Image of Netball girls in a circle with hands in the centreCategoriesAnnouncement Events Member News Student News

UoB to Host the 2023-24 BUCS Conference Finals

UoB to Host 2023-24 BUCS Conference Cup Finals

The University of Birmingham is proud and excited to announce that we have been selected by BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) to host the annual 2023-24 Midlands Conference Cup Finals.

 

Taking place on Wednesday 6 March, the day will see 14 sports hosted across our exceptional facilities, with the addition of Futsal taking place at Birmingham City University.

 

Having been selected from multiple institutions, we cannot wait to host this prestigious event for the first time, and provide our student-athletes with the opportunity to play a final on home soil!

Sports to be hosted at UoB at the 2023-24 BUCS Midlands Conference Cup Finals:

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Netball
  • Rugby League
  • Rugby Union
  • Squash
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Thanks and congratulations go to the wider UoB Sport team and departments that made this happen; from those that were responsible for creating and submitting the initial application, to those that have supported the idea since it was first mentioned.

 

We relish any and all opportunities to showcase the amazing work we do here at UoB, and the 2023-24 BUCS Midlands Conference Cup Finals will be no different!

 

See our full fixture timetable below:

 

Basketball (M)

Munrow Arena 1, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

12:00

Basketball (W)

Munrow Arena 1, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

14:30

Netball (W)

Munrow Arena 1, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

17:00

Netball (W)

Munrow Arena 1, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

19:30

Badminton (M)

Munrow Arena 3, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

12:00

Badminton (W)

Munrow Arena 3, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

12:00

Volleyball (M)

Munrow Arena 3, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

18:30

Volleyball (W)

Munrow Arena 3, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

15:00

Table Tennis (M)

Slater Hall, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

12:00

Table Tennis (W)

Slater Hall, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

16:00

Fencing (M)

Slater Hall, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

19:00

Fencing (W)

Slater Hall, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

19:00

Squash (M)

Squash Courts, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

14:30

Squash (W)

Squash Courts, Sport and Fitness, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT

14:30

Hockey (M)

Water based synthetics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

19:30

Hockey (W)

Water based synthetics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

17:00

Hockey (M)

Water based synthetics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

12:00

Hockey (W)

Water based synthetics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

14:30

Lacrosse (M)

Metchley Grass Pitches, 126 Metchley Ln, Birmingham B17 0JA

12:00

Lacrosse (W)

Bournbrook 3G, Bournbrook 3G, Birmingham B15 2GR

14:30

Football (M)

Metchley Grass Pitches, 126 Metchley Ln, Birmingham B17 0JA

14:30

Football (W)

Bournbrook 3G, Bournbrook 3G, Birmingham B15 2GR

14:30

Football (M)

Metchley Grass Pitches, 126 Metchley Ln, Birmingham B17 0JA

14:00

Rugby Union (M)

Bournbrook 3G, Bournbrook 3G, Birmingham B15 2GR

19:30

Rugby Union (W)

Bournbrook 3G, Bournbrook 3G, Birmingham B15 2GR

17:00

Rugby Union (M)

Metchley Grass Pitches, 126 Metchley Ln, Birmingham B17 0JA

14:00

Rugby Union (M)

Metchley Grass Pitches, 126 Metchley Ln, Birmingham B17 0JA

14:00

Tennis (M)

Tennis Courts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

11:00

Tennis (W)

Tennis Courts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

11:00

Tennis (M)

Tennis Courts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

14:00

Tennis (W)

Tennis Courts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

14:00

Golf (Mixed)

Edgbaston Golf Club, 25 Church Rd, Birmingham B15 3TB

09:30

Futsal (M)

Doug Ellis, BCU

16:15

Futsal (W)

Doug Ellis, BCU

19:30

 

 

CategoriesAnnouncement Member News Student News

Scholars Stun During Action-Packed Weekend

Scholars Stun During Action-Packed Weekend

Whilst the majority of us are winding down for Christmas, our incredible University performance athletes continue to compete and succeed, both on international and domestic stages.

 

The weekend of 9-10 December especially saw a huge number of UoB student-athletes shine, spearheaded by third year Mechanical Engineering student and Elite Scholar Will Barnicoat.

 

Will (pictured above and on the left below, credit: Clay Shaw 2023) produced a perfectly executed race through the mud at the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels to claim his second consecutive title and significantly contribute to British Athletics’ most successful outing at the event ever, despite moving up an age category.  

Will said: “It feels surreal to have claimed a gold medal in a new age category, I honestly couldn’t believe it when I crossed the line. It feels great to have set it in stone that I can turn up to major events and collect medals on a regular basis.”

 

“My preparation in the lead up to the race was great and the UoB EDCAP scholarship programme has played a key role in my progression and success throughout. From S+C and Physiotherapy to Performance Lifestyle and Nutrition, it’s really helped me get to where I am now.”

