As part of National School Sport Week, the PE department organised a 250-mile round trip for thirteen students to Loughborough University – home of elite sport in the UK.
The day started with a tour of the fantastic facilities and a chat about how elite-level athletes combine their scholarships and their studies. We visited the gymnastics centre, looking in on the Olympic training arena and trying out the tumble tracks where so many Olympians have honed their skills.
Next up was the jaw-dropping Olympic-sized swimming pool and then the outdoor artificial pitches for every sport imaginable – not forgetting the largest training gym in the UK. A quick stop at the netball development centre (home of Loughborough Lightning) and the purpose-built elite badminton development courts followed before the tour concluded with a visit to the very private athletics park. Here we had a chance to glimpse the next batch of Olympic hopefuls in training.
Students took part in a nutrition workshop, delivered by a PhD student. They learned about the difference between micro- and macro-nutrients and the different food groups. Students were astonished to hear about how calories work and the amount of calories in different foods in a typical daily diet. One student said: “I won’t be going to the shop before breakfast any more!” We were then given the opportunity to sample energy drinks freshly made in front of our eyes. Another staggering fact is the amount of sugar added to popular energy drinks!
Now it was time to burn off some calories in an intensive fitness-testing workshop using state-of-the-art equipment. Mya Tait went fastest over 10 metres. The lasers clocked her time at a rapid 1.35s, ahead of Theo Llewellyn at 1.39s. Students tested their explosive power. Stella Browne’s power compared to that of an elite-level performer for her age. Elsewhere, Hayden Millman demonstrated he had a strong grip in the hand-grip dynamometer test and Alex Roberts went fastest in the ‘T-Test’ (which tests agility).
Finally, students took part in a handball workshop – a sport none of them had tried before. They were given an overview of the basic rules and techniques before being let loose on the court to apply their skills in a gripping, end-to-end, competitive game. One phase of play saw one team string together a combination of fourteen uninterrupted passes before scoring. Check it out on our Twitter feed!
When the final whistle blew, our time at Loughborough was over. Our story ends with photos of where history begins…