Sports & Homeopathy

Using homeopathy in professional sports? Why would they do that?

The sports calendars are now around the clock. Some professional footballers have very little opportunity to rest and repair from an injury While medical drugs have their place, most players would try and stay away from them for the following reasons:

– some painkillers or other medications can make you test positive to doping.
– taking painkillers regularly is not a long-term option. Many players have reported that drugs’ injections have triggered recurrent injuries and even wrecked their careers.
– painkillers are toxic and one of the most leading cause of acute poisoning: for example, Paracetamol toxicity is the foremost cause of acute liver failure in the Western world and liver failure death in the UK.

While this topic rarely makes the news, it is important to understand that professional sportsmen and women had to develop techniques that did not rely on chemical drugs, and this includes homeopathy.

So who uses homeopathy in sports?

A few sports team in the UK have embraced homeopathy. Nelsons, a provider of homeopathic products in the UK will support several English Olympics Teams, such as the women’s beach volleyball. Also, it is claimed that half of Premier League clubs are customers of Welleda, another provider of Homeopathic products.

Doctor Jean-Marcel Ferret, doctor to the French soccer team that won one World Cup and one European Cup has this to say about homeopathy: “I am a doctor that uses homeopathy and not a homeopath. When using homeopathy directly on the soccer field, I find that the results are almost immediate”.

And finally, the Germans teams are also of course big fans as this articles shows – and who would not trust Germans in terms of efficient ways to treat injuries?

Simple advice that you can follow when you play sports

To reduce the risk of injury, there are 3 golden rules:

– stretch as much and as often as you can, and especially every morning when you wake up – cats and children do that first thing, and adults should do as well!
– drink plenty of water on a regular basis and follow a diet specific to your genetic & metabolic type. Please contact me if you want more information.
– whatever your level, follow a practice plan that will keep you away from injury. It can also be good to have a personal trainer. If you are unsure, contact me.

Finally, if injury hits, have a homeopathic first-aid kit. Arnica 30C is a good homeopathic remedy for any kind of injury, and the first to take whatever happens as it will trigger a healing process. Rhus Tox and Ruta are very helpful for muscular and tendon sprains. I recommend people to have some in their cabinet, and take a few pills whenever needed. No side-effects, safe for childen and you will still test negative in anti-doping tests.

However, since discovering the German Traumeel Cream, I now do not bother and suggest people to just use Traumeel. It has all the necessary homeopathic remedies and nourishing nutrients to generate healing at muscular and skin levels… it event helps people with bruise and mosquito bites. Heel’s Traumeel Cream is made by a German pharmaceutical company specialising in homeopathic products, and their product is by far the best on the market. I have seen competitive players coming back to routine training after just a few days of a bad injury, and a lot of customers in my practice now swear by it. Please contact me if you want more information. For any serious injury, it is better to consult a health practitioner.

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Start The Samba Early

Having just watched England comfortably beat Moldova 5-0 in the first qualifying match for the World cup finals in Brazil 2014 its time to Que the hopes and expectations, the dare to dream and mutter the words “we could win the World cup”. There is only one problem with this? I said this for the World cups in South Africa, Germany, Japan and South Korea and probably France in 1998. So why should this qualifying and World cup be any different? Or will it be the usual that we qualify scrape through to the quarter finals and eventually get knocked out on penalties (and probably to the Germans).

Well the facts speak for themselves. At this very moment in time England lie third in the Fifa World rankings, The highest we have ever reached since Fifa rankings began. We have an English manager in Roy Hodgson, The only English manager who has taken over the national team with actual international managerial experience, and yet to be beaten in 90 minutes of play as England manager. England also have a balance in the team with experience and youth. The old guard of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole who were once described as “past it” in the middle of last season by some media critics went on to show that they still have a lot to offer by winning the Champions league with Chelsea. This experience can offer a lot to the new talent braking through into the team with Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain making a claim to be in the starting eleven and none more so then their performance in Moldova. Having both started the game due to squad injuries they knew this could be their chance to show the manager what they had to offer in a competitive match and they did exactly that from kick off. The pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wing and attacking threat of Cleverley playing just behind Jermaine Defoe was more then enough to spring a new life into the the England style of play. This was backed up Frank Lampard a real professional in the centre of the park who had this to say after the game. “They’re are brilliant, of course they’re are good enough.’ he told ITV1 “Tom is a pleasure to play with and with him being such a young age, he’s going to be right in the middle of the team for years to come.” He also had this to say on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain “Alex was brilliant. He lit up the first half and it’s great to see players like that coming through.”

As we all know Moldova are not the power house in international football and being ranked only 141 in the world behind St Vincent and the Grenadines actually puts things into perspective. As the qualifying period continues we will be playing a harder standard of football, with the likes of Poland and Ukraine in our group but as you can only beat what is in front of you and the England team did exactly that. With the ground only having a 10.500 capacity and the pitch not exactly being up to the Wembley standard the stage was set for a shock upset. With that in mind England had the perfect start when they were awarded a penalty after only three minutes for a handball which Frank Lampard converted to settle down the enthusiastic home crowd. Then on 29 minutes Lampard got his and England’s second and with Defoe adding a third just minutes later it was safe to say the game was won by half time. With James Milner and a very deflected free kick form Everton’s Leighton Baines adding to the scoreline in the second half, it was certainly a great start to kick off the group stages. So we now look towards the game Tuesday night at home against Ukraine which i will be attending and which i have no doubt will be a sterner test for England, the objectives will still be the same. With an expectant 90.000 England fans at Wembley and Roy Hodgson still being judged on every match if the squad can put on another impressive and attacking performance and with a clean sheet then there is no reason why England cant stay top of group H before the next round of games take place.

Im not saying we will win every group game and that every performance will be top draw. This is England we don’t do things the easy way, but if we can build up a winning mentality and qualify comfortably for the finals in Brazil then it will certainly give us an edge as the team come up against the best in world football. Of course if England do these things and do get through the group easily then the pressure will be on England to transfer those performances and win the World cup. That is a stigma that is attached to every England team weather it is the World Cup or European Championships, but this is because we are an expectant sporting nation with football being our national sport with world class English players and in truth 1966 was too long ago. So lets just say the England world cup winning wagon is setting off and i am first on board and there is plenty of room if you want to jump on board and join me.

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The Olympic Legacy

They hope that the London 2012 games will have ‘inspired a generation,’ and I do believe that the impact of the games has been much larger than anticipated, and what it has highlighted is that Sport can make a difference. For as long as I can remember subjects such as sport, music and dance have been seen as ‘extra-curricular’. Sure certain schools have a larger focus than others, but at my school you couldn’t even do P.E. GCSE. The real shame is that Sport, music, dance and art can really make a difference as well.

To use my own experience, I was a shy, easily embarrassed kid- with a big voice. I wanted to sing, but to perform was very daunting. However, once I started, my confidence just grew and grew, and now I can not only sing, but perform and talk to an audience, I can think on my feet if things don’t go to plan, and I’m prepared to be silly and not worry, as I have learnt the more I put into something, the more the audience will be on my side. I have worked in business and I have a degree, but I believe I would never have got as far in those areas had I not become a performer.

Similarly, sport teaches not only fitness and nutrition but how to live by rules, make strategy, to focus on a goal, to live within rules and to work in a team. All of these things are vital to society, and yet they are not taught as actively as simultaneous equations. The older generations speak of national service as building character and pride, I believe that sport could make that same difference, if it was available for more people.

The Paralympics are a fine example of how sport has given people that have come through adversity a means of pushing themselves and becoming maybe even more than they had dreamed of. It is inspiring stuff, and not just to the disabled but everybody. Sport gave them purpose and a goal and now they are at the greatest show on earth.

I would certainly like to see a bigger focus on these subjects, as they are as important as the rest of the curriculum. I hope that Lord Coe does make sure that the legacy of the Olympics is to bring sport to more people, and I hope that society remembers how proud we all were to be British and how everyone came together and supported all of our athletes,regardless of race, creed or religion. Sport brought the world together, and put everyone on a level playing field

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The Day Justice Became a Reality

The the 15th of April 1989 became the day that sport did not matter. It became the day headlines being prepared on the back page of a newspaper which would only reiterate what was being prepared for the front page. It became the day 96 people left their homes for a football match only never to return. It became the day only to be known as the Hillsborough disaster. So why on the 12th of September 2012 a staggering 23 years after that tragic day has the truth and documents of what really happened only just being released to the world? Probably because it was the biggest blunder and cover up in police history.

