Posts by ben

Fan Mail – Missing the Commonwealth Games?

July 25th, 2014 Posted by Fan Mail No Comment yet

More of your questions answered by Jessica.

Melody Smithson from Northamption asked me:
“Are you sad to miss the Commonwealth Games?”
“I am a little sad to miss them but I am also excited because Andy and I will be having our first child. I will be watching and cheering everyone one!” (more…)

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Fan Mail – Do you practice every day?

July 25th, 2014 Posted by Fan Mail No Comment yet

School children often write to Jessica asking her all sorts of questions. Here are a few of the recent ones with Jessica’s answers!

Jake Black of Cockermouth, Cumbria asked:
“When you were young were you good at any sport or did you go to classes and do you practice every day?” (more…)

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Fan Mail – Jess answers your questions!

July 25th, 2014 Posted by Fan Mail No Comment yet

Jessica receives a lot of fan mail, particularly questions from school children wanting to know a little bit more about our gold-medal winning heptathlete. So we sat down with Jess and asked her some of your questions. here are her answers!

Sophie Grey from Chesterfield asked:
“What is my favourite sport?” (more…)

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The first steps to becoming a coach

June 30th, 2014 Posted by Coach's Corner No Comment yet

Who can forget the interview Jess gave after she won the gold medal in London; fighting back the tears as the full scale of her achievement began to dawn on her? Yet despite this surge of emotion she was quick to recognise those people who made it all possible – her family, friends and coaching staff. 

No athlete can do it all on their own. A great coach is there at every training session and competition, sharing in the highs and softening the lows. But how does anyone become a coach? “By accident,” jokes Toni.

“No, I actually started out coaching basketball. Then the person who was training the sports team left and I was asked to step in and it went on from there really. This must have been around 20 years ago.” 

It can be truly satisfying working closely with an athlete and watching them progress, but first it requires a lot of hard work to become a certified coach.

 

“If you want to take it seriously you will need to take your qualifications,” says Toni. “This is something you are best going onto the UK Athletics website for and looking at the courses they have on there.”

Many coaches dream of discovering someone with unbelievable natural talent; however, determination, passion and a high work rate are the key characteristics needed to become a successful athlete.

“To be honest I didn’t really see the extent of Jess’ talent at first,” admits Toni. “She was quicker than the rest of her peer group, so she had a level of ability, but it was all about training and moving on from there. She turned up regularly and worked hard which was the main thing.”

A coach has a huge amount of responsibility towards an athlete. It is no good just turning up every morning and running through the same old drills. For an athlete to raise their performance you have to keep up to date with the latest training techniques.

“You should be reading loads, going on courses and partaking in workshops,” says Toni. “I was very busy going on all sorts of courses which covered many different types of sports, not just athletics. I also sought out other coaches to get their advice. I always recommend two books to people; Periodization Theory and Methodology of Training by Tudor Bompa and Sports Training Principles by Dr Frank Dick. They cover all sports and are a great place to start.”

One of the hardest parts to coaching is instilling belief in an athlete, picking them up when they are down and keep them striving for more.

“So long as the training is progressive then an athlete will generally keep motivated because they are improving. You need to keep the training interesting and fresh. Psychologically speaking, I have been very fortunate to work closely with some great sports physiologists while taking part in the UK Sport Elite coaching programme.”

Toni’s top tip – Diet

To reach your targets as an athlete you need to be disciplined both on and off the track. This means sacrificing the junk food to stay ahead of the field.

“The most important thing is to have a varied and balanced diet,” explains Toni. “So we are talking about your five portions of fruit and veg a day and eating enough protein. You should also be drinking at least five glasses of water a day to keep hydrated.

“It’s important to have a plan for your pre and post-race meals. Ideally eat some carbohydrates three to four hours before a race. Then after the race protein is essential to aid in recovery. One thing I would suggest is eating two portions of red meat a week for iron. I see a lot of athletes who are slightly iron deficient because they don’t eat enough red meat and so they become tired and lethargic. If you are a vegetarian make sure you eat enough green leafy vegetables as they are high in iron.”

