Sanders sets sights on Varsity

With the Notts Varsity Hockey due to take place tonight, we caught up with the Women’s captain Pip Sanders ahead of the big match:

How are you and the team feeling in the build up to Varsity?

We have had a strong end to the season, setting us in good stead for our varsity game. All the girls are excited and there’s a great team atmosphere in the dressing room. We are looking forward to the challenge of playing a Prem A side.

How do you and the girls mentally prepare for a big game such as Varsity?

Team bonding is key, making sure everyone’s on the same page with the end goal. We have meetings leading up to the game to get the girls pumped.

How do you think the Trent fans impact your game?

The fans are a huge help, it’s a great feeling when you run onto that pitch into a cauldron of noise. We are all relishing the chance to play in front of a big crowd and hopefully they’ll give us the extra motivation to get a result.

What will you be doing to prepare for this year’s Varsity match?

The girls are all working really hard on the training pitch. We’ve had a couple of warm up games and we’ve been working collectively, on and off the pitch, to make sure we can do ourselves and NTU proud.

Do you believe you will win?

It will be a close game, we were beaten last year so we are looking to bounce back. We’re in good form so anything is possible. If we turn up on the day like we know we can we’ve got every chance.

Push-back: 5pm, Beeston HC

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Virtual Reality to Athletics

Hi, my name is Gareth, and I am currently doing my masters in MSc Medical Product Design at Nottingham Trent University, whilst also acting as the Participation Caption for NTU Athletics.

I am researching into virtual reality exposure therapy to benefit those who stutter and treat social anxiety. I started this research during my undergraduate course at NTU in BSc Digital Media Technology, however, at the time I did not realise the potential it had.

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The work in its undergraduate stage used a Samsung Gear VR headset, which runs off a Samsung mobile phone. When the individual wore the headset, they saw a lecture theatre with realistic animated avatars inside. The individual was to talk to the audience about a certain topic, as if the individual were actually in the room, and the audience was real.

During this time, I monitored their anxiety levels and their speech. I found that over repeated sessions, participants’ anxiety levels decreased and their speech improved, showing potential in the idea. As a key part of stuttering therapy is observing the individual’s eyes, wearing the Samsung Gear VR headset produced a significant limitation.

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Since the success of my undergraduate research, I have presented my work at conferences in Manchester, Nottingham, and London, given three alumni talks, and published a conference paper. This year (for my masters) I have decided to further my research, however, I needed to dismiss this limitation. Luckily, I came across a new VR headset (only released in February), which uses infrared cameras within the VR headset. I am hoping to use the eye tracking within this new headset, to analyse the gaze behaviours of someone who stutters.

I have been stuttering since the age of six, and I have struggled a lot with it throughout my life. I can say some words more fluently than others, however, most of the time I struggle to say simple words like my name. I have always wanted to help others who stutter just like myself, and I feel like I am onto something with virtual reality exposure therapy, so hopefully it does shown signs that it works and it can start to benefit those who stutter.

Recently, my research has received a lot of publicity, in press such as: The Guardian, Independent, Nottingham Post, Notts TV, Reddit, Vice, and soon to be BBC.

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Even though the majority of my time is spent researching, I still find time to stay fit and stay as social as possible. This year, I am the Participation Captain for NTU Athletics. This role is orientated around the fitness members of the club and the ‘longer’ distance runners. By longer distance, I mean anything over 10km. I also compete at 5km/10km cross country/half marathon/marathon.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the role this year, as I have smashed many of my PBs, and trained individuals who at the start of the year struggled to run 5km and are now running a half marathon (21km). This has been a very proud experience for myself.

As a club, NTU Athletics has also contributed this year in raising thousands of pounds for Diabetes UK and various cancer charities. Keeping up with a sport has given me a fresh mind-set, and I would encourage anyone to take some time out from their work to exercise/play sport.

To read more about Gareth’s research, click here.