Hillsborough Memorial

In this article I will be dealing in truth and truth only of the findings of the Hillsborough independent panel which were set up in December 2009 to oversee “full public disclosure of relevant governmant  and local information within the limited constraints set out in the disclosure protocol” and “consult with Hillsborough families to ensure that the views of those most affected by the disaster are taken into account” For 23 years family, friends work colleagues and strangers have fought to over tern the verdict of accidental death, the fact that Liverpool fans were to blame and that the death toll of 96 could have been vastly reduced had more then just a single ambulance being allowed on the pitch do deal with the casualties. The panel had read over 400.000 documents which covered everything from police statements and paramedic statements to eye witnesses accounts and survivor stories. The world were expecting some findings to emerge, but what the world actually found out can only be described as astonishing.

The panel had come to the conclusion that “Up to 41 of the 96 fans who tragically died might have survived had emergency services’ reactions and co-ordination been improved” Just take the number of 41 in for a minute, it means that up 41 lives could have been saved from the terrible day, 41 families would not have to of buried fathers, mothers,sons or daughters and 41 people could have continued their precious life. The conclusion of 41 fans possibly being saved is based on post mortem examinations which found some victims may have had heart, lung or blood circulation function after being removed from the crush. Following on from that the report also came to the conclusion that placing fans who were “merely unconscious” on their backs would have resulted in their death. If that was not enough from the report,  also to be concluded was that fact that no Liverpool fans were responsible in any way for the disaster, and that the main cause of the disaster was “lack of police of control” The idea of Liverpool supporters being liable for their fellow supporters deaths has been a stigma which has followed them around for 23 years, especially as just days after Hillsborough a “”well known” red top tabloid had printed lies in which stated fans had “beat up a PC giving the kiss of life” and “drunken fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims”. The  Liverpool fans now had the truth they had so tirelessly fought for to clear their names from a disgusting and vile smear campaign that tried to see them blamed for this tragedy. When in fact in fans were actually seen pulling fellow supporters to safety and using advertising hoardings as stretchers for other injured fans. All though a shocking reason behind the idea of liverpool fans being responsible for Hillsborough were being spearheaded by the South Yorkshire Police.

The Panel had found that South Yorkshire police and other emergency services had made a “strenuous attempt” to deflect blame from them onto Liverpool supporters. The very police force that were there to protect the public and offer an honest and caring service were actually creating the biggest cover up ever to protect them selves and not even consider taking into the account the feelings of the grieving families who were being led to believe their own loved ones could have been responsible for the deaths of others. This was not clearly just one person lying, this was a cover up on epic proportion which would include perjury and preventing the course of justice. 164 witness statements were amended and 116 had statements removed which were “unfavourable to South Yorkshire police, but the smear campaign to do stop there. Probably the most disgusting findings to emerge from the report was South Yorkshire police carried out blood and alcohol readings on victims in which some of them were children just as so they could then blame the fans by saying they were drunk and not in control of their actions. While mothers were grieving their children were being used as a subject of a cover up and if that was not enough computer checks were also being run on victims on the police national database in an attempt to “impugn their reputation”. Every attempt was being made by the police to hide their responsibility for the events of that terrible day and for 23 years it had worked, but not anymore.

After 23 years the families, supporters, the media and the world have finally reached the end of the truth but have now created the begenning for justice. The priority for all involved now is to overturn the inquest verdicts of accidental death as attorney general Dominic Grieve is urged to open a new investigation and also start to consider criminal proceedings for those responsible for not only the tragedy but also the shocking cover up. This will not be a quick process, if this is to run its full course then this could possibly takes years for the out come and the right people be brought to justice. If it has to take years then you can believe the Liverpool fans will be fighting every day and every step of the way. They have fought for 23 years for justice for the 96 and they in no way intend to give up now.

This article is dedicated to the 96 Liverpool fans for justice is now finally being achieved.

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Rehydration – Remember the Electrolytes!

Have you ever felt a tingling sensation in your muscles during a work-out? Do you sometimes feel faint after heavy exercise? Are you sluggish after a heavy cardiovascular session and you feel more exhausted than you should?

Besides the fact that your training regime might be completely wrong, you may be dehydrated and your electrolytes might be completely off balance. Many of us also take protein shakes and energy drinks during and after the workout. These make the situation even worse and deplete you of even more electrolytes! Next time, why don’t you try to take some electrolytes such as Dioralyte which can can be ordered from Amazon UK.

The drink is very easy to prepare. Just dissolve one sachet in 200 ml of water just before consumption. Dioralyte comes in different flavours – Blackcurrant, although being the most widely sold, may not be to everyone’s pellet. The above advertised citrus flavour is much easier to handle. So next time you do heavy exercise, why not try replenish your electrolytes? You will see that it will make a world of a difference. In fact, even if you are not a sportsperson, this is a good addition to your diet and helps keep your hormone levels in check and your body retain the water it absorbs.

Clever Tweets or Silly Twits?

Ashley Cole’s Twitter rant raised a few eyebrows!

With Ashley Cole becoming the latest in a long line of sports stars to apologise for their outburst on Twitter, today I will examine the questions: “Do sports stars really need Twitter to become closer to their fans?” and “Is it really worth running the risk of a fine or charge by their respected sports authorities?”

Gone were the days where you would write to your favourite sports idol asking for a signed photo and a short message back, or wait outside the ground  maybe for hours after a football match to get your programme signed by the players. Now it is all about sending them a tweet and receiving one back. Welcome to the autograph of the 21st century.

The boom of social networking in the world now means we can find what celebrities are doing in their day to day life, what film they are going to watch at the cinema, we can even find out what they had for breakfast. So the interaction of a fan and their idol becomes ever closer as they can send a tweet and receive one back in return in the matter of seconds, or maybe congratulate them on a great game. In practise that sounds perfect but as we know in life things are never that simple. It is no significance in life that online abuse has grown 300% in the past year with most of the abuse being used in the way of tweets.

Tom Daley, Rebecca Adlington Darron Gibson are just a few of many sports stars that have received untold amounts of abuse on Twitter from so called “trolls” from followers on their respected accounts. Abuse on Twitter does not just stem from criticism for a bad performance in their sport it also is sadly falling into much darker depths of life as the amount of racial abuse being tweeted has grown 10 fold over the past 18 months with Ashley young, Carlton Cole and Micah Richards all reporting cases of racial abuse to the police.

This month has seen the latest apology from a footballer after a foul-mouthed tweet from Ashley Cole not only got him in trouble with the FA but also running the risk of jeopardising his England career. Ashley Cole became outraged after he was accused of  “evolving” his statement supporting John Terry’s defence against a proven charge that he racially abused Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand. Cole took straight to Twitter  and wrote “Hahahahaa, well done #fa i lied did I, #BUNCHOFT***.’ Chelsea defender Cole later deleted the tweet and apologised saying “I was really upset and tweeted my feelings in the heat of the moment. I apologise unreservedly for my comment about the FA.” All though the apology was not enough to get him out of hot water with his domestic club as Chelsea will still fine him two weeks’ wages after breaking their social media policy which will cost him in excess of £200,000. Quite an expensive risk for losing your cool.

Ashley Cole is no means on his own in being fined for an outburst on Twitter, in fact he is just the latest in a long line of stars. Arsenal’s Emmanuel Frimpong was fined £6,000 by the Football Association after comments he made on Twitter to a Tottenham fan. Frimpong was charged with improper conduct which included a reference to faith. Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was fined £45,000 by the Football Association over a comment posted on twitter. Ferdinand was charged after appearing to endorse a tweet by another user of the social network site which described Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, as a “choc ice,” a term understood to mean someone who is black on the outside but white on the inside.  This after Cole had given evidence the day before the tweet in the John Terry Anton Ferdinand. The list of footballers getting into trouble with comments posted on twitter goes on with Paddy Kenny and Joey Barton to name just a few more and with the ever growing trend of footballers taking to Twitter, it is only a matter of time before another footballer finds himself up on an FA charge.

Football Clubs have tried to curb what their players say on the social networking site and many are taking up the opportunity to bring in a policy where players will be fined if they are found to be disrespecting their club or be found to be acting in an inappropriate way over Twitter and with some players having nearly 5 million followers it goes to show every tweet will be watched and scrutinised by the public. Not everyone has brought into the social network phenomenon with Sir Alex Ferguson  many times airing his views on the site, “Twitter; i do not understand it, i don’t know why anybody can be bothered with it, but it is there and as a club we haven given instructions to the players that they cannot talk about Manchester United.” Of course many sports stars and their followers not have any problem in the way they use Twitter and often is a great way to interact with their fans after a specific sport and not more so then after London 2012 when Gold medalists Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah took straight to Twitter to express their delight after winning gold and then to thank their followers for continued support and in return then were sent thousands of tweets congratulating them on their achievements.

