Giving Yourself the Edge – Six Talks from Leading Sports Professionals | King's College Taunton

Giving Yourself the Edge – Six Talks from Leading Sports Professionals

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King's College will be hosting a series of six talks from leading sports professionals designed to help young sports performers (ages 11-19) to be the best they can be.

To book please use this QR code, or contact Clare Hayes: CHayes@kings-taunton.co.uk


From 28 July, individual tickets will be available at £20 per talk.

Dr Áine MacNamara

Dr Áine MacNamara

FRIDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2018 – 7.00PM - 8.30PM

About the talk: Áine will work with the young athletes to explore the ‘rocky road to success’ and the skills they need to realise their potential, maximise the opportunities, and overcome the challenges.

About Áine: Dr. Áine MacNamara is a Reader in Elite Performance in the Institute of Coaching and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire.

Áine’s background is in physical education and coaching and she has worked with young people in a range of sporting environments as an educator, coach and sports psychology consultant.

Her main research interest is in Talent Development and she has published widely in peer-review journals, book chapters and technical reports and has worked with a range of sporting organisations in the UK and Ireland to help them develop Talent Development pathways and policies as well as providing coach and parent education to support the implementation of these ideas.

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Kate Richardson-Walsh

Kate Richardson-Walsh

FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER 2018 – 7.00PM - 8.30PM

About the talk: Kate will be talking about maintaining peak performance and high performance under pressure.

About Kate: is the most capped female hockey player in her country’s history, and was captain of GB and England women’s hockey teams for 13 years.

An inspirational and charismatic leader, she has been widely credited for helping build the incredible team ethos and commitment that drove the GB team to a nail biting victory against Holland in the Rio 2016 Olympic hockey final.

Alongside her GB duties Kate won the European Championships with England in 2015 and secured a bronze and two silvers in three successive Commonwealth Games.

Kate currently serves as an ambassador for the Women’s Sport Trust, supports disability hockey as an ambassador for Access Sport, and sits on the British and European Olympic Athlete’s Commissions. She was chosen to carry the GB flag at the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours.

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Prof Damian Hughes

Prof Damian Hughes

FRIDAY 18 JANUARY 2019 – 7.00PM - 8.30PM

About the talk: Damian will be focusing on the psychology of a winning mindset, providing a ‘toolkit’ to challenge everyday langauge and improve communication.

About Damian: Professor Damian Hughes is an international speaker and bestselling author who combines his practical and academic background within sport, organisational development and change psychology, to help organisations and teams to create a high performing culture.

He is the author of seven best-selling business books, including Liquid Thinking, Liquid Leadership, How to Change Absolutely Anything, How to Think Like Sir Alex Ferguson and The Five STEPS to a Winning Mindset.

He has also been nominated for the 2007 William Hill Sports book of the year award for Peerless, his biography of boxing great Sugar Ray Robinson. In 2009, he co-authored a critically acclaimed biography of boxing legend, Thomas Hearns in Hitman: the Thomas Hearns Story. In 2013, his latest biography, Marvelous Marvin Hagler became the UK’s best selling sports biography.

He was appointed as a Professor of Organisational Psychology and Change for Manchester Metropolitan University in September 2010.

He is currently serving as a member of the coaching team for Scotland Rugby Union and Canberra Raiders.

His innovative and exciting approach has been praised by Sir Richard Branson, Muhammad Ali, Sir Terry Leahy, Sir Roger Bannister, Tiger Woods, Jonny Wilkinson and Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Prof Brendan Cropley

Prof Brendan Cropley

FRIDAY 25 JANUARY 2019 – 7.00PM - 8.30PM

About the talk: Brendan will explore the power of reflective practice as a way of enhancing self-awareness and its position in both personal and professional development.