In addition to Will’s individual gold, all four of the UoB representatives (Tomer Tarragano, Amelia Quirk (pictured left) and Zoe Hunter) came home with a Team Gold in the U23 Men’s, Senior Women’s and U20 Women’s categories respectively.

 

This can only mean extremely exciting things ahead of the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Cross Country Championships in February 2024, where the UoB Athletics Club will be looking to retain their Women’s Team title and go one better than their Men’s Team Silver from 2023.

On the other side of Europe in Bucharest, the British Swimming team – featuring triple British Champion Ollie Morgan – made history at the European Short Course Championships, as they finished top of the medal table for the first time.

 

Coached by the University’s very own Head of Swimming Gary Humpage, Ollie added to British Swimming’s impressive medal tally by claiming his first international medal – and the first of its kind for the University too – in the 4×50 Medley Relay, where the Great Britain team finished second.

With the addition of making the final of the 50m Backstroke and only narrowly missing out on spots in both the 100 and 200 finals, as well as continuing to improve on his personal best times across all three distances, the event provided a fitting conclusion to an absolutely phenomenal year of performances and progression for Ollie.

 

Ollie says: “It was amazing to be a part of another medley relay team, this time at a short course competition, which isn’t the strongest part of my competitive season. I was able to pull off a great swim and it fills me with pride to be a part of a record-breaking British Swimming team, as well as to get my hands on my first piece of international silverware!”

 

Whilst Ollie awaits the results of his nominations for the 2023 Propulsion Swimming ‘British Breakthrough Swimmer’ and ‘Most Improved British Swimmer’ awards, we already can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store for him!

University Elite Scholars Evie Wood (pictured below left) and Alice Atkinson competed for England at the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup in Chile, where they narrowly missed out on retaining their place on the podium from 2022. The team placed 4th after losing to Germany in the bronze medal match.

 

The University of Birmingham’s affiliation to success on the international hockey stage remains as strong as ever, as honourable mentions must also go to current Social Policy student and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lily Walker, who despite being selected to play alongside Evie and Alice at the Junior World Cup, instead played in Argentina as part of the Great Britain Senior Women’s squad in the first round of the 2023-24 FIH Pro League.

Lily played alongside alumna Lily Owsley (pictured below right) who achieved her 100th GB Cap during the series – a phenomenal feat for the 29-year old UoB Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences graduate. The Argentina Pro League also saw fellow alumnus Nick Bandurak achieve his 50th combined cap.

Medals and podium places were also won on the domestic stages across the same weekend by a handful of the University’s high-performing student-athletes.

 

At the BUCS Individual Squash Championships, the University of Birmingham and its Squash Club were delighted to have 2 atop the men’s podium. Moustafa El Sirty (below left) claimed his debut BUCS title after producing quite the comeback in the final, whilst Will Salter (below right) emphatically won the bronze medal. Hana Ismail placed a fine fourth in the Women’s competition.

 

Fellow scholar and last year’s BUCS Individuals champion Elliot Morris-Devred was absent from the tournament as he competes for Wales at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships, currently ongoing in Tauranga, New Zealand. Wales have currently qualified top of their group for the quarter finals after commanding victories against the host nation, Republic of Korea and, most recently, Czech Republic.

We had three scholarship representatives present at the British Senior and Junior Judo Championships, all of whom came away with medals.

 

First year Biological Sciences student Summer Shaw (pictured second from the left below) was crowned the champion in both the junior and senior -48kg competitions, whilst fellow scholars Lachlan Moorhead and Ben Levy won the silver medals in the senior -81kg and junior -73kg categories respectively.

To conclude an incredible array of performances and results from just one single weekend, at the British Rowing Indoor Championships – an event that was hosted in Birmingham in conjunction with FitFest 2023 and saw numerous British and World Rowing Records broken – the University’s very own Katie Mole made the home crowd proud as she claimed the Women’s 2000m gold.

 

After such a high volume of success in a relatively short amount of time, recognition and applause must go not only to the athletes themselves, but their coaches and the University practitioners and personnel that provide tailored and unwavering support throughout all aspects of our student-athletes’ lives. 

CategoriesMember News Student News

Five Minutes With: Evie Wood

Five Minutes With: Evie Wood

Third year Geology student and UoB Elite Sport Scholar Evie Wood is no stranger to the international hockey stage. A long-time member of the Great Britain Elite Development Programme (GB EDP) and having starred in the 2022 England squad that secured a historic bronze medal at the 2022 Junior World Cup, Evie has returned to the squad for this year’s FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup, this time as Co-Captain. First year sport scholar Alice Atkinson (pictured with Evie below) also features in the squad.

 

We caught up with Evie before she travelled to Chile for the tournament – where England have qualified for the quarter-finals after topping their pool – to find out what it is about international hockey that she enjoys so much, how she prepared for the tournament before travelling and what she believes sets Birmingham apart from other universities.