So going back to the original question: clever tweets or silly twits? Well like everything in life if  Twitter is used in the correct way and Tweeters think before typing then there is no issue and they will not have to face  the risk of a fine or charge by their respected authorities but maybe if they are angry and annoyed about a certain decision or situation in their sport then maybe Twitter is not the best way to air then views. This in turn goes for their followers who if are seen to be sending vile or racist tweets then should be banned from Twitter and them selves face a police charge. Although I can’t help but think it is only a matter of time sports stars will be in the news for Twitter but for the wrong reasons.

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Workout Series: Push Pull

This week I will talk about a great and effective workout to build up strength in the gym in a comparatively short period of time. There are many different ways to workout and not every training program works for everyone. Time is certainly a big factor these days and rather than consuming all your free time, you may want to spend less time in the gym and enjoy other past times such as following the football and formula 1 results. But how can one combine an efficient workout to get a great body your girlfriend or wife would certainly adore and still have enough time for her and your hobbies?

One very efficient workout strategy is a “push-pull” workout. The body is split into muscle groups that are either used to pull or to push weight. Each muscle group only has to worked out for about 5 minutes. Because a different muscle group is utilised for each exercise, you do not need any breaks between the exercises and can rotate swiftly. This saves a lot of time and makes the entire workout more efficient.

I would recommend to do all the pull exercises on one day and all the push exercises on another. This will give your muscles also the desired rest to heal themselves, as this is necessary for them to grow. The division of the muscle groups (and hamstrings) goes as follows:

Workout A: Pull

  • Back (Lats)
  • Hamstrings
  • Back (General)
  • Hip Abductors
  • Deltoid (Side)
  • Biceps
  • Hip Flexors
  • Trapezius (Upper)
  • Abdominal
  • Obliques

Workout A: Push

  • Quadriceps
  • Chest (General)
  • Quadriceps
  • Chest (Upper)
  • Hip Adductors
  • Deltoid (Front)
  • Calves (General)
  • Triceps

Because each exercise is only supposed to last for about 5 minutes, you can really exhaust your muscles using weights in the upper range. Try to use exercises with 12 to 15 repetitions per set and use heavy weights. This work-out is extremely time efficient as the actual workout time is only about 45 minutes. This workout works really well to build up strength and volume quickly and also tones your body.

I would recommend to do each pull and push workout twice per week. That is a total of 4×45 min and very easily doable. You can easily alternate this workout day by day.

Your girlfriend will love your increase in energy and how your body gets toned. Furthermore, this workout does not require you to be in the gym for such long times and is very time efficient.

We are looking forward to your comments.

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Get Yourself Fit for the Summer!

You know it! Spring is near and as soon as you get used to the warm weather again summer will be in front of your door! Now is the time to get fit and go running outside and go to the gym. If you haven’t got a membership yet, now is the time to join!

Cambridge offers many places that will help you get in shape for the summer! The renowned clubs David LLoyd and LA Fitness offer trial memberships and have something on offer for everyone.

Sporting in the Olympic Theatre

Olympic fever appears to have taken over the country, with Britain hosting, and performing astoundingly well, particularly in the cycling events, perhaps even putting cycling on the map as a national sport.

In such economically dark times, a bit of flag-waving patriotism may be just the tonic the country needs; the moral-booster that helps people forget their troubles.

Yet the Games isn’t just sport: it is an Event-with-a-capital-‘E’. It is sport invested with all the pomp and pageantry of which humans are capable, with its opening and closing ceremonies, its media hype and its crowd-pleasing winners. Athletes competing in the Games are not merely sportspeople but performers, playing to a crowd, putting on a show.

It seems, that in spite of the increasing de-formalisation of society, (even David Cameron’s wife opted not to wear at hat to Kate and Wills’ wedding at Westminster Abbey) – we still love the thrill and the glory of a formal event properly staged; the build-up, the presentation, the sheer performativeness of the display. The Olympics, purely and simply, is a three-week long piece of marvellous theatre, with sports commentators continually referring to an athlete’s ‘performance’ in their chosen event. Winning a race is deemed to be ‘a fine performance.’

In terms of its history, the Games is nothing new. It originated from Greece, taking its name from Olympia, the place where it was held. As early as 776B.C. the games took place every four years, although it is conjectured that it had already been established many centuries earlier. Events in these early Olympics were confined to running.

Other events were subsequently assimilated into the Games, such as wrestling and the pentathlon; an event which, in Ancient Greece, consisted of a day’s worth of contests, and included long jump, javelin, discus, a short ‘foot race’ and wrestling.

However, by A.D. 394, the Roman Emperor Theodusuis I, in some kind of personal crusade against the nature religions, abolished the Games, on the grounds that they were too pagan.

The first ‘modern’ Olympic Games was held in 1896, the International Olympic Committee having been founded two years earlier, in 1894. It was held in Athens, the home of the original Games and featured fourteen countries and a total of two hundred and forty-five athletes competed in a total of forty three events.

Of course, there was no television coverage of this first modern Games, only the live experience of seeing the event for oneself. Nevertheless, the Victorians doubtless enjoyed the spectacle in much the same way as we do today, marking it with both an opening and closing ceremony.

The 1896 Games did indeed begin with a grand opening ceremony, held on April 6th and the Panathinaiko Stadium was thronging with around 80,000 spectators, who listened in anticipation as Crown Prince Constantine declared the inaugural Games officially open.

1896 Olympic opening ceremony in Panathinaiko Stadium

Of the fourteen nations that competed in the Games, ten earned medals, the U.S.A. being the nation to earn the most gold medals, while Greece, the host country, won the greatest number of medals overall.

Of course, all the competitors were men, since the founder of the I.O.C., Baron Pierre de Coubertin, declared that to include women would be, ‘impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect.’

In hearty defiance of this stipulation, one woman, Stamata Revithi, did run the marathon course on April 11th, the day after the official race had been run. Revithi finished in around five hours and thirty minutes, and managed to achieve verification for her running time by persuading some witnesses to sign their names as proof of her achievement.

As to the sports themselves, the 1896 Games did not differ much from our modern Games, in terms of the events that were staged. There was Athletics, including a marathon and track running, in which the American, Thomas Burke, won the hundred metre race, finishing with a time of twelve seconds. Burke also won the four hundred metres race, finishing with a time of just over fifty four seconds. No world records were broken, perhaps because not many top athletes had opted to compete.

Interestingly enough, Thomas Burke was one of the first ‘modern’ athletes to crouch down at the start to the race instead of starting from an upright position, a move which confused the jury, who, perplexed, allowed him to start in this way.

Thomas Burke (2nd lane from the left)

In addition the Athletics, there was Gymnastics, Fencing, Shooting, Weightlifting, Tennis, Swimming, Wrestling and of course, Cycling, the track events of which, took place in the then newly constructed Neo Phaliron Velodrome, a building probably not too dissimilar from the London Velodrome, in which our modern cyclists are competing in 2012.

All cycling competitions employed rules created by the International Cycling Association and there was only one road event, a marathon of eighty-seven kilometres, racing from Athens to Marathon.

Frenchman Paul Masson won the track cycling, achieving victory in the one lap time trial, the sprint, as well as the 10,000 metres and Adolf Schmal, an Austrian, won the Marathon, which only two cyclists managed to complete.

Paul Masson

The Olympic Games has subsequently been held every four years ever since, the 1900 Games being held in Paris. The 1948 Games was the first Olympic Games to receive television coverage.

So what is it about sporting events of this magnitude that gets us all fired up? Is it the sport itself, or the media hype surrounding it?

My guess is that, in a world where political correctness has deemed competitiveness a negative thing, people enjoy watching sportsmen and women competing in a friendly, good-natured way, sympathising with the losers, celebrating the winners. At the risk of sounding dreadfully cheesy one might almost say the Games is like life, but with all the boring bits edited out. In other words, it is like a piece of art.

Interest in the Games shows that we still love a good show. The age of pomp and ceremony is not quite dead and the Games is feeding upon our human love of theatre and display, all in the name of some fine performances from our home-grown athletes.

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Inspire a Generation, You’ve Inspired a Nation

Overcrowding on the underground, lack of security, congestion on our roads due to “games lanes”. All this as the country still deals with the aftermath of the London riots, falling  further into recession and the summer of discontent. Was an Olympic games really what we needed and this precise moment? In fact it was the perfect tonic.

Even the week leading up to the games with G4S security not able to supply enough staff to fulfill their contract and bus drivers willing to strike over bonus payments, hardly an air of optimism of what is described as the “greatest show on earth”. Up steps Slumdog millionaire director Danny Boyle to create an opening ceremony to match that of Beijing, to win over the doubters and show the world that when it comes to the crunch Britain can pull together through times of diffacuilty. The world stood up and took note, London had put on a superb opening ceremony and even the rain held off, well almost. As the Olympic cauldron was lit by the athletes of tomorrow, London 2012 had started.