About Brendan: Professor of Sport Coaching at the University of South Wales (USW). He joined USW in 2017, having previously worked at Swansea University and Cardiff Metropolitan University. He has made a significant contribution to the sport and exercise sciences, particularly in the area of sport psychology and sport coach education. He has provided a range of consultancy services to athletes, coaches, and NGBs, such as the Australian Institute of Sport, UK Coaching, and Sport Wales. He also has an emerging research profile, having published over 40 research articles and book chapters, which have helped to shape training and development programmes in the sport sciences and sport coaching. Brendan is the Head of the Centre for Football Research in Wales. His contribution to sport was recognised by the British Association of Sport & Exercise Science (BASES) who awarded Brendan Fellowship status in 2014. He has been a BASES Accredited Sport & Exercise Scientist (Psychology) since 2007 and a Chartered Scientist since 2014, and has worked closely with a number of NGBs to develop their coach education strategies, helping to write the A Youth Licence Coaching Qualification for the FAW Trust, as well as acting as a coach educator and a mentor up to (and including) Level 4.

In an industry where the smallest of margins can have a particularly significant impact on outcome, athletes, coaches, support staff and National Governing Bodies alike constantly seek a competitive sporting edge. However, as technology and innovation continue to dominate, sports people often overlook the need to place themselves at the centre of their development. Indeed, understanding the self can give individuals (and teams) the biggest performance advantage as they start to actualise their capabilities by creating greater opportunities to exploit their strengths.

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Dr Emma Kavanagh

Dr Emma Kavanagh

FRIDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2019 – 7.00PM - 8.30PM

About the talk: Emma will be talking about a taken for granted aspect of performance environments through exploring the relationships we hold and the challenges that can be posed to these relationships in pressurised environments. The importance of optimal relationships are central to wellbeing and success. Emma’s talk will therefore provide examples of how to strengthen and nurture relationships through increased understanding of the self and others.

About Emma: Dr Emma Kavanagh is a lecturer in Sports Psychology and Coaching Sciences and a BASES Accredited Performance Psychologist and Chartered Sport and Exercise Scientist, working with a number of athletes and coaches at national and international level.

Emma has a wealth of experience working with elite performers across a variety of team and individual sports. She has gained an excellent reputation as a performance psychologist helping athletes and coaches alike achieve their personal performance aspirations.

She has prepared athletes for and attended major events including Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games and has extensive experience of increasing performance in high pressure environments.

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Sarah Kelleher

Sarah Kelleher

FRIDAY 15 MARCH 2019 – 7.00PM - 8.30PM

About the talk: Sarah will explore a key topic in all areas of our lives: Confidence. She will look at how confidence is not a talent we are born with but a skill that can be learned. It is a skill that can be cultivated by growing awareness of our best self and what it takes to allow us to truly flourish and thrive.

About Sarah: Sarah has been involved in high performance coaching at international level for over 8 years currently in her fourth cycle as Lead Coach, England Hockey U18 Girls. This combined with her senior international playing career, spanning 10 years and as Irish Captain, provides her with an in-depth understanding of what it takes to perform to your best.

In addition to her hockey coaching roles, Sarah is a qualified NLP Coach and Master NLP Practitioner and also works as a strategic consultant in innovation, business and brand strategy. This diversity of experience has positively influenced her coaching approach adding another dimension to how she looks to effectively influence and shape a team culture where players can be their best in reaching their full potential.

Her experience has allowed her to shape her philosophy toward a flourishing model of coaching that truly looks at the holistic development of players. She is expert in creating team culture that allows players and teams to flourish as they strive to be their best and perform under pressure. This approach has played a key role in achieving podium success across two Europeans as England U18 Lead Coach.

She is the proud Mum of her six-year-old boy and loves nothing better than the hours and hours spent playing together. In her ‘free time’, she has renovated an old ruin to set up a wellness retreat in the rolling hills of Le Marche, Italy, that offers inspiration on how to live well, flourish and be your best self.

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Our next Open Day will be taking place on Saturday 6th October.

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