Q: Last year you were part of the history-making, bronze medal-winning England squad at the Junior World Cup. This year, you’ve been named as Co-Captain. What are you most excited about this year’s tournament?

Firstly, I’m really excited to play in Santiago. The venue looks amazing and I haven’t been to Chile before so looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere and culture there.

 

Secondly, in tournaments such as the Junior World Cup you come across teams from all continents. In our pool we play New Zealand, Japan and USA which are all teams we rarely get to play, so it’s an exciting challenge to compete against these different styles of hockey. 

 

Q: What do you love most about playing international hockey?

I love both the performance aspect and the travel that comes with international hockey. Playing high level, pressured games is exciting, and to be able to play these games all around the world is what makes it different to your club games. 

 

Q: How – if at all – has your training regime changed over the last couple of months, in preparation for travelling to Chile?

On pitch, we have been training weekly with the England U21 squad. In August, we also played in a Four Nations tournament in Germany where we competed against the German, Indian and Spanish U21 squads.

 

Since Chile will be much warmer than England in December, we have been prepping off pitch in the heat chamber (pictured below) and sauna at the University to get some heat acclimation in before we arrive.

Q: How do you cope with balancing elite-level hockey and international competition, alongside your academic studies?

I’m currently in my third year at UoB studying Geology. I decided to split my third year (complete it over two years instead of one) which has given me more time to train and focus on the Junior World Cup, whilst also completing my degree alongside this. Over the last two years, my lecturers have been really accommodating of my hockey commitments and I have had regular meetings with both my academic tutors and the Scholarships Team at Birmingham to help me manage both work and hockey load. 

 

Q: How has the EDCAP programme supported your development as an elite-level hockey player?

The range and the level of support we can access through the UoB EDCAP scholarship programme, I believe, is unmatched and has made a huge impact on my development as an athlete. Having strength and conditioning coaching three times a week, along with physiotherapy, nutrition and lifestyle support available helps me become a more well-rounded athlete both on and off the pitch. 

Q: Why would you recommend UoB to aspiring hockey players?

The most important thing for me is the team culture and I feel that the whole hockey club at Birmingham creates an environment where everyone feels welcome. This alongside the amazing facilities and the high level of coaching is what I believe sets Birmingham apart from other universities.

 

Q: Looking ahead, what is next on the cards for you after the Junior World Cup has finished?

After the Junior World Cup I’ll no longer be eligible for the U21s, so am looking forward to developing within the GB EDP environment and then senior squad trials at the end of next year.

What They Said…

“As part of her preparations for the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in Santiago (Chile), where temperatures regularly exceed 30 degrees Celsius, EDCAP scholar and Goalkeeper Evie Wood followed a heat acclimation protocol, drawn up by myself and fellow UoB Sport Physiologist Dan Lothian.

 

Evie completed weekly bike sessions in the University’s environmental “heat” chamber, supplemented with regular post-exercise sauna bathing as a practical alternative, allowing her to maintain her usual hockey-specific training alongside this. 

 

Exposure to these environments drives a number of key physiological and thermoregulatory responses, resulting in a lower core temperature, heart rate and perception of effort, as well as an increased sweat rate and thermal comfort, to name but a few. All of this meant that Evie was well-equipped and ready to take on that Chilean heat!”

 

– Dave Sheldon, UoB Sport Physiology Lead (left)

CategoriesMember News Student News

Five Minutes With: Andrew Stamp

Five Minutes With: Andrew Stamp

Biological Sciences student, Elite Sport Scholar, 2023 BUCS Champion and British Gymnastics’ World Class Performance Programme star Andrew Stamp made history at the Trampoline World Championships in 2022, recording the highest-placed finish of a British male in the Olympic era and becoming Team All-Around Champion.

 

Now, with the 2023 World Championships also under his belt – in which Andrew led the Men’s Trampoline team to a bronze medal, the first in this category since 1992 – and the countdown to Paris 2024 well and truly on, we caught up with Andrew to find out how he manages to balance his University of Birmingham degree alongside elite sport, whilst also keeping his focus on Olympic qualification.

Q: How did you get into Trampoline Gymnastics and what do you enjoy most about it?

 

I first started gymnastics when I was four or five years old and then transitioned into Trampoline Gymnastics when I was 11. I think my parents always just wanted me to go and burn energy because I was always such a hyper kid, but to me, the best thing about trampolining is the feeling of floating through the air. I’ve never done anything that’s kind of replicated that, or even got close to it.

Q: How do you think being a sport scholar on the EDCAP Elite programme has supported your progression to date?

 

The EDCAP scholarship has been massively important for me, especially to help me balance my studies and training. It’s allowed me to go part-time with my studies, so that I can focus on training when I need to whilst not sacrificing my degree.

Q: You’re now mid-way through your academic course – how do you find balancing these demands alongside elite sport?

 

Balancing a degree and training is definitely a challenge, especially with my training not being centralised here in Birmingham. But the Scholarship team has definitely helped me organise my time and organise my skills so that it’s possible. They’ve helped me realise that it really is possible to do both.

