games. The following day her life changed forever, what should have been a normal commute to work… was not so, the events of 7/7: a sickening and senseless act of terrorism, changed Martine’s life forever!

Martine Wright was left in a coma for 10 days, and in hospital for 10 months. She had both legs amputated above the knee, but she insists “I was the lucky one… now embarking on my dream.”

We can all learn from the positive response that Martine had, and from all our Paralympics athletes – who have quite rightly been given the label of SUPER-HUMANS. When we are faced with adversity and dealt one of life’s many obstacles… remind yourself: that this is all part of the challenge of life, go toe to toe with your adversity, as the human spirit has an amazing resilience!

September 13, 2012

Minority Sports receive a boost!

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Following the undoubted success of London 2012, there has been huge demand in less known sports, compared with prior to the games, sports such as; Handball, Fencing, Gymnastics and Volleyball are now seeing an up-surge in children eager to participate in these sports.

What the Olympics did brilliantly was showcase a wide variety of sports, and highlight to children there are different sports for them to experience – outside of the more traditional sports such as Football, Rugby and Tennis. Where the major challenge lies, will be with Governing Bodies, clubs and schools to create good club links, and viable pathways for children to access these minority sports.

And without doubt these minority sports need to be prepared to handle and sustain the wave of enthusiasm for children to participate, and help to develop and nurture the next generation of Olympic Champions!

August 6, 2012

The inspiration is real!

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“Inspire a generation” is the tag line for the London 2012 Olympics, and is about leaving a legacy for generations to come, and inspiring young people to choose sport. On what has been labelled Super Saturday, team GB scooped 6 Gold medals in one day – their most successful day of Olympic competition for over 100 years. The scenes of sheer joy on the faces of all the medal winners and witnessing the importance and significance of the occasion is a true inspiration to us all.

The Olympics have so far has proven to be what we had all hoped: an inspiration to children all around the UK. Having someone to look up to, a real poster boy/girl, acts as an inspiration to a new generation of sports people, to take the first step and join a local athletics club, cycling club or pick up that tennis racket!

Keep calm and carry on TEAM GB as your inspiration is real. Allow yourself to dream, follow that goal, and you too could be on the podium with “god save our queen” as the perfect backing track.

June 8, 2012

England expect’s or not?

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As the curtain is about to be lifted on England’s Euro 2012 campaign on Monday, what are England’s chances of Euro success?

I don’t know if anybody else feels like they have a lack of anticipation going into the Euro’s, whether it is with the Olympics this year or fans resigning themselves to England’s inevitable early exit… and that why get excited attitude – “as they always let us down!”

England has arguably one of the toughest groups, there is no Rooney for the first two games, a new manager, and there are doubts over who should play upfront in Rooney’s absence for the first two games! “Does England expect or not?”

There is no doubt, as soon as they kick off on Monday evening against France – that it will be hard to suppress those thoughts of potentially witnessing England winning an International tournament, and being part of a national out pouring of sheer joy that would inevitably follow!

Without getting too carried away… a final rallying cry will be heard on Monday at 5pm from every lounge and pub across the country – “Come on ENGLAND!” make us proud!

April 15, 2012

The NOT so grand, Grand National

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All the best and the worst of the Grand National were on show yesterday. The closest finish in the 165 years of the race brought the grey, Neptune Collonges a memorable victory.

The emotions of the victory were over shadowed by two more deaths to the Grand National death toll – Synchronised rode by A P McCoy and According to Pete sadly both suffered fractures from which they had to be put down. There has now been consecutive Grand National with two fatalities, is the search for National glory worth the price of life?

The responsibility lies with the powers that be to make the Grand National safer for both horse and jockey. The three main factors, in what makes the Grand National dangerous are;

1, The field of 40 is four or five times the size of a typical national hunt race
2, Many of the 30 fences are far higher than on any other course increasing the risk of a fatal fracture
3, The race is over four and a half miles, almost twice the normal distance

Aintree racecourse have released a statement emphasising the changes which were made since last year’s race, and reintegrating their intention to look at further changes. That will not be enough to satisfy certain critics of the race. The national has reached a crossroads – its survival should most certainly not be taken for granted.

January 27, 2012

An “Insiders” journey to London 2012…

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Progressive Sports South East London dance teacher Kelly-Ann Fry is casted in 2012 Olympics closing ceremony!

Her Journey begins here:-

“In September I was lucky enough to receive an email stating I had been accepted to audition for a dance role in the ceremonies. When I arrived on that first day there were over 200 people in the room and I knew auditions were going on for over a month with over 600 dancers auditioning a day! Then I realised how many people clearly wanted to be a part of the ceremonies and realised this is the Olympics London 2012 after all – it is HUGE! – Once this audition had finished we were told it would take 8 weeks to hear whether you were successful for the 2nd stage of auditions.

It seemed like ages until I finally received an email in November, stating I had been successful and needed to attend a 2nd audition. Again in my audition alone there were over 200 people. The choreographers showed us the routine we would be learning, that is when for the first time my nerves really kicked in. The routine was very challenging and needed to be learnt quickly! I think I did okay! But you still come away wondering if there was any more I could have given! After this audition I had another 8 weeks of waiting before finding out whether on not I would be selected to dance in either the opening or closing ceremony.

Over Christmas and New Year I had by then convinced myself that I had been unsuccessful. When it got to 9 weeks after the audition I resigned myself to hearing my fate and rang the casting offices to see why I hadn’t heard from them – expecting the worst but still wondering if they would let you know either way if you had a role or not. They told me that if I did not hear by the 20th to ring them back again.

Then on 20th January – I received an email to say ‘Congratulations your have been selected to be in the closing ceremony of the Olympics’. I could not believe I was going to be a part of the Biggest event of 2012!

This is where my journey beginnings, rehearsals start in May. I’ll be blogging my progress and experience – watch this space!” Kelly-Ann Fry

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