Gareth Walkom – MSc Medical Product Design student & Participation Captain (NTU Athletics)

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Trent Tigers cement their Legacy

Last weekend, Trent Tigers were crowned victorious at the annual Legacy Cheer Inspire Greatness competition in Cardiff. Going into this competition as a university squad, when the majority of the other teams were All Star teams (Cheerleaders who are part of a squad outside of a school or university), could have put the team at a disadvantage. However, the Tigers didn’t see it that way, and it fuelled competitive energy to take out onto to floor, give it their best shot, and ultimately enjoy themselves. The Trent Tigers team were scored on skill level, execution and overall impression in stunts, tumble and dance.

Having introduced a new team into the squad (Trent Tigers Tora, Level 2), The Tigers confidence and ability grew and as a squad they felt stronger than ever. Level 2 have already shown success by coming 2nd at the International Cheerleading Coalition (ICC) National Cheerleading Championships. This being under their belt they took the floor and came second with another 0 deduction routine!

Stefan Warren, Trent Tigers Head Coach commented “Level 2 (all girls) went and did themselves proud. A ZERO deduction routine and a strong 2nd place. For a brand new team they have definitely made there mark in that division.” Introducing a Level 2 squad has been a massive accomplishment for the team and all the girls involved have put their heart and soul into making it the best it can be.

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Level 3 have had a tricky year, but at Legacy they pulled together as a team and gained victory in the Co-ed (Boys and Girls) Level 3 division, as well as winning Level 3 Grand Championship. Scarlett Myers, Coach, said “we may have had a rough year but we brought it back in the end!!! From Future Cheer I was super proud, coming off that mat was the best feeling ever! And Legacy was no different, I finally felt like we just enjoyed it and we really have gone out with a bang. I couldn’t be prouder or happier to have been a part of it!”

Overall, it’s been a great season for the squad, including Varsity and performance success! The whole team want to send their thanks and all the luck in the world to all the Tigers leaving this year and look forward to another successful year next year.

For more information about the Tigers, head to our website.

Chloe Maher – Performance Vice Captian, Level 3 Cheerleading

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The rise of Handball at NTU

My name is Andrea and I am the current NTU Handball President. I have been playing handball for about 15 years now. When I joined NTU I knew that there wasn’t a handball club, and therefore, I joined a local club. However, I felt like I was missing out on the whole ‘student sport experience’ as part of my university life, and was eager to set up my own club after talking to our current Secretary who felt the same way.

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At the end of my first year I got in touch with the sports department who were super supportive about my idea, and we managed to make handball a part of the NTU Play for Fun programme for 2015/16. We attended the Freshers’ Fairs in September and had about 25 students turning up to our very first handball session! Battling with the unfortunate training slot of 7-8 PM on a Wednesday night we kept going with about 8-15 players per session over the year. A couple of friendly games against UoN Handball kept the competitiveness and ambition to improve alive in everyone that kept coming to our sessions.

Due to the consistent interest in our sessions we were voted in to be an official sports club for the new academic year! Our first couple of taster sessions saw about 80 students overall! It was an overwhelming feeling to see the interest increase by such a huge amount, and with many people still not knowing about handball, it was great to see students specifically looking for us at the Freshers’ Fairs.

We currently have a men’s and women’s team who train together on a Tuesday night. With about 20-25 regular members, and more students enjoying our Play for Fun sessions on a Wednesday evening (…yes, we still go to Ocean every other week!), handball has clearly expanded its popularity.

With a group of experienced players, and many beginners, we competed in our first ever tournament, mainly aimed at beginner teams, at Liverpool John Moores University in November. The girls came 3rd and the boys made it to the quarter finals! Since then we have competed in a few friendly games and tournaments against second teams of other universities, such as Loughborough, Birmingham and Warwick.

Our major competition so far has been the British University Handball Championship, which took place in February and March. Both teams succeeded in the regional qualifiers to place second in their groups and qualified for the top 16 teams for the nationals!

Last weekend saw us competing at the national round in Gillingham, which was a massive success overall. Considering it is our first year as a sports club, our boys kept their heads up high with unfortunate losses against previous winners, such as Cambridge, Cranfield and Warwick. Our girls’ team impressed everyone at the competition by making it into the semi-finals where we only lost in the penalty shootout against Kent University! (Top 4 within Great Britain in the first year of being a club surely must be some sort of new record?)

And if this wasn’t exciting enough already, on 29th March, we will compete in the first ever Nottingham Handball Varsity as part of Super Wednesday!

