Becoming a Bear: The First (Official) Day of my Internship at Warwickshire CCC

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Although I make jokes about it being the most oddly specific degree course the world has ever seen, I have to be honest:

I love being a Cricket Coaching & Management student.

Not only do I firmly believe that, pound for pound, we are the most successful degree course going in terms of work placements and personal achievements, but being a student on this pathway means that each one of us is one of only 25 (I believe) cricket specific sports students in the country.

This means, in short, that when it comes to cricket clubs looking for students to work for them, we are in high demand. We have a distinct advantage over any other degree course at any other University, because our program is specifically tailored towards getting a job in a cricket-based workplace.

This has come in incredibly handy for me, and, as you may have guessed from the title, on Wednesday I began one of the best experiences of my University career so far.

Thanks to a successful application and interview process set up by Kelvinho, I am spending the entirety of my Summer this year as a Performance Analysis Intern at Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

What does this mean, I hear you ask?

It essentially means that for a number of Warwickshire’s home matches I will get to sit in the best seat in the house at Edgbaston with all the players and coaches, coding what happens every delivery out on the pitch below, and showing the players what has been going on in more detail than they may be able to pick up with the naked eye.

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This includes where each delivery from the bowlers pitches, what shot the batsman played, where the ball went in the field, how many runs they got from it, and any other key events, such as if the ball swung or spun.

Now, I don’t know how many of you reading this will be familiar with performance analysis, or will even like cricket, but let me tell you this: it is a seriously good gig! And watching cricket for 6 hours and noting down on the laptop what happens each delivery as all the dressing room banter flies around certainly beats stacking shelves or sitting on a till all Summer!

And on Wednesday I had my first experience of coding a live day’s cricket…. Well,15 overs of live cricket at least, before Birmingham remembered it was Birmingham and starting tipping it down with rain!

I helped set up the cameras before the day’s play, got all the equipment hooked up in the viewing area, coded the guys’ fifty partnership before the rain set in, and got to know a few of the players and coaches during the 4  hours of rain before the game was called off.

It was a solid first live experience for me, not only because I got to work alongside and get to know high-level International cricketers such as Jonathan Trott and Will Porterfield, but because it set the tone a little bit for my coding for the rest of the Summer….. starting with the first home match against Sussex on the 13th April!

I can’t emphasise enough to current and future students how important it is they take advantage of these opportunities, and I’m sure you’ll all be hearing plenty more about my first season as an Intern with the Bears as the Summer goes on!

Future applicants! Get all your questions about Worcester University answered!

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Hello future University of Worcester students! :-)

Hope you’re all doing okay! I am just writing this blog to let you know about an opportunity coming up that could potentially be very handy!

I remember when I got my notification on UCAS saying I was accepted into the Uni, and the gap between accepting Worcester as my firm choice and actually starting at University felt like it took FOREVER!

Now, as we all know, there are plenty of different questions that can come up during that time, and although there are plenty of ways you can get in touch with the University (including Twitter: @worcester_uni ), we are offering a slightly more unique opportunity this Thursday at 4PM!

It is all very well having members of staff answering your questions, and to be fair to them, they do an incredibly good job of it, but there are certain questions you may have, or come up with, that you would just feel more comfortable asking a student!

Well, I have some good news for you! On this Thursday 10th April at 4PM I am taking part in a Live Q&A for prospective students, where you can ask me whatever questions you like about coming to University here! Admittedly I am not the most high profile, or most intelligent of guests, but you have to remember, the University is on a budget!! ;-)DSC_1946

So why not join us for our live Q&A where  I will available for a full hour to answer any questions you may have? Any concerns about coming to the Uni, questions about the University or Worcester itself, or even about my experiences here.. I will be free to answer them all! :-)

Here is the Facebook event page

And I look forward to hearing from you all! :-)

Worcester Arena- Home of Disability Sport

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Hello again all!

You may remember in my previous blog about the launch of the arena I talked about a fantastic sport called Inclusive Zone Basketball!

IZB 2Now, this sport is an innovative mix of wheelchair basketball and able-bodied basketball, with the overall goal of being able to get everyone involved, regardless of ability, mobility, agility…. I’ve run out of ility’s, and I’m not sure agility really fits on the end, but you get the picture! It gives everyone a chance to play together, and all involved have a great time!

