The University of Bristol Student Roundnet Club was new on the scene in 2019. In this post Committee member, Antoine, writes about the experience of setting up a brand new Bristol SU Sports Club, and shares top tips for any students interested in doing the same thing next year with another new sport!
What is Roundnet?
Roundnet is a relatively new sport which is very popular in the US and is taking the rest of the world by storm. The sport is amazing because it can be played almost anywhere and really caters to all abilities; from your casual BBQ with friends to competing in a World Championship final. The European and UK Roundnet scenes are thriving with new and exciting clubs and tournaments, so it was definitely a great time to get into the sport. Roundnet is also well known for its incredibly friendly and inclusive community, which is at the core of our Club’s ethos.
Roundnet is a sport played by four players in teams of two around a circular net. Once the ball is served onto the net, the other pair have up to three touches to hit it back onto the net. Once the ball contacts the net, possession changes to the other team. There are no boundaries, it is a 360º game! A team wins a point once the other team is unable to return the ball legally onto the net.
The University of Bristol Run Series is a community and wellbeing focused virtual event. Through this event we are encouraging staff, students, alumni and people of Bristol to re-connect with one another over a common goal – be that 5k, 10k a Half Marathon (or all three!) – with the aim of bettering our physical and mental health during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.
Our ‘Faces of the Run Series’ blog posts will shine a light on individuals who have signed up to one, or more, of our virtual events and ask them to share what brought them to our virtual community this year! Through this blog series, we hope to introduce you to your fellow runners by putting a face to the Facebook profile, email address or Strava user we’ve only had the opportunity to ‘meet’ in 2D so far!
Name: Roy Kiruri Staff or Student: Bristol SU Sabbatical Officer, International Students Run Series Event: Whole Series!
“There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what I’ve believed my whole life so far.
I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s where I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.”
Name: Brandon Dobson Staff or Student: Student Studying: Geography (BSc), School of Geographical Sciences Year of Study: Third year Additional roles: Lead Activator for Sport, Exercise and Health
There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what I’ve believed my whole life so far. I have always been very active and played sports that required me to runbut at the age of 10 I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s when I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.
I wasn’t a terriblerunner, but I was certainly no Mo Farah, often placing somewhere between 20th and 60th out of 150 to 200 people. I have always been competitive and given myself a hard time when I’ve not performed as well as I think I should, andas such, I often walked away from many sports when I had experienced a bad day. In running, this competitive streak manifestedin trying to run long–distances far too quickly, which is why I struggled so much – my technique was entirely wrong.
More than 12 years have passed since, and while my attitude towards my performance has relaxed significantly, my hatred of running competitively has remained. When I heard about the Bristol Run Series, my first thought was “why would anyone want to do that, I can’t think of anything more boring than running for hours”. Nonetheless, lockdown took its toll and I have become significantly less active,from doing some form of fitness every day to now only getting active around once a week. The effects were noticeable;my physical wellbeing suffered and my mental wellbeing was far from where it should be – I was unhappy. In desperate need to get myself back into shape – physically and mentally – I did something quite shocking I signed up for the whole Bristol Run Series.
Our second Face of the Run Series is this year’s elected Sports and Student Development Officer, Rushab Shah. Rushab has been at home in Nairobi, Kenya since Christmas, which is where he will be running the Run Series virtual 5k on the weekend of 20-21 March.
Charlotte Nichols is a 3rd-year Medical student at the University of Bristol. This summer, she and her partner Stuart will be attempting to complete all 80 Olympic events during the 17 days that coincide with the Tokyo games (23rd July-8th August) to raise awareness and vital funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, in memory of Stuart’s much-loved brother, Spencer (Spenny).
In 2011 Spencer tragically lost his life to Motor Neurone Disease aged just 49, leaving behind his wife and 2 young sons. Spencer held a special place in the hearts of all who knew him. He was many things to many people, a well-known and talented musician, a keen footballer, a loyal and trusted friend and always the party starter! Spencer lived with this disease for just under 2 years and throughout this period he dedicated himself to raising as much awareness and money as he could for the MND association.
Charlotte told us “Stuart has always wanted to mark this 10-year anniversary and celebrate Spenny’s life in a fitting way and that was the seed that grew into Spennylympics, and in me, he has found someone determined and crazy enough to bring this idea to life! We are under no illusions as to just how difficult this challenge will be, in fact, it has been described by some as “impossible” which has only fuelled our determination to succeed even more!”