 

Q: What advice would you give to a student-athlete looking to pursue elite sport alongside their academics?

 

Definitely do it! Although  sport is our entire world, it won’t last forever unfortunately so it’s best not to see getting a degree as a plan B or a fall-back. It’s part of the journey and it’s going to set you up well after school and even during school for future careers and development.

Q: What did it mean to win BUCS Individual and Team Gold for UoB last year?

 

The competition was a really fun competition to do, actually. With it being held in Birmingham just over the road was ideal, and to represent and come away with two gold medals to give back to the University and Performance Sport Department after all they’ve done for me…it was really nice.

 

Q: What does a typical training week look like for you?

 

My training is broken down into what we call ‘Jump’ sessions or ‘Tramp’ sessions, which is time actually spent on the trampoline, practicing and honing the skills. These are supplemented with strength sessions – which work on increasing and improving overall power, so that we can jump higher, perform bigger scales –  but also with conditioning, which is more like bodyweight exercises for injury-prevention. Conditioning tends to be focused around core, back, ankles… basically our joints, to make sure that we’re working all the ligaments and making sure they’re robust enough that when we hit a trampoline, we’re going to bounce back up and not just crumble!

Q: How do you feel your preparation for this year’s World Championships went for you?

 

My preparation for the World Championships went really well. We spent three weeks with the team at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall, just practicing, trying to master those 1%’s. This year, we’ve done a lot of international competitions, which I think has helped really prepare me and the rest of the team for the big stages. Like, how to approach competition and how to get the best out of yourself on the day, which I feel really benefitted my preparation for the World Champs.

 

Q: How do you feel the 2023 World Championships went for you personally?

 

For me, the World Championships was a bit of a mixed one. I performed some good routines, but unfortunately just not quite at the right time. Ultimately though, if you’re walking away with two Championship medals (Men’s Trampoline Team and the All-Around Team) it definitely can’t be classed as a ‘bad competition’. I’m just taking away some improvements I need to make and some new focuses in training to work on before the next one.

 

Q: How have the results you achieved during this time inspired/motivated you for this season so far, and your future goals?

 

So this year, we’ve done a series of three cuts out of five so far, plus the World Championships, which are all a part of the qualification process for the Olympic Games and I’ve ultimately been collecting points and gradually moving up the leaderboard. My achievements and performances to date definitely motivate me to keep pushing for the Olympics – it’s becoming more real…the goal is getting closer and closer. So it’s definitely motivational to have that within reach and to be able to keep pushing for it.

What They Said…

As part of his Elite Dual Career Athlete Pathway (EDCAP) sport scholarship, Andrew works closely with Jo to ensure he is well-equipped to find and manage the balance between his demands, so that he can maximise his potential across all areas, without having to sacrifice one for another.

 

“The key focus with Andrew is making sure he feels able to achieve his best, both on the trampoline and in his academic course. We have been able to facilitate this by accessing academic flexibility which is available to EDCAP scholars through the Wellbeing Team in his college. More time to complete assessments means Andrew doesn’t need to take valuable time away from training and sleep, but is still able to commit the necessary time to deliver the standard of work he is happy with. Also, being able to ensure no assessments clash with his competitions means he is able to focus on delivering his best performance with no distractions.”

 

– Joanna Eley, UoB Sport Performance Lifestyle Lead

Hockey players on pitchCategoriesAnnouncement Member News Student News

UoB Dual Career Accreditation Renewed

UOB RENEWS DUAL CAREER ACCREDITATION

We continue to lead the way in dual career support to high performance athletes in education, after having our Dual Career Accreditation successfully renewed for the third year.

WHAT IS THE DUAL CAREER ACCREDITATION?


The TASS Dual Career Accreditation Scheme recognises and promotes an education institution’s commitment to providing comprehensive dual career support for high performance student-athletes and acknowledges an enhanced level of academic flexibility and understanding within an institution.


Accredited sites are awarded on their ability to support talented sportspeople find and manage the optimum balance between their – often hectic and challenging – sport and academic schedules, to maximise their potential and gain success in both.

Referenced within Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s “Duty of Care in Sport” review (published in April 2017), the Accreditation evidences that a college or University has the ability to support students following a dual career route. In support of the scheme, she said:

“I believe we have a duty to help young people to achieve their potential, whilst prioritising their welfare, wellbeing and education. For me, the TASS Dual Career Accreditation Scheme is a vitally important measure to ensuring all athletes have the chance to pursue an education and enjoy a more well-rounded approach to life.”

This accreditation directly aligns with our objective of maintaining our position as one of the leading destinations of choice for dual career success and we are incredibly proud to have retained this prestigious status for the third year running.

 

Depending on the circumstances, this may mean that student-athletes supported by our Elite Dual Career Athlete Pathway (EDCAP) sport scholarship programme have increased opportunity to be considered for further academic flexibility, from access to online notes and/or resources, to deadline extensions and rescheduled exams.

