In a move away from the traditional annual Dunford Lecture, the College’s sports scholars were invited to attend three 45-minute workshops with industry experts David Alcock (Sports Psychologist), Gareth Smith (former Royal Marines Commando) and David Tilston (Movement Coach). The interactive sessions were held on Tuesday 14th September and were designed to build the broader physical and mental skills needed for high performance.
All our sports scholars threw themselves into the sessions with the application and commitment we know to expect from them. We are very grateful to our three experts for these positive and challenging sessions and are pleased to share the reflections of some of our sports scholars following the day:
‘The psychology session with David Alcock was very interesting and insightful. I learnt a lot about the job of a sport psychologist and what the common mental problems are with sports people and how they are dealt with. I’m looking forward to using what I learnt in sport, most likely in my rugby when kicking, because a lot of kicking is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. This is also relevant in all of the other sports I play. I am very thankful for being given the opportunity to learn about such things from someone with so much experience and knowledge.’
‘The session with Gareth Smith explored our skills in quick thinking and teamwork, by using his military background to help us think calmly under pressure. We did many exercises to work on these skills, including military carries and applying bandages to a ‘wounded soldier’. Personally, I found the development of skills in carrying people by use of proper technique very interesting, as you saw people carrying others of twice their weight with little effort. I, along with the other sports scholars, was able to gain so many new skills in the short period of time we spent together and we are extremely grateful for that.’
‘The natural movements workshop with David Tilston was really good because it taught you how to move your body in many different directions. One way I could put the natural movements workshop into my sport is through the quick change of direction and speed. For example, in my sport, hockey, these movements are very important to eliminate opposing players. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to learn from an amazing athlete and ex-Marine all there is to know about body movement in sport.’
About the Dunford Trilogy Guest Speakers
David Alcock is a sports psychologist with extensive experience. After graduating in Psychology and following eight years working in the health service as both a Registered Nurse for people with learning difficulties and as a Registered Children’s Nurse, he has worked as a Sport Psychologist for almost 30 years. Initially working out of the University of the West of England, he began utilising his skills in the broader sporting community with the likes of Warrington Wolves and Bristol Bears and he is currently in his second season at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.
Gareth Smith is a former Royal Marines Commando, paramedic and Physicians Associate working in a busy Emergency Department. Staying calm under pressure is a skill that has been honed over his career from working in some of the world’s most hostile environments where he had to provide lifesaving medical cover.
David Tilston teaches movement through a number of varied disciplines. Improving mobility as a whole or over a specific joint without strengthening that range can often lead to injury or imbalance. Combining a range of methods can improve overall resilience in line with mobility.