As a University of Bristol Sports Club, our Clubs can still choose to also work with external partners and governing bodies, to improve skills, enter competitions and gain notoriety in their sport for particular achievements or standards. For the University of Bristol Archery Club, this is Archery GB; the national governing body for archery in Great Britain. Archery GB’s Ontarget programme launched in 2010 and aims to equip grassroots level archery with the structure, vision and support to help the sport and its participants flourish and grow.
Following the announcement that UoB Archery had been recognised by Archery GB as an Ontarget Performance Specialist Club, we asked the Club to tell us a little bit about their journey to getting here.
The Archery GB ontarget scheme is designed to create a support network for archery clubs across the UK to develop and grow. Within this, clubs can achieve three specialisms: Community, Young People, and Performance. We [University of Bristol Archery Club] joined the scheme earlier this year, and have now been recognised as a Performance specialist Club!
To achieve this specialism, a club must work with its athletes, coaches, judges, and volunteers to promote an atmosphere in which sporting excellence is encouraged and promoted.
The club is in a great place to …continue bringing the sport of archery to the students of Bristol University.
Our new 2020/21 Club Captain, Will Black says that the recognition from Archery GB is “a testament to the great work of the past committees that we have been able to achieve. The club is in a great place to stay strong through the current crisis and continue bringing the sport of archery to the students of Bristol University. I am incredibly proud to be part of this club and hope to continue the success story this year.”
In university archery, archers that have shot (been in the sport) for less than one year have their own category. When archers move from being a ‘novice’ to ‘experienced’, they suddenly find themselves up against archers that have much more training under their belts – some upwards of 10 years! This can be incredibly demotivating for relatively new archers, especially those who excelled in their novice season.
To tackle this our club decided to create a new badge system during the 2018/19 academic year, for archers to track their progress through the standard indoor rounds. The badges take athletes from the beginner’s courses (white badge) to the very top of competitive archery (purple badge). The top-tier purple badge has only been achieved by one member so far! This new system has proved popular over the last year especially, with many archers in the club using it in their goal setting.
In 2019/20, we reformed the beginner’s course so that it was much more structured and used the time more effectively. A record number of 90 archers completed a course with the club in this year, and we are expecting many of these archers to continue with us in the 2020/21 season. Alongside the courses, our club ran a short ‘Introduction to Coaching’ course, during pre-season. Our volunteer coaches gained much more confidence through this course and it gave our Club’s coaching a much more cohesive approach.
The club has also increased emphasis on the importance of strength and conditioning over the last few years, with record numbers of archers attending Monday morning Motiv8 sessions during the 2019/20 academic year. Strength and conditioning has also been prevalent in keeping the club active over lockdown, with committee members running our own Motiv8 via zoom!
The 2019/20 season also saw the first off-range training sessions run by the club. We hosted a goal setting workshop in November and had another planned for April, which sadly had to be cancelled. These sessions are key to individual development as they boost motivation and encourage archers to maintain drive.
For 2020/21 we are introducing a new tiered membership structure so that our athletes can maximise their experience with the club. We also plan to continue to run workshops both on and off the range, in addition to weekly bow drills sessions to promote good technique and strength for archery.
About the announcement, University of Bristol Sport Performance Manager, Matt Paine says “The Archery club at the University of Bristol has grown from strength to strength in the last 5 years. This has been made possible by the dedication and strong leadership provided by the club captains and committees. The creation of an inclusive and open club for all is not easy within a University, and providing opportunities for both new and Performance archers is a tricky balance alongside the degree pressures. The Archery GB Ontarget recognition for the club is a reward for all of this and we look forward to supporting the club as it continues to strive for even more success in the coming years”
COVID-19 can be seen everywhere in the news today, in fact it’s almost impossible to open up social media without seeing an article about it. However, at UBWRFC (Women’s Rugby), we didn’t let the fact our members are all hundreds of miles apart get in the way of everyone’s highlight of the year – the AGM.
The aim of our AGM was to make the best out of a bad situation and to ensure newly elected committee don’t miss out on the experience of this important event in our club calendar.
I hope to share with you some tips to ensure every club is able to host a successful, fair but most importantly inclusive, virtual, AGM for their whole club.
65+ members voting
70+ people watching along
11 newly elected committee members
Accessible to both members and coaches
Choose an appropriate media platform!