Well, since I last wrote about this sport, Worcester has once again outdone itself, hosting the Regional Finals of the Inclusive Zone Basketball tournament on the 25th  March!

Having done my IZB/Wheelchair Basketball Officiating Leaders Award the Sunday beforehand, I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer on the day, and it was an absolute peach of a day at that!

Thirteen teams from the local area took part in a round-robin/knockout style competition (one after the other, I IZB 5promise it does make sense!!), and there were some brilliant basketballing performances on display (did anyone spot I made up a word there? pretty cool right?!)! From the start of the day to the very end all schools and teams involved put in a huge amount of effort and really seemed to enjoy themselves, proving that IZB is a real winner of an inclusive sport!

The pictures below illustrate some of the brilliant action that took place at the Regional Finals, and hopefully from this you will be able to see how all involved showed great commitment and passion during the course of the day!

It was an incredibly fun day, yet again showing the University Arena and University of Worcester‘s passion and knack for hosting inclusive sporting events, and I personally cannot wait for the National Finals to take place, once more at our beaaaautiful Arena, on the 7th May!

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P.S. Trainee teachers, coaches, PE Teachers, etc… have a look at the link to IZB up above on the British Wheelchair Basketball website….. it’s a great sport to make sure everyone can get involved if you have access to chairs! :-)

Make the most of a long student summer!

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So, it is finally on its way! Creased pairs of shorts making their way out of the backs of wardrobes and giant whole-face-covering sunglasses reappearing can only mean one thing… Summer is on its way!

Now, although we have pretty much the entirety of Spring to go yet, which is not a season without its merits, I have taken it upon myself to think positively in advance, and dedicate a blog to the best ways to spend one of our beautiful three month long (unless you’re teachers or nurses… sorry about that, guys) student summers!

Now, once more speaking as a completely unbiased, purely objective Cricket Coaching and Management student, I can honestly tell you that one of the best ways, if not the best way, to spend a warm Summers day is down at your local cricket ground, enjoying some 6′s raining down in T20′s, some good solid forward defences in 4-Day Cricket, or perhaps even a few of Worester’s own, attempting to break a cricket-based world record

…like I said, completely unbiased!

However, if the greatest sport ever played is not your thing, there are plenty of other (probably more productive) ways to spend your 3 lecture free months. Here’s just a few of them!

Travel to a Far-Away Land Doing Something You Love to Do

If you’re a loyal follower of this blog, which I like to assume you are, but won’t hold against you if you’re not, then you will have already heard some amazing tales from fellow bloggers about work they’ve done at Camp America and in Madagascar.

And if you enjoyed reading about these, or think this sort of thing may take your fancy, then I can assure you there are PLENTY of opportunities to do volunteer or paid work abroad in the subject you love!

In cricket coaching alone opportunities have come up to coach in New Zealand, India, Ghana, South Africa, and Argentina, so why not make the most of your months off and take a look at what is available in terms of volunteering abroad in your subject category?

Student Summer Travel Abroad

 

 

Find A Group of Friends Who Want to be Bored as Little as You and Go on Holiday

Yes, this isn’t Uni related. Yes, this is something you have to pay for and not get paid for. No, this will not help you obtain a further qualification or level of experience for your degree. But yes, it will be ridiculously fun, well worth the money, and a great way to blow off steam post-exams and after a tough academic year!

Seriously, students, you’ve earned the break. Take it! I certainly am, and I, for one, can not wait for my Lake District trip with my best friends after we have all handed in our final assignments of our Second Year!

Further tip: If you can’t afford to go on holiday together, why not each go and stay at each other’s houses in the various places in the country you will undoubtedly be from? Will save money, you’ll get to see each other more, and it will be a great way to experience new places for each of you without having to go somewhere far away!

Student Summer Holiday

Find an Internship or Work Placement in the Industry You Want to Go Into

I have probably harped on about this enough, but I can not explain how useful all of this will be. So once you’ve topped up on your tans and taught English to a group of underprivileged children in an amazing environment, why not look a little closer to home, and see if there are any companies in your area offering placement opportunities that sound intriguing to you, or similar to what you may want to do when you leave Uni?

And if there aren’t any advertised, then why not ask them? It just may be the difference between you getting the job of your dreams after Uni and it going to Barnaby from Cambridge because he spent his Summer wisely!

Student Summer Scholarship

and last but not least…. Try Something New!