The Opening Ceremonary

So now attention was turned to the athletes with Team GB looking for a target of 48 medals,one more then Beijing 2008. With a home crowd and a string of top stars surly that was an easy achievement, wasn’t it?. Early Saturday morning and all eyes were focused on the men’s road race. With the dreams of Britain’s Mark Cavendish crossing the finish line at the mall and collecting our first gold medal, unfortunatly it was not your story book ending. With Mark crossing the line in 29th the focus shifted to the women’s road race. Lizzie Armistead grabbing silver and Rebecca Adlington collecting bronze finally Team GB were off and running on the medals table but the Olympics were still not far from controversy. As the new hot topic for the critics to focus on were the empty seats at volleyball basketball and swimming. A situation that Lord Coe was quick to defuse. As Monday and Tuesday passed our gymnastics team shone through as a silver and bronze were added to Great Britain’s medals tally but still where was that illusive gold medal? Were we going to reach 48 medals? Will we have an Olympic champion? The critics knives were sharpening. Then on Wednesday morning double Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell tells Britain “don’t panic, the rowers are here” and how right he was.

So how appropiate that here in london you wait ages for a bus and two come along at once but only this time it was gold medals. Heather Stanning and Helen Glover strike gold in the rowing womans pair  and Bradley Wiggins winning gold in the time trial just two weeks after becoming tour de france champion. Great Britain had started to climb the medals table at a rate of knots but who knew what was just around the corner. Over the wednesday and thursday Team GB had racked up 5 gold medals 4 silver and two bronze. As friday dawned the world was introduced to the Olympic stadium.  The dancers and musicians from the opening ceremonary seemed a distant memory as the track and field athletes took the positions for what some believe is the true reflection of the Olympics and the Team GB poster girl Jessica Ennis was unleashed to the world. As Jessica was producing personall bests to build a lead in the hepthalon, across at the veledrome Britain were showing that when it comes to cycling they are second to none as they collected another two gold medals. It was not only cycling GB were dominant. As gold, silver and bronze were won across the board in rowing, but if the country thought they were on a high from these performances? in honesty this was just the calm before the storm.

Saturday August 4th 2012, this was a day that will go down in British sporting history. This was a day that a tiny little island proved that they could stand on the shoulders of giants and match the world at the very best in sport. This was a day that would unite a nation and got every cynic to applaud. This was a day Great Britain won Six gold medals. Again team GB cleaned up in the rowing in the morning session.  The afternoon belonged to Team GB cyclists but as the evening rolled in and people got comfortable in front of their televisions who knew that they would end up on the edge of the seats and witnessing athletics history. Jessica Ennis on her way to gold sprinting down the home straight to the roar of 80,000 fans in the stadium and no doubt millions more at home.

Forty minutes later an unknown 25 year old British long jumper by the name of Greg Rutherford spurred by the all ready jubilant crowd produced the performance of his life with a jump of 8.31m to win gold and become only the second British long jumper to do so. After five gold medals and a silver as the night drew to a close and track lit up by the thousands of flood lights beaming down on the 10.000m race, one man shone more then ever. If know one knew Mo Farah before they sure know him now. Crossing the line in first place winning gold to cap an amazing night, it did not just end a superb week but help to start a new week for the olympics that changed a nation and one that some generations had never witnessed.

The newspapers were celebrating what Britain had achieved, people had found a new wave of optimism and hope. The doom and gloom of the spending cuts and high price rises had take a backward step. For once the nation had come together and and for people who had no interest in sport were actually finishing work early to get home to watch Team GB in the  event. Even the sun was shining while the Olympics were on. Sports clubs and associations had reported a serge in membership applications and children had now found new role models in the names of Ennis and Wiggins. Had the legacy of London 2012 all ready began before the Olympics all ready finished. Off the back of super Saturday had we all ready started training future olympic champions for rio 2016?. As the Olympics continued so the the medal haul for Great Britain, over the next 8 days Team GB won a further 15 gold medals and included in that was Ben Ainslie who became the greatest ever sailor in Olympic history, Andy Murray who beat old rival Roger Federer in the final and Nicola Adams who became the first ever female Olympic champion boxer. GB added 10 more silvers and 9 bronze medals to give a final total of 65 medals in total with 29 of them being gold. The greatest ever result for Great Britain since the 1908 Olympics and smashing the 19 gold medals won in Beijing. So as quick as it started the Olympics were over, the cauldron was extinguished and the torch handed over to Rio. The 16 days now became memories but memories that a an individual, a nation, a world will never forget. The slogan that the legacy wanted to leave was to “inspire a generation” but instead they inspired a nation and made us all search inside our selves and see what it truly means to be proud to be British. Could Great Britain afford the Olympics in times of austerity? maybe not. Was it worth it? just ask anyone who was in the Olympic stadium or by a TV screen that golden Saturday and they will tell you it was worth every last penny.

Images reproduced from pa wire/press association images

Depression in Sport: The Unknown Heartache

1992 - Derek Redmond favourite for gold in the 400m Barcelona Olympics snaps his hamstring during the semi final ending his Olympic dreams. 1996 – Gareth Southgate misses the penalty in the European championships to deny England a place in the final. 2012 – Andy Murray loses the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer after winning the first set. The closest a British male has coming to winning Wimbledon since 1938. A few days after each event these stories will be forgotten about in our minds, but to the athlete the pain will last a lifetime.

Many of us see sports stars as heroes; they become our children’s role models. Paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, living a celebrity lifestyle and of which some of us live in envy compared our own lives, but are they really as invincible as we think or make them out to be? With London 2012 upon us we have a host of stars expected to bring home a gold medal in their respective sports, but what if they don’t? The country will be celebrating in jubilation if Jessica Ennis wins gold in the heptathlon or Mark Cavendish wins gold in the road race event. Yet if they don’t win, their performances will be dissected and reviewed over and over with just their failure broadcast in the spotlight. Four years of preparation, hard work and sweat could all come down to heartbreak and tears in the matter of hours. Dreams shattered and just that one question, what did I do wrong?

Depression and sport do not go hand in hand but if you examine the symptoms of depression it is easy to see such a strong correlation between the two. Worthless, guilty, failure and insomnia are to name just a few feelings of what a sports star will face during their career, and yet we do not associate our stars with these feelings and depression as we never see them as vulnerable. Of course it is not just failing at an event or losing a medal or cup that can lead sports men of woman to feel the emotion of depression. To ours stars sport is a drug, the roar of the crowd at kickoff on a Saturday afternoon. Driving at 190mph in a formula one car and feeling the force of 5g as they corner Silverstone. Standing at the wicket waiting for the first ball of a test match, but as well all know their careers will not last forever. Weather it is due to a severe injury or those lines that every sports star does not want to hear “you’re just not as good as you were” or “you’re getting to old to continue”

So as their career is over and they are no longer doing the job they lived strived and showed for. Not having the sensation of being worshipped by their adoring fans. Maybe coming to the realisation that they may never have reached their full potential and having the apprehension of what do they do now in life? Of course they can move into coaching or the media side of their respective sports but does it really give them the rush they were once used to.

Only recently we have started to see a small insight into sports men and woman showing their elusive emotions through an interview or their autobiographies. Some high profile examples of this are former England cricket captain Freddie Flintoff. After humiliating defeats on the field of play, sacked as vice captain and struggling with alcohol. This led Freddie to re-evaluate his life and pull himself out of the darkness, but to some the numbness can be much worse. Dean Windass found the transition of football to retirement all too much and in January 2012 twice tried to take his own life by way of overdose and then attempting to hang himself. Could this admission be the way forward for sports governing bodies to offer support to their athletes? After the death of Wales’s international manager Gary speed 50.000 handbooks were sent out to pro and former pro footballers about mental health, but is this enough? Should clubs be offering counselling to players coming to the ending of their career? We all know a football club will go on without the player, but can the player go on without the club?

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A Golden Era For Men’s Tennis

For the past fifty years Men’s Tennis has had many rivalries. In the 70’s we had Borg and Conners, then during the 80’s we had Lendl, McEnroe and Becker, it was the turn of the Americans in the 90’s with the two powerhouses of Agassi and Sampras. At the turn of the millennium Europe began to dominate with Federer and Nadal, but now in 2012 we are blessed to have a rivalry of four as Novak Djokovic and our very own Andy Murray join both Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in competing for every Major possible and in my opinion have created both the most exciting and competitive era of tennis.