Follow Toni on twitter @Coach_Toni 

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Keeping fit during pregnancy

May 31st, 2014 Posted by Coach's Corner No Comment yet

Four months ago Jess told the world she was expecting a baby and therefore taking a break from all competitive athletic events. Since then she has been working closely with her coaching team to make sure she is fit and ready for the 2015 Beijing World Championships where she plans to make her comeback. However pregnancy is a life changing event and can put the body under a large amount of strain, so Jess had to carefully consider her options before deciding to carry on with athletics.

Coach Toni remembers the day Jess called him to break the news, “She rang and asked if she could come around to have a chat, which sounded a bit ominous as Jess is not normally that formal. After she told me we talked and she said she did want to continue, especially because of her age. At that point she was already about 13-14 weeks pregnant, so first it was about sorting out the mechanics; letting British Athletics know, announcing it to the team and publically. Then we had a discussion with regards to going forward.”

No more heavy weight sessions or leaping over high jump poles, Jess’ training routine now consists of more moderate exercises.

“First she couldn’t do anything rotating because of how far she was in the pregnancy,” explains Toni. “Then it was no jumping or power work, so we adapted to keep her fit. This involved using the Wattbike and low-level aerobic running exercises. She has also taken up yoga, which you have probably seen in the pictures making their rounds on Twitter.”

If you do want to continue to train during pregnancy it is essential you gradually relax your exercise routine as the pregnancy progresses and don’t do anything outside your comfort zone.

“It is all about general, moderate exercise,” says Toni. “It depends on your pregnancy and at what stage you are at, but your exercise should become gentler as you approach your due date, whether this is pool or bike based. You should definitely seek advice from your doctor or midwife. They can advise you on things you should monitor, such as ligaments getting looser, because, like with Jess, the most important thing is having a safe and healthy pregnancy.”

You should also do your research to make sure you know exactly what your body requires and the things you need to consider when training. This is exactly what Toni did when Jess became pregnant.

“I did learn a lot of stuff and it is important to know and absorb as much information as possible. We also spoke to Dr Steve Ingham, Head of Physiology at the English Institute of Sport, and looked at studies to help gain knowledge, because we were going into something that we didn’t know too much about.”

Toni’s Top Tip – Crossing the finish line

You fought your way to the front of the pack, the crowd is cheering and the finishing line is just in sight – at this crucial moment it is essential you don’t lose your concentration.

“First of all I don’t see enough people practicing the last 20 metres of a race, which is funny because it is really important,” says Toni. “You can get distracted or dip too soon and lose momentum. You should only really be dipping two or three steps before the finish line. I describe it as a kind of running lunge which helps drive you over the line.

“When nearing the finish line, especially in sprint races, you need to fix your eye on a spot in the distance and just run for it. This will help you keep focused and ignore the people around you as they can affect your running style. You should also practice driving off the last hurdle so you know how many strides until the finish line.”

Follow Toni on twitter @Coach_Toni 

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Jessica visits Webhelp UK team

May 23rd, 2014 Posted by News No Comment yet

Thanks to Sky, the team at Webhelp UK in Derby were paid a visit by Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill. The Sky Sports ‘Living for Sport’ Ambassador met some of the Sky Customer Service Team and listened in on a few live calls.

As part of her visit, Jessica shared some of her motivational secrets for success with the team. 
Speaking about her own road to her success in athletics, she explained how a sporting mind-set can be beneficial in everyone’s careers.

 

Jessica Ennis-Hill, said: “Sport can teach you so much that you can apply to your career and other areas of your life. Through sport, you naturally develop skills such as how to focus your time better and how to become more disciplined. The Sky Sports ‘Living for Sport’ projects, introduces students to these skills, helping them on their path to success, but it is never too late to apply these. I’m really proud to be able to mentor and give something back as I’ve seen the impact my achievement has had on me and the people around me through the highs and even the lows”

David Turner, Webhelp UK CEO, said: “Jessica’s visit was really well received and created a significant buzz at the site. Our success is based on the strength of our people, so I’m particularly pleased that the team in Derby had the chance to meet such an inspirational person and hear her motivational tips.”