This can fall into any of the above categories. See what events are on this Summer near you, and get involved! From helping out backstage at a theatre, to pulling pints at a local festival, to dressing up as the mascot for your local sports team, why not throw yourself head first into something you’ve never done before and see how it goes? Chances are, you will probably like it!*

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* If you don’t, please don’t blame me!! I accept absolutely no responsibility for any bad decisions being made of this nature!

So that sums up my guide to how to take advantage of an incredibly long break from University this Summer! Hopefully one or more of those things will have taken your fancy, and you will start preparing for this Summer well in advance!

 

But if not, no worries! Enjoy the start of the Sun everyone! :-)

 

Ps, here is a really high quality, exclusive behind the scenes picture of my high-tech photo-shoot for this blog!

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Play Your Part in Moving the University of Worcester Up in the World

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For most students applying to Universities, or even those just laying down some groundwork to apply in years to come, University League Tables play a key part in their research to decide where it is they want to go.

Now, this sort of research can go one of two ways. It can either reinforce previous opinions of institutions people may be interested in or keen on, or it can turn them away from Universities they previously were fond of.

It all seems very official at the time of looking, but one thing most University students are aware of, especially after they have been at a certain institute for a year or so of their degree, is that these League Tables are by no means the be all and end all when it comes to decision making for prospective students.

Take, for example, studying sport at our beloved University of Worcester (unexpected turn of events, I know).

The table can only show a certain amount of things, and these are things that are usually easy to measure and are deemed suitable to form an accurate opinion on the University course as a whole.

This means there are some things which just can’t make it in to the table. The more specific stuff, like the level of placement opportunities offered or the wider quality of life and activities in the city itself, get summed up in broadly titled categories like ‘Career Prospects’, which means some of the information is lost (to a certain degree) along the way.

Now, one thing that greatly affects this League Table every year, forming the very basis of the entire table, is the National Student Survey. This is a survey that all third year students have the opportunity to take towards the end of their time at University.

From  the perspective of an Institute Rep, here, this is an absolute dream opportunity for third year students. You not only have the chance to reflect upon your entire experience at the University, but have the opportunity to do your bit in making your degree count for even more.

The League Tables take into account not only the level of feedback given at the University, and the ratings put forward for each question, but even have a section for the percentage of students who filled the survey out.

Now, from a student’s perspective, this is fantastic. It is not only future students who are aware of these league tables, and where the University stands, but future employers as well.

So, when I am offered the chance next year to make my degree count for even more, and display the University in the best light I possibly can, I am certainly going to take it.

So…. now I have hopefully  used this blog to dance my way into all your hearts (you’ll see why that’s clever in a moment!) why don’t you do the same, current third years? :-)

Here are a couple of videos showing some of the fantastic work you have done this year that will hopefully trigger some more happy memories from across your three-year span at the University.

Enjoy watching, and remember to follow the link below once you’re done to give your opinion on your time at the University! It won’t take long, and I promise it’s worth it!

http://www.thestudentsurvey.com/

University of Worcester Arena hosts THE FIRST EVER British Wheelchair Basketball University Championships!!

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One thing that is always talked about on Open Days and Interview Days for sports students coming to Worcesteter is the amazing facilities we have here at the University.

The University Arena is perhaps the pinnacle of these facilities, as has been highlighted in earlier blogs! It not only provides us with an international standard sporting facility at the University itself, but has allowed for more of a focus on disability sport, becoming the home of the Great Britain Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, and opening the door for our Sports Coaching Science with Disability Sport degree pathway.

So when this fantastic Arena was first being talked about amongst all us students and members of staff, there was a real excitement about the possibilities it could bring to us as a University, and all the events we could hold in this dazzling new place! (And I mean literally dazzling…have you tried looking at it in the sunlight?!?!)

Well, I am pleased to report to you, ladies and gentlemen, that the Arena has not disappointed… and has already made history, by hosting..

University of Worcester team

University of Worcester team

THE FIRST EVER British Wheelchair Basketball University Championships!!

Now, for those of you who weren’t there, I will do my best to briefly describe to you the events that took place, as I was lucky enough to work as Sheffield Hallam’s team liaison for the majority of the day, and be the announcer for the final!

The inaugural tournament was made up of five universities, with teams from the Universities of: Northampton, Durham, Nottingham Trent, Sheffield Hallam, and… no points for guessing this one… Worcester!