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What would I like to say to students that are thinking of starting their own sports club?

Do it! If you are passionate about your sport and willing to take the extra step, the extra responsibility, the extra bit of panic when organising your first trip, then you’ve got nothing to lose! The sports department at NTU has been very supportive throughout this whole process and there is literally no question that is too stupid to ask. I personally had never coached any sessions before, and now I do it on a regular basis to encourage beginners to take part in a new and exciting sport.

Yes, it has been additional work on top of my degree, but it has been absolutely worth it!

For more information about the handball club, visit: https://www4.ntu.ac.uk/sport/sports_clubs/clubs/sports_club_directory/index.html

 

10 things i love about Varsity

Are you ready for Notts Varsity 2017?!

The big event ‘kicks-off’ with Rugby League tomorrow (Lady Bay, 4pm), and we are so excited to finally get underway!

We’ve put together a checklist of 10 #NottsVarsity related things to do during the series, all to get you in that Varsity spirit…

  1. Take a photo with an NTU player in their kit… then share it on social media!

  2. Tweet your support for our teams, tag @NTUSport, and hashtag #NottsVarsity

  3. Get a photo with our mascot!Mascot

  4. Get your hands on one of the Varsity T-shirts and show your support to the players from NTU!

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  5. Wave your #NottsVarsity foam finger in the crowd!Varsity Foam Finger

  6. Make a Snapchat story using the Varsity filters at each eventVARSITY SNAPCHAT GRADIENT 2.jpg

  7. Travel on any NCT bus for just £2.50 unlimited day travel!eventrider.png

  8. Paint your face pink!

  9. If you are competing, get yourself a discounted Sports Massage with Fairclough Sport PerformanceC7mSUzEVAAQ5Hc1

  10. Finally, and maybe most importantly…. make a lot of noise in the crowd!! The players need to hear you!

    For updates during the series, make sure you follow NTU Sport on Twitter and Instagram!

Volleyball Varsity preview

Ahead of this weekend’s Women’s Volleyball Varsity, we caught up with the President and captain, Theresa Hipolito…

How are you and the team feeling in the build up to varsity?

We are are feeling quite confident as we’ve had a great season this year, finishing up in 2nd place in BUCS. We’ve been training hard and looking forward to the big game on Sunday!

What will the team be doing on the lead up to the big event to prepare for varsity?

We’re not going to have a couple key players with us on the day as they have National league games or will be away at the time, so we’ve been trying to adapt to those changes and making sure everyone steps up their game! We’ve also been attending strength and conditioning sessions with NTU Sport in order to better our performance on the day.

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How do you and the girls mentally prepare for a big game such as varsity?

We just try to stay together and keep the overall team spirit high! When it comes to big matches, we already have some experience together as we’ve been through decisive matches before. So it’s all about staying hyped and focused!

Is there a lot of pressure on you as the captain/president to help lead the team and make sure they are ready for the game?

There is always pressure on me as President and Captain, but not any more than there is on all our players and match officials on the day. Making sure everything goes according to plan can be overwhelming, but our VP Sport Matt Nicholson and NTU staff have made the process as smooth as possible for all of us. Just have to make sure we all work together and are at the top of our game! Smiling also helps 🙂

How do you think the Trent fans impact your game?

Trent fans can have a huge impact on our game. Having a pumped up crowd full of energy helps us want to do better and keeps us going! The more the merrier and the louder the better!

Finally, do you believe you will win this year’s varsity game?

It is never safe to say whether or not we will win. Having said that, I am more than confident in my team and I know we can play great volleyball and trust that we have what it takes to beat UoN. It will definitely be a challenge for all of us, but we’ve done it before, we can do it again!

For updates during the game on Sunday, follow @NTUSport on Twitter!

 

Varsity: The captain has his say

We spoke to Matthew Ross, the Rugby League Men’s first team captain, about how he and the team are feeling about this weekend’s Varsity fixture against University of Nottingham.

How are you and the team feeling on the build up to varsity?

Yeah we’re feeling pretty confident, we’ve had a successful season with some good results, and after not winning for two years everyone in the team really wants it this year.