For the past eight years Men’s Tennis has mainly been dominated by Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal and between them collecting 27 major titles in the process. Their success became so dominant that for eleven finals in a row a major title was by either Nadal or Federer, but in 2008 in the Rod Laver Arena a new champion was crowned. A young Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open and his first Grand Slam title. Was a new rival emerging to challenge for the top? Especially after defeating Federer in the semi-final and breaking the Swiss player’s amazing record run of 10 consecutive finals. Well the quick answer would be no and this was put into fact as 10 of the next 11 finals were again won by Federer or Nadal. It was clear something big was going to be needed to topple these two amazing champions.

So in 2011 up steps Djokovic and after working harder and stronger both mentally and physically Novak was ready to show that his Australian Open win was not merely a one-off. With Federer struggling with injury and approaching 30, Djokovic and Nadal were out to prove their youth, pace and power were enough to shift the tables away from the legendary Federer and create their own sporting history. Djokovic started 2011 breaking British hearts by beating Andy Murray in the final and collecting his second major title and this was just a pointer of what was to follow. The Serbian added both Wimbledon and the US Open to his titles and with Nadal winning the French Open, for the first time in 9 years Roger Federer had not won a major title. Were we slowly bidding farewell to the most decorated man in Men’s Tennis history?

Of course while Djokovic and Nadal were collecting titles, there was always one player never too far away – Andy Murray. We Brits had pinned all our hopes on Murray becoming the first major winner since Fred Perry back in 1936 but as we all know we are used to heartache in sport. In the space of four years Murray had reached five semi-finals and three finals but only to come up short. So with Federer fading away and Murray never quite having enough on the day, were Nadal and Djokovic going to streak away with every upcoming major title?

"Andy Murray"

Andy Murray: another final, same heartache

Well in 2012 a Golden Era began. For the first time in nine years, each of the four Majors were won by a different tennis player. It began with familiarity with the Australian Open again being won by Novak Djokovic – his third major title in a row and fifth in total. Rafa Nadal dubbed the “King of Clay” proved why he should be credited with such a nickname by winning his 7th French Open title and adding to his tally of ten major titles. If Nadal is described as the “King of Clay” then it was now time for the “Gentleman of Grass” as Roger Federer was out to prove there was still life in him yet and age is just a number as he was searching for his 7th Wimbledon title.

No one would begrudge Federer his record Wimbledon title if it was not for one thing. He faced Murray in the final. Andy Murray had reached his first Wimbledon final after crashing out in the semis the previous three years running. As Britain had fingers crossed and hopes pinned on every shot unfortunately it was all to no avail. The experience shone through from the Swiss warhorse and Andy Murray was inevitability dealt with in four sets. Again Murray had to face the thought of “so close but maybe next time” for a major honour, but little did he know that next time was just around the corner.

With Team GB shining in the London Olympics, Murray had his own chance to get quick revenge on Federer and duly did so beating him in the gold medal final in three sets on the court where he had suffered heartbreak just three weeks previous. With one major title remaining and Nadal ruled out of the US Open due to injury, it gave the other three players a chance to end the year on a high. With number one seed Federer crashing out to up-and-coming Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals, both Murray and Djokovic knew their biggest rival was no longer a threat. Murray and Djokovic both got through tough semi-finals and on Sunday 9th September 2012, finals day history was about to be made. As one of the most pulsating finals ever ebbed and flowed and the clock ticked past midnight at 2:04am Murray sent British fans into jubilation as he won his first major title and hopefully is starting a dynasty for British tennis.

It is not just in the Men’s game that British Tennis is beginning to flourish. Both Heather Watson and Laura Robson are progressing up the rankings to prove themselves as future stars. With promising junior titles behind them – Robson winning the Wimbledon junior champion and Watson winning the US junior title respectively – it’s more than enough to show they have what it takes to compete with the best. Only earlier in October 2012 Heather Watson became the first British woman to win a WTA title in 24 years by winning the Japan Open and thus breaking into the World’s top players for the first time in her short career. It is yet more evidence that British Tennis is on the up.

So with 2013 just a few months away, next year promises to be a great year for Men’s Tennis. With four players looking to retain their respective major titles, Murray looking to add a second honour to his career, Djokovic hoping to win his first ever French Open, Nadal looking to prove he is better than ever battling back from injury and let us not forget Roger Federer who is looking to prove he is not ready to chuck the towel in yet and could show the young guns he can still teach them a thing or two. Could we be looking back in 20 years times at a Golden Era in Men’s Tennis? Possibly the greatest ever era in Men’s Tennis? Only time will tell.

Sport Psychology – How Does Emotion Affect Performance?

London Life Coach & Sports Performance Coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about sport psychology, emotion and performance. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website

If you have read my first article for City Connect in this field you will know that I have been working in Sports Psychology for a number of years now, triggered by my love of rowing and tennis which both tend to get a tad competitive. With the Olympics 2012 coming up, the demand for sports psychology has dramatically increased enabling me to work with some fabulous individuals in this arena and I thought I would share some of my knowledge with you here on City Connect.

What is the key thing I need to work on to facilitate a change in my performance?

Although this is aimed in particular to the query sent through our Q+A page, it applies to a lot of people so I have written a whole article on it.

Emotion is seen as the component that can make or break a performance. In fact it is often referred to as the key component which will facilitate or restrict any athlete’s flow of potential and ultimately their performance.

As we have seen in my other articles to date, in any given event a person’s performance is determined by not only their talents, information and skill set but by the way they feel about all the aspects of their event they are performing in and their life in general. It is thus governed by emotion and belief. Those athlete’s who have an unshakeable belief in themselves go on to acquire the best results.

This is because both the fear of failure and the fear of success itself can short out a person’s circuits. Tadd to that the emotion of anger and one can find themselves a long way off their goal point..  In some circumstances even fear of actual physical pain can also short circuit success. This is why in short I would argue that emotion is the key component to an athlete reaching his/her true potential. We have seen that negative emotions can short circuit performance and hinder goals and we also know that emotions tend to creep up on us at the best of times more so when there are 1000’s of eyes on you and the pressure of your next signing bonus is in the back of your mind. Being able to control one’s emotions, readjust negative self beliefs and control our response to pressure is a winning formula to the success you have always wanted.

We can definitely conclude that fear is a limiting emotional pattern as it prevents one reaching their full potential and ultimate performance capability, but then how does one achieve success. It goes back to the basic formula for achievement (as we saw in my first article) is based on developing one’s own success consciousness, i.e. having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and that which you desire. The key component here is not only believing that you can achieve it but the I can and I will determination you exhibit coupled with an unshakeable belief in yourself. This behaviour is guaranteed to result in achievement.

Emotion is paired with self image and belief and one’s self image is seen as the most complex of attitudes for the very fact that it has been inbuilt into one’s mental processes over a long period of time by a variety of sources not all positive and nurturing. It is because of this that perceptions of oneself are generally distorted. As humans, our brains don’t objectively analyse facts but we bring emotions into our interpretations along with others opinions which also rely on their emotions, perceptions and baggage, unfortunately that baggage is not Louis Vuitton!

I would say more often than not a person’s belief system could be seen as being unreliable because thought processes which have been built, strengthened and adjusted over the years of self image have not been an accurate record.  I am often quoted as saying “Perception is Everything” and here is a good example of that in application as the perception given to you by others can be very different from objective analysis of the facts. Unfortunately, the brain tends to believe what it hears on repeat allowing distortion of facts due to compounding of information by environment, media and self belief.  However, with the right mental attitude you can use this to your advantage with positive affirmations to reinstil a positive unshakeable belief in yourself. If you are feeling adventurous in your affirmations throw in a little joy and harmony and you have most of the key ingredients for successful employment of mind power. This is because joy is considered a lubricant of the mind allowing muscles, nerves and heart to function at optimum. It is thought to flow through entire being, toning a person up and making for quick responsive co-ordination. Joy works with body, mind and soul to produce rhythmic flow enabling perfect timing and attunement resulting in a superior skill set working at optimum.

I would finish here by saying, success is achieved only by those who try, the fact that you are reading this article shows that you are already on the road to upping your game by employing mind training as well as physical training.

If you wish to pose a question about your particular sport or an aspect of it then either put a comment below, contact me directly or submit an anonymous question through our Q+A page.


Sport Psychology – Motivation: How Do We Harness It?

London Life Coach & Sports Performance Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about motivation. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website

After the London Olympics in 2012, the demand for sports psychology has dramatically increased enabling me to work with some fabulous individuals in this arena. I love the variety in my job and the fact that although I spend 75% of my time dealing with clinical issues and life coaching, I am also stretched to develop coaching talents in new areas. If you have read my first article for City Connect in this field you will know that I have been working in Sports psychology for a number of years now, triggered by my love of rowing and tennis which both tend to get a tad competitive. I have received a number of questions about this field, than you to the readers and your interest. I will endeavour to answer a few of them below.

Should I keep something in reserve?