The tournament itself started with a league-based round robin structure, meaning everyone played everyone before the final standings were decided. Then the two bottom placed teams, fourth and fifth, would play each other for a chance to play the first placed team in one semi-final, with the teams that finished second and third facing up in semi-final number two, with these two matches deciding the finalists.

All reaaaally straightforward, right? ;-) Or perhaps I didn’t explain it too well… it made sense on the day, I promise you!!

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Anyway, the first round of the tournament itself was played in a great spirit, with all teams battling hard for that top placed spot that would see them straight through to the first semi-final.

There was a huge range of experiences and abilities on display, from the heroic Sheffield Hallam team who had never played together before this tournament and still ended up finishing third after a disappointing first match, to the Worcester team housing a handful of internationals, including GB women Sophie Carrigill, Jordana Bartlett and Ella Beaumont.

Though this difference in experience was apparent on occasion, it only added to the spirit and feel of the whole tournament, highlighting one of the main features that makes University Wheelchair Basketball so great: the inclusive nature allowing both able-bodied and disability players to take part.1653698_758590110840383_247216968_n

The entire day was full of not only extraordinary amounts of athleticism and skill on display, but great sportsmanship, team work and determination as well, with more than one instance of competitive banter on the court being hugged out post-match.

It was a great advert not only for the University Arena, proving itself more than capable of hosting such a big event, but for British Wheelchair Basketball on the whole, displaying some of the sport’s finest athletes and qualities in a fiercely-fought tournament.

Once 4 o’clock came round and all the round-robin matches had been played, and the semi-finals contested, there were only two matches left to decide who got their hands on the first ever University Championship medals:

The third place play-off between Durham and Sheffield Hallam, and the grand final, between Worcester and Nottingham Trent.

1781907_758595517506509_1261582798_nWith both matches being played simultaneously on parallel courts, there was a phenomenal amount of talent and great viewing on display for the spectators, and after four quarters of sheer grit, the medalists were decided!

Third place went to the inexperienced but determined Sheffield Hallam, with commiserations to Durham and Northampton, who both narrowly missed out on their third place medals and were fantastic all day.

Second place went to Nottingham Trent, who had a brilliant tournament, beating all teams but Worcester, and showing an incredible amount of skill in some close matches earlier on in the day.

Which means… First place went to…. The University of Worcester!! Who had demonstrated a huge amount of team spirit and heart all day, with five different scorers in the final alone!1653926_758589190840475_1843915291_n

Once all of these places had been decided and the dust had settled, the medals ceremony took place, and some final pictures were taken not only of the award-winning teams, but all participants who had made history by taking part in the inaugural University Championships.

It marked a great end to an even better day, showcasing not only what Wheelchair Basketball and our University Arena are all about, but exactly why BUCS need to take this event on in years to come as well!…. hint hint!

*Photos courtesy of Paul Beard

6 Unexpectedly Entertaining Things to do as a Worcester University Student

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The average Worcester University student, teachers and nurses aside (see Becki’s blogs about all her lectures and placements!), spends between 8 and 16 hours in lectures a week.

This leaves A LOT of free time.

Now, if you are on the more sensible end of the student spectrum, which I like to think most of you are, you will certainly fill some of this time with a bit of extra reading or assignment work…. and not just on the weeks before the assignments are in! ;-)

You may also use this time to get a part time job. Very beneficial, very handy to bring some money in, and you may even make some intriguing observations as you work!

However, even with all these important, guilt-removing activities being taken into consideration, you will still find yourself wondering what on earth to do with yourself from time to time.

So, as a cricketer used to counting in 6′s, here is a list of  six of my favourite things to do as a Worcester uni student that you may not already be aware of, or have done yourself yet! :-)

1. Pear Tree Karaoke – Friday Nights

Oh yeah. I went there. Karaoke. But this is not Karaoke as you know it from your holidays to Majorca with the family back in the day.

This is a bunch of incredibly entertaining, usually completely diabolical students, gathering in the pear tree, having a few drinks with their friends, and delivering heartwarmingly atrocious renditions of everything from Spice Girls, to Five, to Frank Sinatra.

Cheap evening/night out with your friends, and a really good laugh.

Oh, and here’s a video of me, my housemate Tipa, and fellow blogger C-Lo murdering a Bob Dylan classic!

