July 25th, 2012

Exploring athletes in ‘the zone’

“If I let go of everything — my thoughts, my words, my feelings, my fears, everything — my body can do anything and my mind becomes completely and utterly still.”

Athletes have various ways of ‘psyching themselves up’ before an event. But why is this mental state so important?

Psychology lecturer Dr Victoria Tischler has used testimonies and research data to examine how athletes achieve the absolute focus necessary for them to perform at the peak of their physical powers.

She commissioned artist and filmmaker David Bickerstaff to set her research to film. The Zone, a nine-minute film, makes for compelling viewing.

“I thought the phenomenon of ‘the zone’ was interesting from a psychological perspective and having seen the data I thought it was poetic and could be presented in a visually engaging way. This has the potential for public engagement in explaining psychological phenomena to lay-people and in motivating people to exercise … I particularly wanted to capture the rhythmic, hypnotic and subliminal nature of the experience of being in ‘the zone’.”

We’re in the Top 10

Nottingham has again won a Top 10 place in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) rankings. The achievement is all the more impressive as Nottingham is the only one of the 10 that does not offer a sports science course. Congratulations to this year’s BUCS league winners from the hockey, lacrosse, netball, football, basketball, rugby union and water polo Athletic Union clubs.

Could you win sports funding?

A number of University of Nottingham students and graduates who excel in sport and have an eye on London 2012 have links to Nottinghamshire County Council.

Swimmer Jess Sylvester (above) is supported by the council’s Shining Star fund, which helps with travel costs. And the county council also manages the National Water Sports Centre, which is popular with students and graduates, including top canoeist Tim Brabants.

Coun John Cottee, chairman for culture at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “This is going to be a summer to remember and we wish all of our local athletes well in their quest for selection and then at London 2012 in both the Paralympic and Olympic Games.”

Find out more what support you could get from the county council. Visit:

Eleven bidding for Olympic glory 

Eleven athletes with connections to the University will compete at London 2012. They are:

Tim Baillie (Mechanical Engineering 2000) Canoe Slalom
Chris Bartley (Biology 2005) Rowing – Men’s Four
Tim Brabants (Medicine 1999, Hon LLD 2009) Canoe Sprint
Nick Catlin (History 2011) Hockey
Johny Akimyemi (Philosophy 2010) K1 Canoe Slalom
David Florence (Mathematical Physics 2005) Canoe Slalom
Harry Martin (Economics 2015) Hockey
Rob Moore (Economics 2003) Hockey
Anne Panter (Mathematics and Economics 2009) Hockey
Etienne Scott (Mechanical Engineering 2000) Canoe Slalom
Olivia Whitlam (Environmental Science 2006) Rowing, Women’s Eight

A 70,000-strong army of volunteers

University staff and students will be part of a 70,000-strong army of volunteers at the Games.

“Being a volunteer is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Wasim Chaudry (above), information co-ordinator in the Campaign and Alumni Relations Office, who will be based in the Aquatics Centre.

Student Gabriella Pimentel is a lifeguard at the Aquatics Centre and Eaton Manor: “It feels great knowing I’ll be part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I know I’ll never forget the experience.”

Jules Lediard, a student activities and health and safety manager, has a sabbatical from the Students’ Union to work for LOCOG’s event services team. “I really want to be part of making London 2012 a real success for Great Britain. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics, and to be part of it is a real dream come true.”

Others include: Puja Savjani, Nina Ryan, Katie Lovell, Faisal Shariff, Matthew Byrne, Richard Wilkinson, Yele Olatunbosun, Liz Burnley and Sophie Gelsthorpe-Hill.

Coe’s praise for Megan’s film

Nottingham student Megan Salter’s talent will be on show at every Olympic venue.

Hath Not a Child Ability? won London 2012’s Film Nation Shorts competition and will be screened on London 2012 Big Screens across the UK. Megan, who is studying psychology and cognitive neuroscience, said: “Hath Not a Child Ability? explores the themes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; courage, determination, equality, excellence, friendship, inspiration and respect.”

The film was produced by Real Hark Productions, set up by Megan and friend Sara Harrak (pictured above).

“At London 2012 we hear stories about amazing achievements by young people every day and this film perfectly illustrates just that,” said London 2012 Chair Sebastian Coe. “The film is simple but really impactful.”

To see the film visit:



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