I understand why you have asked this question as it could be seen as tactical advantage to pull out the stops at the end however the short answer is if I was your coach, I would say definitely not – give it your all from the very start.

There is a good scene in a film called “Gattica” where the protagonist was asked how he managed to defy his genetics and out swim his brother (who was genetically superior in every way) to a rock in the middle of the sea. His answer was simple. He stated he never saved any energy for the swim back. His mental concentration and commitment to getting to the rock first enabled him to give 110% because he was not saving himself for anything else.

It is commonly said in the Sport Psychology arena that results do not yield themselves to the person who refuses to give himself to the desired results.

In fact a person might be considered a ‘hold out’ if they are keeping something in reserve. Which in itself doesn’t seem so harsh but when evaluated, it has been said such ‘hold outs’ lack the motivation to invest themselves 100% in competition and therefore do not achieve their highest attainable goal or performance. With that definition to the label, you can now see why keeping something in reserve is not the aim of the game in high level competition, you really do have to give it your all.

What motivates people?

The component under analysis here is human potential and the inner motivation or drive to make productive use of  both one’s genetic potential (i.e stature, gender, IQ etc..) and one’s acquired potential (i.e knowledge, experience, skills etc.) As we saw above with the “Gattica” example inner motivation can override acquired potential if the will is strong enough.

Motivation itself comes in two forms – inner and outer.  Inner motivation is the natural inner drive or urge to use the talents and knowledge we possess to achieve far in excess of what others believe to be possible by utilising all the gifts we have been given, with the skills and knowledge acquired and an unshakeable believe and drive in oneself. Whereas outer motivation is where someone motivates someone else – perhaps a coach or cheerleaders or fans even agents/managers providing bonuses etc.  Motivation can also be based on fear or reward but this too is outer motivation as it is not coming from a place within but an external set of circumstances.

Three elements that make up a person’s potential are talent, information and self-motivation. If you have the know-how, and you have a good sports coach all you need is internal motivation and your goal will become easier to grasp.

I look forward to writing more about Sport Psychology as I have been asked to produce a series of articles for this category, but I would also like to add that Sport Psychology does also lend itself to daily life and the working world and can be adapted for every area that you desire to achieve a goal in even if not a sport.

If you wish to pose a question about your particular sport or an aspect of it then either put a comment below, contact me directly or submit an anonymous question through our Q+A page.

Images reproduced from and

MotoGP 2012

Casey Stoner

The 2012 Season is heading through the halfway mark, currently on its summer break, with the lads getting in gear to return to the track and fight for the title.

Reigning Champion Stonor’s season being his last, we hoped for great power, speed and competitiveness, with the pressure of Lorenzo and Pedrosa always on his tailpack.

Stonor finishing this year was a big surprise but being a new family man, we can see why , racing can be a dangerous sport, not knowing what is round the next corner, whether the race day was going to be wet or dry, whether the bike would feel right, would the tyres have grip,  would it be your day ?

He always has a great spirit very rarely looking deflated at not winning.  You want to finish as a winner you don’t want to end your run as a runner up.  That is not the way you want to end up.  Everyone remembers a gold winner but never a silver or bronze.

Valentino Rossi

His season so far has not been stable with 4 wins out of 10, the Repsol Honda rider, has previously had Rossi on his tail they have had a good fight in past years, this year though Rossi’s ride has not been up to par, he has struggled throughout, not always even reaching the top ten with crashes, engine breakdowns and bad luck to name a few.  2013 sees him return to his old faithful Yamaha where he seemed to excel and be comfortable and be heading in the right direction.  The only downside could be the partnership alongside Lorenzo.  They both want the winning bike, and to beat the other,” can both bikes be set up to win in the same team? “  “who do the team push?”  “who will be the favourite?”

Rossi seemed the favourite but then left to join Ducati so Lorenzo had the backing, now Rossi returns what happened to Lorenzo? Teams try to express that they push all their riders but how can they be 100% behind all of them.  All riders like their bikes set up differently, how they feel to one will not feel the same to the other.

The people’s rider is of course Rossi, his following is huge.   You don’t need to be Italian to love him he is the people’s champion.  His character expresses warmth and feeling.  No other rider in the championship has his character, he is funny and a crowd pleaser.

So where will we end the 2012 Season with Stonor being the champion?  Will Lorenzo continue to race ahead of the pack out on his own?  Will Pedrosa continue to be a steady bet? Does anyone else stand a chance of catching these three, looking at the points and the fight that is unlikely.

We of course being British love an underdog, my favourite is Bautista he has had an interesting season with good and bad moments, almost reaching a podium and then accused of causing a crash and going to the back of the field.   He is the one I am backing unless there is a miracle I know he will not make the Top Three this season, but maybe a Top Three podium before the season ends .  I will keep my fingers and toes crossed.

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Cricket: Long Marston Vs Twyford

Long Marston 1st XI

A cloudy Saturday at Marlins resulted in Long Marston 1st XI suffering their second heavy defeat in as many weeks at the hands of early pace setters Twyford at home. With key players coming back and a stronger team out than the week before, Australian captain Peter Toovey once again lost at the toss and Twyford decided to bat on what looked a damp wicket and could provide some early help for the bowlers.

A solid start from in form opener Matthew Wareham and Peter Toovey was broken whenWareham (9) edged behind to first slip. Two balls later and Long Marston were in real trouble when James Beesley (0) lost his off stump and Rory Miscampbell (1) was to be dismissed in similar fashion seven balls later. Long Marston losing three wickets in the space of ten balls.

A brief stage of rebuilding was ended when Peter Toovey (23) mistimed a square cut and offered up a simple catch to Mid-On. Matthew Storey (0) was to follow for a second ball duck moments later. For Long Marston this then sparked another mini collapse as Chris Slade (1) and Richard Adams (0) both lost their wickets cheaply in quick succession. First team debutant Chris West (14) was making his first appearance since joining from Reading stayed with Mike Lyons (21) as Long Marston tried to rebuild their innings, however once their partnership was broken the last two wickets fell quickly again with Waleed Ali and Simon McLeman both being removed without scoring.

Twyford bowler Kumbar Hussain finished with outstanding figures of 6-39 after showing his skills by moving the ball both in and away off the seam. Long Marston eventually posting a well below par score of 83. Despite a strong start to the Twyford innings, with Peter Toovey picking up a wicket with the second ball of the innings by removing the stump and sending it flying 10 yards back, and again in similar fashion a few overs later.

Twyford attacked the Long Marston bowling attack and made short work of the small target with a couple of dropped catches proving very costly with such a low score. With Zaheer Hussain and Tariq Hussain both ending up 37*, it took just over 15 overs for Long Marston to be put out of their misery and Twyford to win by 8 wickets. After suffering their fourth defeat from six match’s things are becoming tough especially after another disappointing performance both in the field and with the bat.

Having now only scored over One Hundred & Twenty twice in the first six games the batting needs to improve rapidly with the next three fixtures all against teams in the thick of promotion. Long Marston need to get a  victory at home to struggling Sandford St Martin next week to propel themselves back up the table, and if we do not find some form in the next few weeks we are looking at a long hard fight against relegation for the remaining weeks of the season.

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Sport Psychology – All Achievement Begins With a Thought…

London Life Coach & Sports Performance Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about achievement and sport psychology. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website

I love the variety in my job and the fact that although I spend 75% of my time dealing with clinical issues and life coaching, I am also stretched to develop coaching talents in new areas. I have been working in Sports Psychology for a number of years now, triggered by my love of rowing and tennis which both tend to get a tad competitive. With the Olympics 2012 coming up, the demand for Sports Psychology has dramatically increased enabling me to work with some fabulous individuals in this arena.

A psychological approach to sport has often been dismissed because before there was evidence to the contrary many people found it hard to believe that the way a person thinks can have bearing on the performance in sport.  I am a definite advocate for mind power which is best explained by the fact that we first have to think of success before we can manifest success.

All achievement begins with a thought and being able to adapt this to our will enables us to achieve that which we did not think possible. This type of positive thinking that turns into positive doing is also referred to as success consciousness –  a state of mind in which you cannot see yourself as anything but a success. It is a way of ignoring negative thoughts and eventually not having them so you focus on what you can and will achieve.

The principles of success consciousness include:-

  • Creating I CAN awareness – i.e. anything accomplished by another can be accomplished by you
  • Creating I WILL attitude – beating procrastination and being enthusiastic about reaching one’s goal
  • Having a definite objective
  • Developing a do-it-now attitude

Many people never utilise the potential strength within their own personalities. With every physical training program one should incorporate a mind training program. This is where I and other Sports Psychologists come in.  The brain needs to be exercised as much as muscles do otherwise it too can atrophy.  As muscles respond to exercise more quickly when one is relaxed, there is now more advocacy for mental training and the fact that it should include positivity and relaxation, which is where my hypnosis and visualisation training takes effect.