For more information about Sky Sports Living for Sport, please visit www.skysports.com/livingforsport

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Jess shows us her blooming baby bump on Twitter

May 22nd, 2014 Posted by News No Comment yet

Gold medal-winning Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, who is expecting her first child with husband Andy, posed for the snap while standing next to a giant poster of herself competing in London 2012.

Jessica, 28, is wearing her gym gear in the picture and is grinning at the camera while cradling her growing tummy.

Posting the photo of Twitter, Jessica joked: “My abs look a little different.”

 

In January, Jessica announced that she and Andy were unexpectedly expecting a baby together, adding: “We are completely overwhelmed, with excitement and a degree of anxiety that I am sure all first time parents will relate to.”

Although clearly nothing like her usual training schedule, Jessica has been keeping active throughout her pregnancy and recently shared a picture of herself on Twitter following a yoga session.

Alongside it, she commented: “Great yoga session this morning at our yoga instructors new studios #yogaatthereach.”

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Jess and David Beckham join Game Changers season finale

May 22nd, 2014 Posted by News No Comment yet

David Beckham and Jessica Ennis-Hill to present the winners of this year’s Sky Sports Living for Sport Awards live on Game Changers. Show to be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky 1 HD.

Sky Sports today announced that global sporting icon David Beckham and Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill will star in a Game Changers Special to celebrate the achievements of the young people and teachers involved in Sky Sports Living for Sport. This one-off episode will be broadcast live simultaneously on Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky 1 HD on 20 May 2014 at 4.30pm.

The Awards special will be presented by Olympic Gold medallist Darren Campbell and Sky Sports’ Di Dougherty in front of a live studio audience of young people. In their roles as Sky ambassadors, David and Jessica have taken part in judging for the awards and will present them on the show.

The Awards recognise the efforts of students and teachers that are involved in Sky Sports Living for Sport, a free national schools-based initiative which uses sports stars and sports skills to help build young people’s confidence and life skills. Now in its 11th year, the initiative works in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, teachers and a dedicated team of athlete mentors to improve the lives of thousands of young people. Over 50,000 students from one third of British secondary schools participate each year.

Speaking about being involved in this Game Changers Special, David Beckham said: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to help shine a light on achievements of secondary schools that are using Sky Sports Living for Sport to change lives and instil self-belief in their students.

“I think it’s important that young people are given the opportunities to have new experiences and develop life skills. When I was young, my opportunity came on a football field. It was there I learned discipline and to have confidence to be part of a team. I was given encouragement, people believed that I could succeed and that gave me the confidence to follow my dreams.”

Jessica Ennis-Hill added: “I’ve seen for myself how much of an impact Sky Sports Living for Sport is having across the UK.  It’s incredible to watch how young people’s’ attitudes can change as a result and how belief in themselves and their abilities can be transformed. I can’t wait to meet each of the finalists and see who this year’s overall winners are.”

Game Changers Special airs on Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky 1 HD on 20 May at 4.30pm.  Viewers who are out and about can watch Game Changers on the move, on mobile and tablet devices via Sky Go; and kids who are out playing sport can catch up with the show on demand.

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Check out Jessica at the PruHealth Vitality Day

May 18th, 2014 Posted by News No Comment yet

Last month a lucky group of fitness bloggers, journalists and competition winners had an experience that would make many people jealous: they got to spend time training with none other than Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill as part of a PruHealth Vitality Experience Day.

Held at the Aldersgate Virgin Active Classic Health Club in London, the PruHealth Vitality Day gave guests the opportunity to learn more about the Vitality programme and how it can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To read more and see the pictures just pop along to the PruHealth blog.

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Jess trials the new adidas ClimaChill range

May 18th, 2014 Posted by News No Comment yet

As a top level athlete and Olympic champion, Jess travels the world taking part in competitions. This means not only is she competing against the opposition; she can also be battling soaring temperatures and stifling conditions. That’s why adidas invited her to try out their new ClimaChill range, specially designed to regulate body temperature to help athletes stay cool. The adidas #MyGirls zine team went backstage to get Jess’ opinion of the new gear and you can find out what she had to say by visiting their official site.

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