Inspired by Rio at School Games Finals

Tom Couzens, Year 9 student at The Bicester School was nomindated and selected to attend the Talent Inspiration Programme (TIP) 2016, held alongside the Level 4 School Games Finals in Loughborough - below is Tom's account of his expereince.

9 o’clock Wednesday morning saw the start of the 2016 Talent Inspiration Programme at the School Games in Loughborough, and I was one of the lucky few who got to go.

We started off the 3-day camp with an opening ceremony for the programme, where we listened to our mentors speak to us about their careers, and also had an opportunity to get to know our group a bit better as most of us had never met before. After the ceremony had finished, each group got assigned a mentor, ours was Chris Cook who was an Olympic swimmer, and we went back to our classrooms. Each session we had with Chris was based on a different topic, which included: goal setting, doping, the team around you in your chosen sport, performance improvement and many more. Every session was designed to help make us better as an athlete, for instance, we looked at ways we could control our chimp in our brain to our advantage. That night we went to a question of sport style show involving our mentors to learn more about them and their career paths.

An early morning start the next day saw us do circuit training before breakfast at six thirty, it was a way to get to know our current fitness levels and also have a bit of a laugh with the rest of your group. After that and breakfast we went back to our classrooms to do our morning sessions which included observing some videos and also each other, before copying them and try to do what they just did. We also had a look in depth at the team of people around us in each of our sports and identifying how if wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be where we are in our sports. It was the less obvious people around us we looked at such as: the caretaker who opens the track every morning on time, the volunteers who give up their time to help the events we participate in run smoothly and also our friends, who understand when we cant make something such as their party.

That night we all went to the opening ceremony of the 2016 school games. There was a massive stage and there was about 2000 people standing in a square watching it and singing along to the performances. There was also an interview with Max Whitlock, double Olympic gold medalist at Rio in the gymnastics, and also Alex Damson, gold medalist at Rio in the women’s hockey. It was just great fun, there were fireworks and flames being fired in time with some music and everyone was just jumping up and down singing along.

On the last day we attended a talk about our online profiles, where they gave us tips on making one, such as a Facebook fan page and our own website, so we can show people what we have achieved and how well we have done in races. They also told us things that we could put on our website/Facebook fan page and what not to post to show sponsors what sort of people we are and that we can represent their business well. They also taught us about putting Google alerts on our names so if anything is ever said about us on the Internet we know about it and can prepare to respond to it if it is something positive or negative. Later on we also attended the closing ceremony for the talent inspiration program where Alex Danson talked to us in depth about how to overcome setbacks and what was going through her head when they were playing in their first ever-Olympic hockey final.

It was an absolutely great experience and I appreciate how lucky I was for my teachers to nominate me for it, and I urge anyone who ever gets the opportunity to take it and go.

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