 

In addition to this, the accreditation supports the creation and maintenance of the huge number of collaborative partnerships that currently exist across the University between academic and sport personnel.

Current EDCAP Scholar Yasmin Javadian (above) says:

 

“Without the incredible dual career support provided at UoB, I don’t think I would have ever been able to successfully balance my full-time Dentistry degree alongside becoming a 2022 Commonwealth Games medallist – as far as I’m concerned, the support I’ve gained through both my course and the EDCAP programme is second to none and I’ll always be grateful that I’ve had access to it throughout such a vital time in my competitive career.”

Sport Scholarships Manager Hugh Sproston says:

 

“We’re incredibly proud to have our accredited status renewed. The ever-rising standard of our sport scholars comes hand in hand with increased demands to somehow balance full-time education with elite sport. This accreditation demonstrates the Unviersity’s commitment to dual career support for our student-athletes, supporting them to excel both academically and within their sport. This is never more relevant than in an academic year leading into an Olympics, and we hope to see a number of current students competing in Paris, along with a host of alumni!”

 

 

TASS’ National Director Guy Taylor says:

 

“Dual career support is at the forefront of what TASS does and that’s why the Accreditation Scheme is so important for us in recognising those institutions who place precedence on their athletes’ education too. We hope that the academic flexibility policies put into place for the Accreditation will begin to develop an effective and lasting dual career structure within each institution.”

CategoriesAnnouncement Events Member News Student News

All Things Archon

ALL THINGS ARCHON

Whether you’re a regular gym-goer or just beginning your fitness journey, Archon’s ‘The Fittest – Universities’ offers the perfect opportunity to discover your potential, set personal benchmarks and witness your progress soar over nine action-packed months.

WHAT IS ARCHON?

Archon created the first ever rating for fitness (AFR), allowing everyone to understand their fitness and what it could mean for them in the future. Creating a universal fitness rating means that everyone has the ability to see how fit they are and, once armed with that information, what that could possibly lead to.

No matter where you’re currently at in your fitness journey, Archon’s unique challenge is open to all UoB students between October 2023 and June 2024, enabling you to ignite your workouts and participate in an epic array of monthly, gym-based engagements, each tailored to push your endurance, strength and power. It’s completely free to take part and you are welcome to tackle each challenge at your own pace in any gym!

As you conquer each task, just enter your scores onto the Archon web app from your smart device and let it intuitively convert your scores into fitness ratings, providing a streamlined method for you to monitor and map out your progression throughout this exciting journey.

With a unique rating system based on your own individual metrics, everyone is rated fairly. You might be interested in testing your existing limits, or perhaps you’re using this as a stepping stone to kick-start a more active lifestyle. Either way, Archon is here to guide and motivate you every step of the way.

Registration for The Fittest – Universities is now OPEN, providing you with the chance to be a part of something huge: to represent the University of Birmingham at the live Championships in June 2024 and be in with a shot of claiming the coveted title of ‘The Fittest Student’.

It’s time to commit to your fitness goals, make them happen and have some fun along the way: secure your spot by registering here today and get ready to show the world what you’re made of!

For more information, feel free to reach out to a member of the Sport & Fitness or Tiverton Gym teams.

The Launch Event – You Are Invited!

The first LIVE engagement will be taking place locally later this month and 112 students are invited to enter a free ballot to be selected to attend and complete the first phase of the rating. All details below:

 

Date: Friday 27 October 2023
Venue: Gymshark Lifting Club, Solihull B90 8AW
Guest Privilege: Every student selected is welcome to bring along one spectator for support!
Participation: No costs involved; it’s all about the experience!
Engagement Details: A full day of excitement, where participants will initiate the first phase of the FITTEST rating live.
Transportation: Participants will need to arrange their own travel.

 

In order to be in with a chance of being selected to attend, please first register via the button above. Once registered, fill out the following ballot entry form to secure your potential spot for the live event:  https://archon-app.com/launch-gslc/

See you at the start line!

CategoriesCampaign Events Member News Psychology Student News

World Mental Health Day 2023

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2023

Tuesday 10 October is World Mental Health Day. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that despite good mental health being vital to our overall health and wellbeing, one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions. These impact an individual’s physical health, wellbeing and how they connect with others, as well as their livelihoods. Mental health conditions are also affecting an increased number of adolescents and young people in particular.

In line with WHO, the University of Birmingham is committed to ensuring mental health is valued, promoted and protected throughout its communities. We are part of the Government’s Mental Health Mission, designed to develop radical new treatments for mental health conditions and improve the outcomes and care for young people with mental health problems.

From a Sport & Fitness perspective specifically, we not only ensure that a number of our staff are Mental Health and Suicide First Aid trained, but also collectively endeavour to provide ample and varied opportunities for our students, staff and members to access support, and to participate in sport and fitness at any level to improve and/or maintain their overall wellbeing.

