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!
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!
“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.
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!
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.
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
A fundamental role of a coach is to inspire young people! Which enables them to enjoy taking part in sport and physical activity, if we get this right and engage them correctly in the right environments, these children will become the next generation of sports fanatics, professional footballers in the Premiership, take to the field at Twickenham, make a century in India, run the third leg of the four by one hundred at the Olympics (don’t drop the baton).
The Majority of our children that we teach as coaches will not become super stars – but all of them will become a part of society it is our chance to influence them and make them into not just better sports players but more importantly better people- as the benefits of sport are far reaching beyond the physical side!
I have put together my top five ways to achieve GREAT coaching…
1. Creating the right environment with enjoyment at the heart of it.
2. Using child led learning to understand their mistakes.
3. Maximising every child’s contact time with equipment.
4. Winning is not everything and moving the focus onto good technique.
5. It is more important to develop the child as a person before the sport star.
So common mistakes that are made…
1. The main reason you’re there as a coach is to inspire young people, (keep this your focus).
2. Make sure don’t treat them as adults they are children.
3. Using catch phrases that reinforce bad practice, ‘if in doubt kick it out’.
4. Telling children the answer – let them discover their own answers.
5. Forgetting children develop at different rates and have different learning styles.
With the 2012 Olympics quickly approaching, the excitement is slowly building on what will be a momentous occasion for the whole of the UK, from the competing athletes to their adoring fans – let’s rejoice as the 2012 Olympics creep ever closer. The Olympics are also a perfect motivation for children to be more active and to get involved in sporting events…
All sports bring collective emotion, spirit and support, encouraging children to appreciate and work toward shared goals (quite literally!). But it’s not all about football, netball and basketball. Sport is more than just a ball or a racket, it’s an emotional hotpot. Think of footballers’ goal celebrations; racing car drivers spraying each other with winning champagne; even the fans – have you ever watched their faces during a game? We all show emotion and whatever your individual goal is my friend celebrate as it feels good, doesn’t it?
All competitive games have one ultimate aim: to win! Although it really is the taking part that counts and not just the final score, it’s the dream of winning which brings out fantastic qualities in us all – optimism, motivation, commitment and team spirit – all spurred on by adrenalin. Take a look at some of our country’s sporting greats hoping to compete in the next Olympics – Jessica Ennis, Kelly Sotherton, Mo Farrow, Chris Hoy, to name just a few – and let’s look to them for inspiration. Let’s take our shared excitement for the Olympic Games and turn it into something great! We are all just people – our heroes included – and we are all capable of achieving great things. But we don’t have to wait 298 days – START TODAY!
This Blog was written by guest blogger – Jessica Hardy-Pritchard
As the dust settles on another Wimbledon, and another year passes without a British winner, the autopsy begins into why Andy Murray was unable to make it to the Men’s Final, a lot has been spoke about whether Murray is mentally strong enough. From one set up, and winning 15-30 in the third game of the second set he missed an easy forehand which would have put him in a great position to win the second set – from that point on Murray lost the next seven games in a row, and went on to lose his semi-final with Rafael Nadal by 3 sets to 1.
What I would like to share with you a quote from Don McPherson a Bath based sports psychologist that summed up what happened to Murray very well. Don said; “The dominant force in all this is a thing the Chinese call the monkey mind, it’s the thing that constantly chatters and darts around in the mind like a monkey swinging through the jungle when things turn wrong. During the first set, Murray was playing subconsciously and the monkey mind had nothing to feed upon because everything was going right. But once he made that bad mistake with the forehand the monkey mind took over and kept jabbering to him that he better do things right again, which of course only served to heighten anxiety and make things worse. He began to play consciously.
“It’s a skill to be able to turn off the monkey mind and reclaim the subconscious state. In my view Andy Murray is not weak but he does need his brain tuning in order to control his monkey mind.”
So going forward Andy Murray’s biggest struggle is going to be with himself, and his ability to overcome his monkey mind. If he manages this, we may see a British winner at Wimbledon one day.