The issue most psychologist focus on is that when the mind is worried or tense it slows down and retards constructive thought.  It inhibits one’s control of the mind and thereby allows you to become mentally subservient to doubts and obstacles taking you further away from your goal of success. We all know how easy it is to concentrate on failures, fears and pressures and lose sight of your goal. However too much confidence is also a trap, for example a single victory should not be seen as proof that you have totally eliminated your negative thinking. Just as one needs a coach for training, a mental sport coach can help you achieve the balance you need to get the results you desire and deserve.

I am often asked “What can mind power do for me, I am already training 24/7 physically and at the peak of my performance?”.  It is here when I explain to the client that employing the principles of mind power can accomplish the attainment of goals at levels far beyond those considered to be in their capacity. More often than not even top athletes only use a fraction of their potential if they are not engaged in mental training; mind power allows enhancement and unlocking of potential producing outstanding results in performance.

I look forward to writing more about Sport Psychology as I have been asked to produce a series of articles for this category. If you wish to pose a question about your particular sport or an aspect of it then either put a comment below, contact me directly or submit an anonymous question through our Q+A page.

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Wimbledon – History and a Bluffers Guide

City Connect loves attending Wimbledon but for those of you whom have yet to attend the best bluffers guide to behind the scenes at Wimbledon is found on its very own webpage.


Wimbledon 2012 will be the 126th time that The All England Lawn Tennis Club will have hosted The Championships since the first tournament in 1877.

Famed for its green grass, white clothing and the Club colours of purple and green, Wimbledon is proud of its traditions. Its sporting heritage combines the best of the old with innovative solutions designed to meet the demands of the modern game.

Wimbledon’s rich history is recorded on paper, captured in photos and on film, and presented through objects, memorabilia and interactive displays in the Museum.

The Beginning

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which is responsible for staging the world’s leading tennis tournament, is a private Club founded in 1868, originally as ‘The All England Croquet Club’. Its first ground was situated off Worple Road, Wimbledon.

In 1875 lawn tennis, a game introduced by major Walter Clopton Wingfield a year or so earlier and originally called Sphairistike, was added to the activities of the Club. In the spring of 1877 the Club was re-titled ‘The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club’ and signalled its change of name by instituting the first Lawn Tennis Championship. A new code of laws, hitherto administered by the Marylebone Cricket Club, was drawn up for the meeting. These have stood the test of time and today’s rules are similar except for details such as the height of the net and posts and the distance of the service line from the net.

The only event held in 1877 was the Gentlemen’s Singles which was won by Spencer Gore, an old Harrovian rackets player, from a field of 22. About 200 spectators paid one shilling each to watch the final.

The lawns at the Worple Road ground were arranged in such a way that the principal court was situated in the middle with the others arranged around it; hence the title ‘Centre Court’, which was retained when the Club moved in 1922 to the present site in Church Road, although it was not a true description of its location at the time. However, in 1980 four new courts were brought into commission on the north side of the Grounds, which meant the Centre Court was once more at the centre of the tournament. The opening of the new No.1 Court in 1997 emphasised the description.

By 1882 activity at the Club was almost exclusively confined to lawn tennis and that year the word ‘croquet’ was dropped from the title. However, for sentimental reasons, it was restored in 1899 and the Club has been known as ‘The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’ ever since.

Enter the Ladies

In 1884 the Ladies’ Singles was inaugurated and, from an entry of 13 players, Maud Watson became the first champion. That same year, the Gentlemen’s Doubles was started, with the trophy donated by the Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club after the end of their doubles championship, played from 1879 to 1883.

As the popularity of Wimbledon increased, the facilities for spectators were improved with permanent stands gradually replacing temporary accommodation. By the mid-1880s crowds were flocking to see the prowess of British twins Ernest and William Renshaw who, separately and as doubles partners, won 13 titles between 1881 and 1889. The boom in popularity of the game in this period became known as the ‘Renshaw Rush’.

For a period in the nineties public affection for Wimbledon waned, but in 1897 the legendary Doherty brothers, Laurie and Reggie, began their 10-year rule of the courts and soon capacity crowds reappeared.

Overseas Champions

By the turn of the century Wimbledon had assumed an international character and in 1905 May Sutton of the United States became the first Champion from overseas when she won the Ladies’ Singles. She repeated her success in 1907, the year when Norman Brookes of Australia became the first Gentlemen’s Singles champion from overseas. Since that year, only two players from Great Britain, Arthur Gore and Fred Perry, have managed to win the Men’s Singles while there have been five British Ladies’ Champions since Wimbledon moved to Church Road — Kitty McKane Godfree, Dorothy Round, Angela Mortimer, Ann Jones and Virginia Wade.

A New Home

Prior to the First World War the facilities at Worple Road were expanded to meet the ever-growing demand of the public and a move to larger premises was planned. This was not achieved until 1922 when the present ground in Church Road was opened by King George V. The foresight of building the present stadium, designed to hold 14,000 people, did more to popularise the game worldwide than anything that has happened to date.

The new ground, which many thought would turn out to be a ‘white elephant’, was financed partly from the accumulated reserves of the Club and partly by the issue of Debentures. Misgivings about the future popularity of The Championships were dispelled when applications for tickets in the first year were such that they had to be issued by a ballot — a system that has been adopted for every Championship since.

The move to Church Road coincided with a break in tradition, whereby the Challenge Round was abolished in favour of the holder playing through each round.

Wimbledon Thrives

Each year during the twenties, France produced at least one singles champion. Towards the end of Suzanne Lenglen’s reign the famous ‘Four Musketeers’ — Jean Borota, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste — appeared on the scene and during the next ten years won six Singles titles and five Doubles titles between them. Britain’s Kitty McKane (Godfree) won the Ladies’ Singles in 1924 and 1926 and a year later Helen Wills of the United States started her conquest.

Wimbledon continued to thrive in the thirties. Bill Tilden returned at the age of 38 to gain his third crown and in 1931 Cilly Assem registered Germany’s first win in the Ladies’ Singles. The following year over 200,000 spectators were present for the first time.

The years from 1934 to 1937 were a golden era for British tennis, when a total of 11 titles were captured, including three singles in succession by Fred Perry and two by Dorothy Round. During the same period Great Britain successfully defended the Davis Cup three times in Challenge Rounds staged on the Centre Court. The years just before the Second World War belonged to the United States. Donald Budge won all three events in 1937 and 1938, Helen Wills Moody captured the Ladies’ Singles for the eight time and Alice Marble brought a new dimension to ladies’ tennis with her serve and volley game.

Wartime Wimbledon

During the Second World War the Club managed to remain open despite a severe curtailment of staff. The premises were used for a variety of civil defence and military functions such as fire and ambulance services, Home Guard and a decontamination unit. Troops stationed within the vicinity were allowed to use the main concourse for drilling. Another familiar sight around the ground was a small farmyard consisting of pigs, hens, geese, rabbits, etc. In October 1940 a ‘stick’ of five 500lb bombs struck Centre Court, resulting in the loss of 1,200 seats.

With the war in Europe over, signs of normality began to return to Wimbledon during June and July 1945, when a series of matches between Allied servicemen took place on the old No. 1 Court, which had escaped enemy action. During August the final stages of the United States European Championships were played and Charles Hare, an Englishman serving in the US Army, became champion.

Play Resumed

Early in 1946 the decision was taken to resume The Championships that summer. The monumental task of organising the meeting in so short a time was entrusted to Lt. Col. Duncan Macaulay, the newly appointed Secretary. With unlimited enthusiasm he overcame a multitude of problems created by the rationing of almost every commodity, available only by licence, permit or coupon. Much of the war damage was cleared and repairs carried out in an attempt to get the ground back to normal — a situation not achieved until 1949 when building restrictions were eased.

The Post-War Period

The American dominance of Wimbledon continued well into the fifties. Outstanding among an array of champions were Jack Kramer, Ted Schroeder, Tony Trabert, Louise Brough, Maureen Connolly and the late Althea Gibson, the first black winner.

From 1956 until the early 1970s, the Gentlemen’s Singles was virtually the property of Australia as Lew Hoad, Neale Fraser, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe became household names. The sequence of American wins in the Ladies’ Singles was not broken until 1959 when Maria Bueno of Brazil triumphed. In the 1960s, Margaret Smith became the first Australian to win the event, while Angela Mortimer and Ann Jones revived the British interest.

Open Tennis

The expansion of air travel in the 1950s meant more and more overseas players were competing at Wimbledon and other tournaments throughout the world, but with this new era came an epidemic of what had become known as ‘shamateurism — the receiving of financial assistance in excess of amounts permitted by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the authority in charge of the rules of lawn tennis and the governing body of the game worldwide.