In honour of this year’s World Mental Health Day, we caught up with two of our in-house Performance Sport experts that specifically work with the University’s highest performing and elite student-athletes, to gather some guidance and insight to how we can best prioritise and take care of our own mental health this October and beyond, whilst also equipping us with the necessary skills to support those close to us that may, at times, need it.

MEET THE EXPERTS

Dr Sue Jones

University of Birmingham Sport Psychologist

Joanna Eley

University of Birmingham Sport Performance Lifestyle Lead

Sue Says...

“Throughout my work I apply a ‘Person First’ approach. A person’s chosen physical activity is just one piece of their story and identity. Maintaining a healthy relationship with sport is key to long term mental health and wellbeing, but sport rarely follows a linear path to success, so it’s important to focus on the process building, not just outcomes. The scales between performance and wellbeing can change very quickly, so the better you connect with a someone’s story, the quicker you can react to those changes and empower them to notice these changes themselves.”

Jo Says...

“While the goal should ideally be to experience high mental health so that individuals can flourish, the majority of people actually just sit somewhere in the moderate mental health scale day-to-day and the main focus tends to be on not experiencing low mental health or mental illness. As a result of this focus, much of the support available tends to be reactive-geared and problem-focused, however the optimum mental health requires a much more proactive approach and an understanding of the different dimensions that can have an impact on your mental health. Being aware of what high mental health looks like for you, the strategies that support that and reducing the barriers to delivering those strategies is something I strive to support high performance individuals achieve.”

Sue and Jo's Top Tips

  1. Journal
    Recognise how you think and behave in positive times so that you can spot any changes in yourself and/or identify any certain triggers for future reference. Journalling is a good way to do this.
  2. Periods of non-ideal mental health are exactly the same as niggles and injuries and therefore should be treated as such. That mean you need to adapt your training or usual routine, in order to prioritise and recover.
  3. Be proactive
    Where possible, keep active, maintain balanced eating habits, maintain self-care and hygiene, regulate sleeping habits, be sociable – even in times where you don’t feel fully up to it, these will help to keep the brain and body healthy.
  4. Be self-compassionate
    If you’re finding something hard, it’s probably because it is hard! It’s much easier to process and move through your feeling if you can acknowledge and accept them.
  5. Build your system
    Slowly over time aim to build and maintain day-to-day/week-by-week processes that facilitate the best mental health outcomes for you. This will help you identify stressors and aid you in working how best to create boundaries and strategies that reduce these stressors that contribute to lower mental health.
  6. Talk to others
    The more you talk to others about general things, the easier it will be to seek support for the more difficult topics.
  7. Supporting others
    Practice empathy and validate their experience(s) by being willing to see their perspective, refraining from judgement, accepting how they are feeling and welcoming conversation.

FREE CLASS AT SPORT & FITNESS!

 

To celebrate this year’s World Mental Health Day, Sport & Fitness will be running a FREE Stretch & Relaxation class, taking place 8:30-9:15am in the Dojo.

 

Bookable now via the Sport & Fitness app under ‘Classes’ and open to everyone in the midst of another busy week, we hope this provides the chance for you to take some well-deserved time for yourself.

Scholar Ollie Morgan performing the backstroke, arm out of the water wearing a red hat.CategoriesStudent News

Five Minutes With: Oliver Morgan

Five minutes with: Oliver Morgan

From BUCS medals and breaking UoB Club Records, to completing the backstroke treble at the British Championships and competing for Great Britain against the best in the world, 2023 has been a year to remember for current Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Sciences student and Elite Sport Scholar Ollie Morgan.

Following his incredible debut at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka (Japan) in August – in which Ollie placed 9th in both the 100m and 200m backstroke, as well as 5th in the Medley Relay – Ollie has since been identified for further support from British Swimming as part of their World Class Performance Pathway, and secured his place as ‘One to Watch’ going forward.

Ollie Morgan in the pool looking up at the camera. Wearing a swimming hat and goggles.

We caught up with Ollie to hear more about his breakthrough year, how he manages to balance his studies alongside elite sport and what he’s got his sights set on next.

Q: It’s safe to say that the 2022-23 season has been the biggest of your career so far; what do you put this progression and success down to?

 

A: I’ve had a lot of progression whilst being at the University of Birmingham and I think it’s got to come down to the team that we’ve built around me. Whether it be strength & conditioning, Gary [Coach and Head of Swimming at UoB], or through things like physio, sports massage, nutrition, psychology…and being supported to manage my studies alongside swimming this year through being a scholar. The level that we’ve reached has been a lot higher due to the fact that I’ve got that excellent team around me to help support me and my needs.

Q: If you could sum up your debut World Championships’ experience in 3 words, what words would you choose?

