A return to sport

College Sports Academies move training from pitch to PC 

There are a number of issues facing college sports academy programmes at this difficult time, none less than there being no competitive sport fixtures and having to work in educational “bubbles”. Many colleges are working hard to provide practical alternatives, but where there are multiple courses, this is proving to be something of a logistical challenge. 

Coleg Gwent has thought outside the box when it comes to utilising different ways in which to engage with sports academy learners during these challenging and uncertain times.

Recipes replace rucks!

Face-to-face rugby training has been replaced by online fitness sessions and workshops as well as technical training. But the rugby squad at Coleg Gwent has gone one step further, they’ve been holding weekly cookery lessons! 

Held online and led by coach Steve Llewelyn, each session sees players learning to cook a meal which they then can then share with their respective families. Nutritional guidance has also been given to the squad from none other than Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales Flanker, Ollie Griffiths. Ollie, who is a graduate of the Coleg Gwent Rugby Academy gave an insight into his eating regime and tips on how to ensure appropriate nutrition across 5 meals a day! The protein-rich meals created so far include Sweet Chilli Chicken Noodles, Sweet Potato Cottage Pie and Chicken and Chorizo Paella. 

This is a fantastic example of helping to develop lifelong skills for learners who in some cases will go on to play professional sport, and keeping learners engaged as we approach the start of a second national lockdown. 

We’ve collectively learned many lessons from the Spring Lockdown and it’s heartening to see how online platforms and Covid-secure face-to-face provision have been embraced to support academy learners from across all colleges. 

Netball Academy Strava Challenge

College Academy Coach Emma Meredith recently set a challenge for the Crosskeys Girl’s Netball Academy using the free app Strava. Learners were asked to complete a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise, be it running, cycling or walking, with the very important task of taking fun photographs along the way! 

Learners jumped to the challenge of recording various activity including walks with their families, friends and dogs! Some cycled whilst others ran, with one learner going above and beyond to create the outline of a jumping horse on her Strava route! 

Coleg Gwent’s Emma Meredith said,

“I’m delighted to see our learners engaging so positively with fitness and wellbeing activities, especially during what has been and continues to be a challenging time for young people.” 

ColegauCymru Sport Project Manager Rob Baynham added,

“We’re encouraged to see young people engaging with online and remote ways of keeping active and hope that this trend will continue long into the future.” 

How is your college keeping young people engaged? 
If your college is using innovative ways in which to engage learners in physical activity during these difficult times, get in touch – we'd love to hear from you! 
Rob.Baynham@ColegauCymru.ac.uk 

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