2. Riley’s

Riley’s Bar and Snooker Club, just a few minutes walk away from Shrub Hill Station and ASDA, is brilliant for a few cheap games of pool with a friend, or group of friends!

You can become a student member and pay the reduced rate of £4.00 an hour, or £8.00 for two hours (occasionally with a third free), for any pool table there. On top of this, they also show live sports, and have snooker tables as well. It’s pretty good fun!

3. Bowling!

bIt’s been a children’s birthday party stalwart since we were all little, and it is certainly going strong in Worcester still!

MFA Bowl just off of Bromyard Road in St John’s charges a ridiculously cheap £2.00 a game for student bowling, and although cheesy and old school, it is still a very entertaining way of spending some social time with your friends!

4. Worcester Wolves Games

I’ve mentioned them before, and I have absolutely no shame in mentioning them again! When the Wolves are in town on a Friday night, there is no better place to be in the city!

Live professional sports for only £5.00 per student ticket, and a guaranteed couple of hours of adrenaline rushing entertainment. What’s not to love?

5. Picnics and Fun at Cripplegate Park!

When it isn’t completely underwater, and more suited to rowing than tennis or other summer sports, Cripplegate Park is a lovely place to just hang out with your friends in the sun.c

Last Summer my flatmates and I made a habit of going to Cripplegate Park and having picnics, playing a bit of cricket, and just generally enjoying a bit of warm weather, and it certainly passed the time well, without costing us much at all!

6. Productions at Malvern Theatre

I was lucky enough to be bought tickets to see Blood Brothers at Malvern Theatre (good effort Becki!), and it was absolutely fantastic.

If you, or any of your friends or flatmates have a car, be sure to check out all the different productions that are put on at Malvern Theatre, as it is a lovely way to spend an evening taking your mind off of work in a completely different environment!

So there we have it! A list of 6 entertaining but cheap things I hope you all use wisely to fill your free time at University! Enjoy!

Worcester hero launches his haunting tale

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Every once in a while, you come across a story so powerful that it not only grips you on an emotional level, but makes you re-evaluate your entire outlook on your own life.

Alex Owumi‘s is certainly one of those tales. Alex’s book, Qaddafi’s Point Guard: The Incredible Story of a Basketball Player Trapped in Libya’s Civil Wartells an incredibly moving and inspirational tale of his own personal struggle in a war-torn Benghazi during a period of civil unrest in Libya.

The book not only tells of Alex’s immense personal courage and bravery, fighting for both survival and a chance to achieve his own personal ambitions, but sheds a new light on the conflict in Libya many over here will know little about.

On Tuesday 4th February, Alex took to the University Arena to launch his inspiring tale, and was met with a fabulous reception.

Alex, the Mayor of Worcester and The Vice Chancellor David Green

Alex, the Mayor of Worcester and The Vice Chancellor David Green

The evening’s proceedings took place in the Conference Suite at the Arena, and over 100 people, including Councillor Pat Agar, came for the chance to listen to Alex tell more about his haunting past. A fantastic presentation was delivered highlighting not only the key points of Alex’s story, but citing his personal inspirations as well, and putting across many inspirational messages Alex aims to share with his book.

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Q&A session

Alex not only discussed the importance of having a fantastic team, family, and friends around him, but the importance of many personal attributes, such as courage, determination, and not allowing others to tell you what you can and can not do.

Once Alex’s powerful and moving presentation came to an end, a Question and Answer session opened up so the audience could learn more about his incredible journey. Alex answered each and every one of the questions not as a hero, or a figure of inspiration, but in a personal, friendly manner, that made the audience feel even more of a connection to the man who had been thrown into the most impossibly difficult of situations.

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book signing session

Alex then moved into a book signing and personal greeting session for all those present, and exchanged a few words with Professor David Green, the Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University.

As the evening came to a close Alex thanked everyone from the University, the Arena, and all the fans present for their continued support of not only his personal achievements, but those of the Worcester Wolves as well.

It was a fantastic occasion celebrating some remarkable accomplishments of Alex Owumi, and hopefully inspiring many generations to come. Alex’s tale isn’t one of outlandish movie-star heroics, nor is it one of a soldier or war hero. What it is is a powerful story of survival and grit. A story of how one talented athlete had the drive and courage to overcome the most difficult situation imaginable, and go on to achieve everything he was told, and on occasion believed, was impossible.

*Photos courtesy of University of Worcester Arena