The need for reform was evident. The initiative for reform came from the then Chairman Herman David who in late 1959 put forward a proposal to the Lawn Tennis Association that The Championships be made open to all players. The following July the ITF rejected this move and several years followed in which argument persisted at all levels of the game. In 1964 the Club tried to persuade the LTA unilaterally to declare The Championships ‘open’ but support was not forthcoming.

In August 1967 an invitation tournament (sponsored by the BBC to mark the introduction of colour television) was held on the Centre Court with eight players taking part — all professionals. Most of these players had won honours at Wimbledon in their amateur days but had forfeited the right to play there on turning professional. The segregation of the two categories was soon to come to an end.

In December that year the Annual Meeting of the LTA voted overwhelmingly to admit players of all categories to Wimbledon and other tournaments in Britain. Faced with a fait accompli the ITF yielded and allowed each nation to determine its own legislation regarding amateur and professional players. In 1968, Rod Laver and Billie Jean King became the first Wimbledon Open Champions. The total prize money that year was £26,150.

The Boycott

1973 was a sad year for Wimbledon as 81 members of the Association of Tennis Professionals boycotted the meeting following the suspension earlier in the year of Nikki Pilic by the Yugoslavian Lawn Tennis Association. Despite the absence of so many players, attendance reached over 300,000. Jan Kodes of Czechoslovakia and Billie Jean King won the singles titles.

Records Broken

In recent years long-standing records have been broken. In 1980 Bjorn Borg of Sweden became the first player to win the Gentlemen’s Singles five times in the post-challenge round era; a feat replicated by Roger Federer between 2003 and 2007. In 1985 Boris Becker, aged 17, became the youngest player, the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Gentlemen’s Singles. In 1987 Martina Navratilova of the United States became the first player to win the Ladies’ Singles six times in succession and in 1990 she attained the all-time record of nine victories in the event. Pete Sampras of the United States registered his seventh win in 2000 and in 2001, Goran Ivanisevic became the first wildcard to win the Gentlemen’s Singles. In 2009, Roger Federer surpassed Sampras’s record of 15 Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon, defeating Andy Roddick to win his sixth Wimbledon title, and 16th Grand Slam singles title. In 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut contested the longest tennis match in history, eventually ending 70-68 in the fifth set after 138 games, and 11 hours and five minutes over three days.

Anniversary Celebrations

In 1977, The Championships celebrated their centenary. On the opening day 41 of 52 surviving singles champions paraded on the Centre Court and each received a silver commemorative medal from HRH The Duke of Kent, the President of the Club, to mark the occasion. On the second Friday, The Championships were honoured by the presence of HM The Queen, who presented the Ladies’ Singles trophy to Virginia Wade on Centre Court, together with a special trophy to mark Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee. As part of the celebrations the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and the Kenneth Ritchie Library were opened.

The centenary of the Ladies’ Singles Championship was celebrated in 1984. The highlight of The Championships was the parade on the Centre Court of 17 of 20 surviving champions, who each received a unique piece of Waterford Crystal from HRH The Duke of Kent.

The 100th Championships in 1986 were celebrated in a variety of ways, including a special dinner party for those who had made significant contributions over the years, and the formation of the Last 8 Club. 1993 marked the 100th Ladies’ Championships and the occasion was suitably commemorated.

The occasion of the Millennium was celebrated on the first Saturday when 64 Singles Champions, Doubles Champions four or more times, and Singles Finalists at least twice, paraded on Centre Court.

2011 sees the celebration of the 125th Championships.

The Ever Changing Scene

Over the years the Club has constantly been aware of the need to provide facilities and ground improvements compatible with the pace and demand of modern day sport. Seldom has a year gone by without alteration to the Grounds or some organisational change taking place. In recent years the momentum has increased and major works programmes have provided improved facilities for the players, spectators, officials and media.

In 1979 the roof of the Centre Court was raised one metre to provide room for another 1,088 seats. The same year a new Debenture Holders’ Lounge was constructed on the north side of the Centre Court. In 1980 the Members’ Enclosure was made into a permanent building. The following year the old No.1 Court complex was rebuilt and enlargements to the North and South Stands increased the capacity of the court by 1,250.

Aoragni (Cloud in the sky) Park was brought into the perimeter of the Club’s grounds in 1982 to give more room during The Championships.

The East Side Building of the Centre Court was opened in 1985. This vast operation provided over 800 extra seats and additional media commentary boxes, new accommodation for the administration staff, a redesigned Museum and an improved Tea Lawn. In 1986 a new two-storey pavilion in Aorangi was constructed.

In 1991 the Centre Court North Building was extended northwards to provide greater accommodation for the Debenture Holders’ Lounge, Museum offices, stores and Library and Club facilities.

A mammoth operation in 1992 replaced the Centre Court roof by a new structure, supported by four pillars, instead of 26 giving 3,601 seats a perfect view, instead of a restricted one.

Wimbledon in the 21st Century

Wimbledon is acknowledged to be the premier tennis tournament in the world and the priority of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts The Championships, is to maintain its leadership into the twenty-first century. To that end a Long Term Plan was unveiled in 1993, which will improve the quality of the event for spectators, players, officials and neighbours.

Stage one of the Plan was completed for the 1997 Championships and involved building in Aorangi Park the new No. 1 Court, a Broadcast Centre, two extra grass courts and a tunnel under the hill linking Church Road and Somerset Road.

Stage two involved the removal of the old No.1 Court complex to make way for the new Millennium Building, providing extensive facilities for the players, press, officials and Members, and the extension of the West Stand of the Centre Court with 728 extra seats.

Stage three concludes this year. The construction of a new Championships entrance building, housing Club staff, museum, bank and ticket office at Gate 3 left the Centre Court east side empty and allowed development to provide better facitilies for the public. The seating capacity was increased from 13,800 to 15,000 and a ground-breaking retractable roof was erected over Centre Court. Court 2 was opened in 2009, and 2011 sees the completion of Court 3 and Court 4.

Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 2011

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about the 2011 Boat Race. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and visit

Oxford won the toss and choose Surrey station, the official safer option despite the last four Boat Races having been won on Middlesex. Once umpire Rob Clegg dropped his red flag, the 157th Boat Race was under way.

Cambridge had a stroke rate of 47 against Oxford at 46 although a minute later Oxford were still rating a good 39 with Cambridge just behind at 38. Oxford veered off course slightly when approaching Fulham football ground only to be warned twice by the umpire but they maintained the advantage, and made it to the Mile in 3 mins 49 secs, one second ahead of our Cambridge crew.

Oxford lead the way by one length at St Paul’s School boathouse but broke clear at the top of Chiswick Eyot, still rating 34. Cambridge attempted to raise the rate by a pip and their cox Liz Box steered a nice tight on the corner trying to claw back the deficit.

By Chiswick Steps, Oxford looking increasingly confident as they took the advantage. Cambridge gave a gallant final push as the final Middlesex bend was in their favour but Oxford held them off, crossing the finish line in 17 mins 32 secs to Cambridge’s 17 mins 44 seconds.

Heartfelt commiseration go to the valiant effort from our Cambridge team.

What a race! In my capacity as a sports performance psychology consultant, I have had the pleasure to work with rowers helping them develop mental fitness to better handle the competitive pressure enabling them to put every stroke of practice to good use when race day finally arrives.

Last Saturday, I was asked repeatedly “What happened?”. Sitting in a local Cambridge pub, watching the aghast faces as the Oxford crew not only took the lead but left Cambridge painfully rowing in their puddles, I found myself explaining the psychology detriments of being favourite to win.

It is no surprise to most of you that we (Cambridge) were almost gloating from the onset of the race that we would not only win, but win our 2nd year in a row. It was a them against us mentality. However, the true challenge in rowing is the competition between the crew and every stroke of the race course, the 9 team mates and the clock, and most importantly each individual and the little voice inside shouting about the pain, the distance, the effort.

Success in rowing is all about the crew’s mental ability not only to handle the pain and fatigue of oxygen debt, but their ability to master the limits that others impose upon them.

Both teams undoubtedly trained to the best of their abilities physically and kudos to both of them, that course is a tough one. Once Oxford had such a lead, the Cambridge crew’s bodies and minds must have been screaming for mercy. It is in that moment that you either stay with the discomfort or you push beyond any limits imaginable, up the power, lengthen those strokes and bring the boat home.

The best way to win is to get comfortable being uncomfortable – this is true in life as much as it is in sport.

Winners build their success on their failures, so no doubt next year Oxford better watch out as Cambridge will be training harder and smarter this year to regain their title.