Enlightening Talk on ‘Enhancing Performance in Sport’

Donaldson week kicked off on Monday 21st October with a day looking at ‘Enhancing Performance in Sport’ for the Fourth Form. A range of Sport Science disciplines were on offer, allowing the girls to experience and learn about other methods of improving their athletic potential beyond physical training.

Marcus Willday came from TORQ fitness and nutrition consultancy to give a range of talks on Sports Nutrition. He discussed the importance of fuelling prior to competition, what foods to take on board during events and matches, and what to eat to re-fuel post-competition. This really opened up the girls' eyes as to how important it is to eat a balanced meal before physical performance, as well as staying hydrated and keeping up to date with training on a regular basis, to make the most of physiological compensation post-exercise. Students learnt specifically about different macronutrients and the importance of carbohydrates for endurance events.

The Science Department delivered a session investigating the effects of the content of sports drinks by running a small investigation including hypotonic, hypertonic and isotonic solutions. Students were matched with a control, to measure the effects of the contents of sugar and salt in their drink on their running speed. The girls really enjoyed being part of a small Physiology experiment. Many thanks to Mrs Mutch and Mrs McKernan for organising and running this.

Sport Psychology was the next option, where the girls looked at the effects of pressure on their performance, and how they can move from a threat state to a challenge state. We spent time considering how we can focus on the resources and tools we have available during a competition, rather than worrying about the demands of the environment. We also looked at how students can ‘control the controllables’ to improve their confidence and self-efficiency in a competitive situation. We based our learning around the '5 Cs' (commitment, confidence, control, communication and concentration) that are used by Leicester City Football club and their junior players throughout their training.

The other discipline on offer was Strength and Conditioning, where Miss Stephens explained the importance of building strength to enhance performance and prevent injury. The girls learnt to activate key muscle groups and effectively warm up before completing an example programme. We discussed during the warm up how their level of focus can impact the subsequent performance and how a warm up isn’t just to make sure their muscles and body are ready but also their mind, and how it can set the tone for the session or game. The girls learnt which muscles were being utilised during each exercise and tested their anatomical knowledge.

(Slideshow presentation courtesy of TORQ).