As silly as it sounds, the choice of platform you decide to host your AGM on can really detract or enhance everyone’s experience. An application such as house party is in accessible to a lot of members and quite frankly rather messy-especially for a group of rugby girls. Our solution was to use Facebook live stream as we were able to broadcast the event to everyone without having to make a new group, ensuring everyone was included…coaches too!
Keep it as true to a real AGM as possible
Admittedly this years’ AGM aren’t exactly going to be the same as normal, however by making it as realistic as possible makes the night seem as if it is no different. In our AGM we included speech videos to watch together and live facetime calls to record the newly elected committees’ reaction of the best moment of their life. Additional to this, we had a committee stick man drawing in the background, so that as people were elected their paper faces were moved up, gradually forming the committee as the meeting went along-this even made a new committee picture possible. Play about with this, plus it makes the night more memorable.
Keep everyone involved
As well as live facetimes on the night, club members were also able to comment along and express their thoughts and feelings throughout the night making sure everyone was included.
Even on a regular AGM night, there is bound to be an unexpected curve ball that needs to be dealt with. In our case, a vacant committee position was opened up on the night and people put themselves forward for the position. Ensure you have the ability to deal with situations like this, i.e. be able to make a voting medium quickly to cater for these changes.
Let’s just say these alternative, virtual AGM events will be remembered by club members for years to come but remembered as an event that continued to unify the club even during the craziest time of our lives!
At Bristol Uni Sport we’re expanding our community of student and staff Run Leaders! Whether you’re a cross-country superstar, or total beginner, it doesn’t matter – we’re simply looking for enthusiastic, community-minded individuals to get involved and support your peers in keeping active this year.
Astrid Blee is a third-year PhD student in the School of Physics, but in her spare time she also is a Bristol Uni Run Leader. We spoke to Astrid about her experiences as a Bristol Uni Run Leader over the past 12-months, and why she thinks that you should get involved this year!
Astrid’s Run Leader journey started out when she discovered how running with other people can make the experience more enjoyable.
“I’ve always run by myself, but after trying a couple of runs with a friend of mine, I discovered that running with other people is actually good fun!”
The comradery that came with running as part of a group inspired Astrid to set up her own running group. She thought setting up a running group would be a good way to meet new people and have fun being active together.
“I was delighted to find out that at the same time, the university was offering the LIRF (Leadership in running Fitness) training.”
The Leadership in Running Fitness (LIRF) training is an official qualification led by England Athletics and is designed to prepare you to provide a safe and enjoyable running experience for young people over 12 years of age and adults of any ability, size or shape. Astrid applied for a place on the LIRF course, offered to prospective Bristol Uni Run Leaders for FREE by Bristol Uni Sport.
Astrid has now been leading PG: Run Club for almost a year, and told us that the LIRF training offered by Bristol Uni Sport was really beneficial and a huge help in getting her group ‘up and running’!
“[The LIRF training] was really good fun, and very informative – I felt really reassured. …it’s definitely helped me with planning PG: Run Club“
And, whilst Astrid was running fairly regularly before she signed up to become a Bristol Uni Run Leader, we’re encouraging everyone from the runner-bean to running-novice to get involved with this opportunity to give something back to the #WeAreBristol community! Astrid agrees; “Some awareness of the difficulties of long distance running/training is pretty useful, [but] you definitely don’t need to be an advanced to runner to be a running leader”.
Becoming a Run Leader is a unique way to get active, get social and give back to the #WeAreBristol community. Astrid highlighted how rewarding the Run Leader role can be both personally, and as being part of a community that you have helped to build;
“I have loved getting to know people I’d have absolutely no interaction with otherwise – I’ve met lots of post-grads and definitely made new friends!“
“It’s really satisfying to see other people’s progress as well as your own. The beginners group that I’ve been leading for about a month now have already made great steps towards running a continuous 5K (our soft goal!), which I’m really proud of.“
The Run Leader role is open to staff and students, with Run Leader training taking place in December 2019 at the Coombe Dingle Sports Complex.
Astrid’s top tip before you sign-up? Don’t fret: it’s really easy to build up your own skills as well as helping others to develop.
Click here to express your interest in joining the Run Leader team!
If you’re a post-grad looking for a group of friendly faces to stay active with, why not join Astrid on their next run? Visit their Facebook page for all the details.
For more information about the role, email firstname.lastname@example.org.