Empower AH: Sports Rehabilitation and Sports Massage  

Empower therapy room. 

I love my sport and fitness and I always will. 

However, there becomes a point where the amount of exercise can become unhealthy for you or cause you a nasty injury. 

I, unfortunately or fortunately experienced both. I loved training and would spend a good amount of time at the gym or playing or playing basketball. 

I was not allowing my body the rest it needed. As a result I badly sprained my ankle over seven  years ago. It was in the last few seconds of a Basketball game. 

I am not ashamed to say that I needed this to happen to make me see some sense. 

The result was a few weeks on crutches, a couple of weeks off work, rest and recovery time for my body. I struggled with being less active and probably went back to sport and fitness too quickly. after 6 month. To this day I still struggle with the same injury.

I rushed to get my ankle fixed. My first physio, wasn’t great. One thing he did do, which helped, was getting rid of the scar tissue that the sprain caused. I thought friction treatment was the most painful thing ever! That was until I experienced childbirth. Yep, that has been my most painful experience too date and probably ever, with friction treatment coming in second. 

I must admit from my first experience of physio and the negative experience I had I was a little apprehensive to try again. 

Saying this I had the chance to visit Alison at Empower and give it another go. 

Alison was lovely. When we met she was very professional. To begin with I had to fill in a health questionnaire  and then some documents about my injury.  This allowed her to get an idea of what had happened to my ankle, how and when. 

After the initial questions she moved on to assessing my ankle with a series of tests to establish how strong it was and  where to go from there, based on her knowledge and experience.  

Ready for the session!! 

Just as I thought. My ankle was weak and needed strengthen after the sprain, and many more that has happened since the first.

She moved on to more friction treatment which I was dreading. It definitely wasn’t as painful as the first time and even though my ankle still niggled as she did it her knowledge was fabulous. ” you will find that it should be tender for the first few seconds and then the pain should subside”. She was right! From that moment I started to pay even more attention. Throughout the treatment she kept asking questions and I answered as truthfully as I could. She gave me a breakdown of how the ankle works and its structure. As a pe teacher I found this even more interesting, especially with a basic understanding of the body.

Ouch, a little bit anyway!!! 

Her questions also included examples of what exercises my old physio got me doing. Alison looked amazed, not in a good way. She didn’t understand why I had been given them and explained that I need to strengthen the ankle and work on my balance. Basically I needed to retrain my ankle and build strength its strength up again.  

From this assessment Alison gave me few strenghtening exercises to do. Standing on each leg for  few minutes whenever I was standing still. Once this became too easy the next advice she gave me was standing on a pillow as this made the floor uneven and then on  a wobbly board like the one shown in the photo  below. The other was to find a step and rise on to my tip toes and then lower my heels below the the step.  

Wibble wobble 

On to tip toes and lowering down to floor  

So, would I recommend Alison at Empower?

Absolutely yes. My first experience of a physio was a lot to be desired. However, I felt that she delivered the goods  I came away happy with how the rehabilitation session went and knowing what I needed to do in order to make and see an improvement  in the strength of my ankle. I now try to do these exercises as much as possible and looking forward to seeing the progression I make. 

Alison even followed up with another email recommending even more exercises to do as my ankle starts to strengthen.

If you are interested in seeing what Alison can offer you, you can email her at empower.ah@outlook com.

After all life is about making memories and learning from experiences, good and bad. 

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Leapfrogs: Solihull 

My daughter had already done football and I had heard about Leapfrogs before. A friends daughter did the Sunday morning classes and I had heard good things, so I was keen to see what they were like. 
My daughter was just over three when we booked in for her taster session. She went into the Froglets sessions on a Thursday at 10.30 for three to three and half years olds. Leapfrogs also caters for two to three years and three and half to  five years olds.

The big thing that attracted me too this class was the number of sports and activities they cover. Each week a different one is taught. From Dodgeball to Rugby and even Cricket. 