What will the team be doing on the lead up to the big event to prepare for varsity?

We’re quite lucky in the fact we’ve got games every week before varsity, which will help with everyone’s match fitness. We are also doing a one week drinking ban before the game. We’re going to make a big day of it this year, going for a squad breakfast the morning of the game and things like that.

Is there a lot of pressure on you as the captain to help lead the team and make sure they are ready for the game?

Not really, a lot of it’s down to each individual. We set some targets at the start of year, one of which was to win varsity, and all the lads have really bought into it. This has taken the pressure off me to get on everyone’s backs.

How do you feel when you arrive on the pitch and see all of the Nottingham Trent fans watching and cheering you on?

Yeah it’s a good feeling, and I always find the chants very entertaining.

Finally, do you believe you will win this year’s varsity game?

I do! Everyone in the team does as well. You’ve always got to back yourself or you might as well hang up your boots. We’re preparing much better for it this year, and all the lads really want to win it as most of us are final year.

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The big game will take place on Saturday 25 March, KO 4pm at Lady Bay. For updates during the game, follow @NTUSport on Twitter.

You can see a full list of #NottsVarsity fixtures on our website.

Promote a positive club culture

One of the best things I get to experience in my role is how NTU sports clubs can offer such a great sense of belonging and support to their members. Indeed, for a lot of our students their main social group can be found on the pitch, in the pool or on the court.

With the introduction of social & wellbeing officers, mental health training and the NTUnity campaign, I have been actively pushing these issues up the sporting agenda, both institutionally and nationally in my role as BUCS student director.

Below I have listed some key tips to help you promote a positive culture within your clubs to support your members wellbeing:

1) Encourage supportive conversations about mental health

Mental health difficulties might not be immediately obvious, so be aware and take an interest in club members’ wellbeing – establishing a committee member responsible for members’ welfare, if you don’t already have one.
Set the standard for each other, listening
and responding to the needs of others to ensure they feel valued, whilst maintaining appropriate boundaries and understanding where to signpost if further support is needed.

2) Organise socials activities which are inclusive of all members

Social situations can sometimes be intimidating at university, especially for first year students, and can often make you feel pressured to comply with group behaviour. Whether students are experiencing mental health difficulties or not, social situations can feel daunting and isolating.
Social events often focus on alcohol, so instead try focusing on putting on alcohol-free social activities, using spaces in student union buildings or doing skill swaps with other clubs to give members the opportunity to meet new people and socialise in a safe environment. Indeed, some of the best social events I experienced as a student involved no alcohol at all, and can often open your club up to new members who otherwise wouldn’t have got involved.

3) Include members in the club experiencing injury periods

Missing training, competitions or fixtures through injury, demanding study or personal circumstances can often lead to a sad feeling of isolation. Keep members involved through social activities or coaching other teams to ensure they don’t lose their support network, and maintain a sense of purpose within your club through difficult times.

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4) Remove barriers to participation

Reducing these concerns by being transparent about membership costs, keeping social activities accessible and diverse, never turning someone away, offering a variety of training opportunities for different levels of abilities and sharing information about hardship funds and access schemes can reduce the extent to which students worry about not being able to join your club.

5) Plan a thorough and inclusive induction

Share plenty of information about your club online, through social media and at welcome meetings, including committee members’ details for ease of contact, the flexibility of students’ involvement and what someone should bring to the session. Make sure you introduce the appropriate individuals and explain how to contact them, providing information on what to expect as well as encourage existing members to talk to new members. These small steps can have such an impact on whether a student enjoys the club environment and come back again.

6) Prioritise the individual during intense competition periods and disappointment

The adrenaline-fuelled nature of competitive sport is thrilling for some students, but can be distressing to others, especially those experiencing mental health difficulties. Discuss expectations; encourage; do not blame and keep any criticism constructive. This goes for any trials or taster sessions and throughout the year. Following a period of high pressure and energy, or after missing out on a place on a team, students can feel lonely and without purpose. Focus on the wellbeing of club members and always offer alternatives opportunities for them to get involved in your club or other university sport and physical activity.

#ItsOkToTalk

For more information, please visit www.ntu.ac.uk/wellbeing

Matt Nicholson – VP Sport