Olympian Heather tells Eastbourne students it’s not all about sport

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Heather Olver puts students to the test at Eastbourne College

Olver, whose career highlights include attending the Rio 2016 Olympics, hosted a special school workout to share the benefits of badminton on mental and physical health and to inspire more young people. players.

She said: “Badminton can be a huge boost to mental well-being because it’s very social – you can play it in a doubles team and you can play at all levels. There is a huge social aspect around it. this side.

“There are also a lot of transferable skills, from teamwork and cooperation to communication and problem solving. If you’re playing in a partnership, you need to find ways to fix the issues – without ending your partner.

“Sometimes people think badminton is a pretty easy sport so we try to shatter that image in these sessions. It’s very physical. I also do movement exercises and fun games for the students.

Olver was born in Eastbourne and developed a love of the sport playing at a club in Heathfield. After being spotted at a young age, she pursued her dream of competing internationally, winning bronze at the European Championships in 2010 and silver in mixed doubles at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The badminton star recognized the pressures on today’s youth and a growing awareness of mental health in sport, with an emphasis on fun rather than success in competition, as well as on the need to stimulate adolescent girls’ engagement.

A study published this year by the charity Women in Sport found that only 10% of girls aged 13 to 16 achieve recommended daily physical activity levels.

Olver said, “If we can get more girls and women to participate in sport through badminton, that’s great.

“It’s a great option because not everyone wants to play other team sports.”

Heather’s sessions at Eastbourne College are part of a renewed drive to encourage students to be physically active, especially in the wake of coronavirus lockdowns.

Co-Curriculum Deputy Director Anthony Lamb MBE said Heather’s attitude echoed the school’s approach of developing a passion for sport and fitness through fun and a wide variety of activities.

He said: “Every student is expected to participate in some form of exercise or sporting activity, and between 90% and 95% of students represent the school in regular team meetings.

“There is always a cohort of boys and girls who cherish alternatives to basic sports, which is why we offer badminton, basketball, dance and yoga – as well as all the water sports that the students can practice here on the coast, from paddle to windsurfing.

“We recognize that girls can disengage from sports in their early teens, which is why we also launched our PAW program: Pilates, Aerobics, Walks – designed to instill that lifelong attitude of wanting to stay healthy and fit. .

“Preparing for the future is not just about academic performance and getting the best entry into college – it’s also about preparing your mindset for the future. “

Eastbourne College’s next open morning for Grades 9-12 enrollment will be on Saturday February 26th.


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