Before the session starts, and waiting for others to arrive, the children get some free time to play with a ball. My daughter has just learnt to bounce a ball, like in basketball, from having a play around and trying things on her own. I was so chuffed. This is is my favourite sport.

 
As the children arrive they get a sticker with their name on it. This allows us to learn each other names but in a more informal way. I like this way but I also like the introduction way too.

Each session starts with a warm up. This involves running around cones and then standing behind one ready to do some stretches and mobility exercises like circling hips and arms.All I can say is my daughter just loves to run and is starting to experiment with some funny versions of the stretches which make me giggle. For me, this is vital knowledge for participating in sport, and starting to input this knowledge at an early age is a great idea.

The session is then moved on to fundamental skills needed for the sport being looked at each week. 

Last week it was jumping, over cones and lines, as the focus sport was dodgeball. 

In dodgeball, jumping to move out of the way is important so you don’t get hit with the ball. This was one of the sport based activity. I got to bounce the ball at my daughter!!! 

As the film states there are 5 skills “dodge, dip, dive, duck and dodge. 

Another example is Cricket.  Throwing is important, so one skill was throwing the ball into different size targets. This then progressed to throwing the ball at stumps.

Dribbling  practice in Hockey  for example. 

Once all the skills and concepts have been taught the children try to put them into a game. These are conditioned to make it easier for the children so they can start to understand the concept of what the sport involves. An example being smaller areas used to play or a similar version and the basic rules and smaller equipment.

The session ends with a cool down. These can vary. My daughters favourite is animals, where they pretend to be them and make the noises or movements. They stretch out without knowing. My daughter now does an mean Meerkat impression. By this I mean it’s brilliant. I think it gets their imaginations going. She loves doing it. 

 Another favourite is pirates. 

Through out the sessions other little games can be played like Fox and Hound, which is when the children chase the instructors and take a bib, and also encouraging their imaginations by pretending to be animals.

The one thing to come across from the all the sessions is fun and they are suited to meet the age of the children. I also like the fact that the class sizes are smaller so the children get a lot more coaching out of it and more chances to try the skills, activities and games.

The range of equipment they have and use in the sessions is brilliant, and the activities and skills planned demonstrates how much thought and time has been put into them.

Using balloons to teach the basics of volleyball. Genius. I have now used this in my secondary school pe lessons, along with beach balls. I have taken some of the drills and adapted them to suit my students as they were good. 

The thing that struck me most was the organisation of the sessions. Once one drill was completed Leapfrog was shouted and all the children had to go and touch the pictures in an area of the hall so  the next activity could be set up, and if needed get a drink.  I thought this was excellent. 

The other was our instructor, Amanda. she is lovely, lively and engages well with the children. She is brilliant and always so welcoming. 

The instructors. Amanda is on the right 

Down to their level 

One thing to come out of these sessions was my daughter showing a flare for cricket. She had never seen a bat, picked one up or swing one but picked it up very quickly. Maybe an England cricketer on our hands!!!

Would I recommend this class? Absolutely. The structure, the equipment used in each session, the instructors and how the sessions are planned all makes the experience worthwhile. I definitely think it is worth the money.

My daughter has got so much out of classes.

If you would like to find out more please visit leapfrogssport.co.uk or visit their Facebook page Leapfrogs Sports.

When my daughter learns a new skill or improves on the ones she can do I have a proud mummy moment and this time I get to spend with her is very precious to me. 

After all it’s about making memories and cherishing every moment. 

TH Photography

Had I have known that my new basketball coach was also a photographer I would have looked into having Thomas photograph my wedding. Why didn’t you I hear you ask? The one and only reason was because we had found someone already and just paid for him. He was also very good and we were extremely happy with our wedding photos.

After seeing Thomas’s work I was impressed and asked him if he did family portraits shoots. I was eager to capture as many magical moments of my daughter growing up.

