Students studying PE at Rainford High Sixth Form recently got to visit St George’s Park as part of an exclusive educational experience with a renowned sport psychologist and a strength and conditioning coach.
St George’s Park is the home of England’s national football teams. The day was tailored around students who are currently learning either A-level PE or NCFE PE with sessions on sport psychology and physical training.
Kicking off the first session was Fionnula Barnes, who currently works at Manchester United FC as a sports psychologist and has worked with athletes from GB Sailing and GB Gymnastics.
Fionnula shared valuable real-life experiences in her field and discussed potential careers in elite sports with pupils. She spoke to students about what sports psychology is and told them the importance of integrating psychology into the younger generation of sports performers.
The sixth formers then got to meet Caitlin Garden, who has prepared Olympic sprinters for Olympic events and has worked with professional sports teams such as Leicester City FC.
Caitlin spoke to students about her experience in profiling personalised gym sessions for elite performers, and then let students complete their own profiling for strength and power. Students were excited as they overlooked the replica Wembley Pitch that England players use to prepare games.
Students had the chance to complete a 30m sprint test using technology with infrared lighting that tracks all movement speed from the start. Caitlin led the session and challenged students to beat the speeds they got, giving them top sprinting tips in the process.
They also got to try out the countermovement jump which records the power produced from both legs and then single legs. Students were able to compare their own results, not only with each other, but also players of England men’s first team.
One student received 37, compared to England and Everton FC striker, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s impressive score of 60.4.
Later they got to immerse themselves between hot and cold contrast pools in the hydrotherapy suite to aid recovery, a typical recovery and mobility session used by the England team after a match.
Principal of Rainford High, Mr Ian Young said: “Here at Rainford High Sixth Form, we are fortunate enough to able to offer our cohort unique, hands-on experiences such as this and bring to life what has been taught in the classroom.
“Our students had a great day, not only getting to use facilities and equipment that elite performers use, but also meeting Fionnula Barnes and Caitlin Garden, who have since inspired them to explore the careers opportunities in sport psychology and physical training.”