 

A: I think I’ve got to go with: AMAZING first of all. It was just an incredible experience to be there and be part of that GB team. I think the next one has got to be MOTIVATING – going there, being so close to making those individual finals and also being so close to making the medals in the relay was so motivating, especially moving into next year where we’ve got the Olympic Games. It’s just going to help motivate me through next season and again if I make another World Championships. Making those finals was a big thing. I think the last word has got to be FUN. It was just such good fun to be out there racing the top guys in the world and to come away with the performances that I did.

Q: As well as the competition itself, what was your experience of Japan whilst you were there?

 

A: Being in Japan for a World Championships was incredible and the country itself was too. It was such a different experience to being over here in the UK, but you know, everyone was so friendly – the local community all came together. For example, when we were in Kagoshima for our camp, they were so welcoming – they gave us loads of free gifts and things and yeah, just welcomed us into the community and hopefully we’ll be able to go back at some point. It really was just incredible.

Q: What – if anything – has changed for you following your performances at the World Championships?

 

A: Following my performances at the World Championships, nothing really has changed – the mindset is still there. You know, I’m still so hungry to move forward and get back into training. I didn’t really have much time off over summer, I had a maybe a week of no training, but I was just so hungry to get back into it! The main change going forward is the amount of support I now have access to from British Swimming as part of their World Class Performance Programme, which is only going to strengthen my set up further as they work alongside my University support team.

Q: How do you feel your time at the University of Birmingham so far – and especially your time working with the Performance Centre practitioners as part of your elite sport scholarship – has helped you progress to the level at which you are competing now?

 

A: Being a part of the scholarship program has been so beneficial to me. I think I’ve delved into a lot of support with, you know, physios, S&C, nutrition, psychology, performance lifestyle…everything. I think it’s really helped me move to that next step in my career where now I’m competing on an international stage and representing Great Britain. I think it’s really helped me to have that personalised program and having people around me that can support my needs, and also look into things like injury prevention and what I can do in my diet, for instance, to really boost my performance.

Q: How do you manage to balance your studies alongside training and competing at an elite standard?

 

A: Being a student-athlete at the University of Birmingham has been amazing for me so far and balancing my studies alongside my swimming has been really quite straightforward, if I’m honest. Everyone around me, the course Wellbeing Team as well, have been so supportive and helpful in helping me sort out extensions for if I have competitions on during deadlines and it’s really helped take that pressure off of me and keep myself organised.

Q: What do you love most about being a part of the University’s Swimming Club?

 

A: There are so many things I love about being a part of the University of Birmingham Swim Club. I think one of the main things is the relationship that we all have together and the fact that we turn up to training and have a good time. I don’t think there’s anything better than being able to go to training knowing that it’s going to be fun and you’re going to enjoy it. And the fact that everyone’s there to push themselves and be able to push you to that next level. But also I think the relationship that I have with Gary; how we train and how we push ourselves is really, really good, which I can honestly say has made me the swimmer that I am today.

Q: After such a huge year in terms of your progression, what will you be setting your sights on in 2024?

 

A: Moving forward into next season after a big year of competing, my number one goal is to make the Olympic team. I want to be a part of that team, make my first Olympic Games, and for it to only be in Paris, you know, it’s probably one of the closest we can get to our home games in the future.

 

And I think moving forward as well, I really want to be able to push my limits in the 100/200 and be a part of both of those at the Olympic Games. Hopefully get a medal or even, well, a gold medal in the medley relay with the other guys. To be able to break the British record in the hundred is definitely a big goal of mine too.

What They Said…

From an overall training perspective, the primary goal for Ollie and his team (including Head Coach Gary Humpage, Strength and Conditioning Coach Vasil Todorov, Performance Nutritionist Rachel Chesters, Performance Lifestyle Coach Joanna Eley and Physiotherapist Mike Gosling) was – and continues to be – to improve his overall swimming performance by seeking out small wins available in both his training and lifestyle. The practitioners work closely and collaboratively to ensure every intervention put in place is both relevant and beneficial to Ollie’s performance in the pool.

I worked closely with Ollie both on the run up to the British Championships and the Worlds. We monitored his weight and body composition to make sure he was hitting the numbers he competes well at and ensuring he didn’t drop to race weight too quickly. Some of his nutrition support was focussed around travelling and immunity, but a lot of work was put into ensuring his race day fuelling strategy was optimal for him”Rachel Chesters, UoB Lead Performance Nutritionist

The aim was – and continues to be – to ultimately improve Ollie’s physical capacities to perform better in the water. We achieved this by breaking down the key components of his stroke, to identify strengths and areas for development we could work on within the gym and pool environments. This is an ongoing project – with 2023 being a successful year for Ollie, it is Paris 2024 in which we would hope to see these improvements really show!” – Vasil Todorov, UoB Strength and Conditioning Coach

CategoriesEvents

University of Birmingham Sport Hall of Fame

Sport Hall of Fame

Thursday 14 September saw the University host its inaugural Sport Hall of Fame evening – and what an evening it was!

 

The Sport Hall of Fame evening gave us the opportunity to officially welcome and celebrate the very first cohort of UoB-affiliated individuals that have significantly contributed to the University’s rich sporting heritage, as well as the national and international landscape of sport in front of a room full of esteemed alumni, staff and guests.

The University of Birmingham was founded at a time of dramatic change for sport and society, which the institution embraced with open arms in its early years, and continues to do so today. From developing and launching the first taught sports-based degree in 1946, to becoming home to the most comprehensive University partnership the Commonwealth Games has ever seen in 2022, the University of Birmingham has continued to build and sustain the platform required for individuals to reach greatness in their field.

From global breakthroughs to global medals, the University’s investment in sport has paid dividends in its role in the development of sporting participation, performance and expertise throughout its 123 years. We are incredibly proud that we – and all of the many that have come before us – have continued to invest these aspirations and resources into sport. Whether for the recreation, education and health of its staff, students and the public, or for the development of some of Britain’s sporting pioneers and legacies, the University has consistently recognised the integral role of sport in its work.

While it is often tempting to celebrate solely the achievements of the sportspeople themselves, we were delighted that the evening also acknowledged and honoured those that have supported, influenced, contributed to and ultimately paved the way for these successes. This is something that the Sport Hall of Fame will look to continue doing on an annual basis for years to come.

Game Changers

Ever since it was founded in 1900, the University has had a knack of attracting and producing game-changing individuals that have made a significant contribution to their field, whether that be research, academia, sport or all three.

 

Our Hall of Fame Game Changers have been inducted on the basis of having made a prominent and distinguished impact in sport, contributing insurmountably to its landscape and continued development.

  • Sir Raymond Priestley
  • Albert Davis ‘Dave’ Munrow
  • Bill Slater CBE
  • Barbara Slater OBE
  • Penny Briscoe OBE
  • Mahdi Choudhury

Image of Penny Briscoe OBE

“Receiving this award on behalf of my late-father is very much an honour and very much appreciated” – Tim Slater, on behalf of his late-father Bill Slater (Wolverhampton Wanderers and England footballer, Olympian and former UoB Director of Physical Education)

PERFORMANCE PRACTITIONERS

Behind every great sportsperson is a whole network of support personnel, applying their expertise to achieve those marginal gains and collaborating as a multi-disciplinary team to reach performance goals.

 

Our Hall of Fame Performance Practitioners celebrates those that, during their career as a coach or performance practitioner, have exemplified this by providing bespoke and/or influencing athletes’ performances significantly towards success at the highest levels within their sport.

  • Bud Baldaro
  • Emma Bachelor
  • Colette Thomson MBE
  • Phil Pask

Image of Phil Pask

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Birmingham – it was awesome when I first arrived here in 1978, but walking through it today is like walking onto mars! It’s fantastic and great to see the University continue to go from strength to strength.” – Phil Pask (former professional rugby player, England National Squad and British & Irish Lions Squad physiotherapist)

SPORTSPEOPLE

Our Hall of Fame Sportspeople category awards those that have evidenced success at the pinnacle of their sport. This may be an Olympic, Paralympic or World Championships’ medal, or a significant period of sustained excellence at the highest level of competition.

 

The following individuals not only meet this criteria, but many are either still competing and/or are continuing to make their mark in the world of sport in different ways.

  • Ali Jawad
  • Chrissie Wellington OBE
  • Pamela Relph MBE
  • Lily Owsley
  • Victor Ubogu
  • Laura Keates
  • Lora Fachie OBE
  • Hannah England
  • Paul Manning MBE
  • Kat Merchant
  • Adam Pengilly
  • James Rodwell

“It’s a real honour to be recognised by the University; I loved my time here and it was while I was studying here that I first got on a tandem. It means a lot to come back, even though I don’t recognise the campus anymore…it’s really exciting to see the improved sporting facilities, they’re great!” – Lora Fachie OBE (Double Paralympic Para-Cycling Champion)

 

“It’s great to be back and to be inducted into the Hall of Fame here for the first time; it’s amazing to be recognised for my sporting career. I feel a little bit overwhelmed to come back and be amongst some really prestigious company here at the University and I’m really surprised to get this honour with the amount of amazing sportspeople that have come through Birmingham. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved in the sport.” James Rodwell (Olympic Rugby 7s Silver Medallist & former GB Rugby 7s Head Coach)

What an incredible list! We are so proud to be affiliated to such a long and decorated list of individuals, with so many more to celebrate and honour going forward as the Sport Hall of fame becomes an annual event.

“I feel prouder than ever to be the Director of Sport of an institution that has contributed in so many ways to sport. It was a truly inspiring evening!” – Andy Allford (Director of Sport)

We’re looking forward to not only inducting many more game-changing, profile-raising and legacy-building individuals over the coming years, but also displaying all 2023 inductees in pride of place within our fantastic Sport & Fitness facility.