Our first session was when she was around four months old. Thomas delivered the goods. He was so natural with us. The best thing was he went with what our daughter decided she was going to do. I hear some of you say not much at four months. However, if I was to say that she was commando crawling at five and half months, crawling at 6, UP THE STAIRS, and walking with confidence at just before ten months you will, hopefully, understand what I mean.

The basketball had to be in a photo somewhere!

We have had four photo shoots with him and every time he manages to capture the best moments. 

He covers a wide range of photography from food to landscapes and I am always impressed with his work. His work appears in magazines, which I think is amazing.

He sets the scene  

The artist wedding photo

The wedding, the after party, then who knows!!! 

Magazine work

Can’t beat a bit of breakdance 

Or basketball

Landscape, one of my favourite places ever.

Would I recommend Thomas at TH Photography. The answer is YES, absolutely. He is always professional and makes you feel at ease. He goes with the the flow and unless you tell him what you would like to be captured. 

There is quite a famous quote which sums up what I am trying to say. “never work with children or animals” This doesn’t apply to Thomas. He goes with the flow.  My daughter is now three and has a stubborn side and is strong willed. In our last shoot, which took place this summer, he suggested ideas to her but if she didn’t want to try he did not push it. I was happy with this. At the beginning of the shoots she will play the game and give things a try but you can tell when she has had enough and losing interest. Thomas will recognise this and end the shoot.

He always advises to bring a bag of tricks, well toys, and thing she might like to play with to use as props. Once again if she wasn’t interested he wouldn’t push the matter.

My own little dinosaur 

I hope you will agree that his photography style captures the essence of those special moments in life and those that take your breath away. 

His artistic style is amazing. The breakdance photograph is brilliant 

I would like thank Thomas at TH Photography for capturing some amazing Covell family photos and some of the best photos of my daughter that I will look at with pride and joy.

After all it about making memories and cherishing those precious family moments that will live in your heart forever and take your breath away every time you look at them.

 

 

 

Teaching Antics: Michael Jordan

After playing basketball for 25 years this sport is like second nature to me, most of the time or so I would like to think!! Ha ha. 

This story could sum up the workings of students minds or maybe not!

I would like to set the scene by asking you to imagine a group of 20 plus girls, some who have never even picked up a Basketball let alone played it before. As well as the getting people mixed up. Being called mum instead of Miss has to be a good one. One of the best, I think is in this story. This will become more apparent as it develops.

All I can say is they are soooooo used to netball from their previous teacher. The art of leaping like stag to get the ball and showing the correct footwork was done with artistic flair. They had played so much netball!  A term used by some to describe said sport was”I hate f:#@ing netball”. It was time to try a different sport to engage them. 

Skills and drills were done through out the lesson to help develop their dribbling or bouncing of the ball as well as their shooting. “Miss how useful is that backboard?” “I know it’s great isn’t it!” “Why don’t they use one in netball?” my answer to that question would be answered with profanities that would cost me a lot of money in a swear jar!!! I like to play many sports and like playing netball a bit. I think its too rigid. You can’t go here or there if you play this position. The defending. Don’t get me started on that. You should be able to guard a player. I am sorry but in many sports contact is always going to happen! If the ball is shown to you take it off them! No not in netball. 

Towards the end of the lesson  I put the girls into a game. The netballness (if this is even a word) was very evident along with the lack of coordination to dribble the ball and move at the same time for some. The other area of the game they struggled with was the fact any player was allowed to shoot and go anywhere on the court.  This was one thing the students loved about the game. 

This comical moment has to be one of  my favourites in my 12 years of teaching. The confusion students can have astound me sometimes. 

The lesson ends and the girls were asked to put the basketballs away. 

One student decides to show off her dribbling skills with expertise comical timing. 

She was running around dribbling the ball and then decides to get my attention! How? I hear you ask. Does she fall over? Does she bounce the ball into her face? 

Well the answer- no. You could say she goes one better! 

As I watched her show off, dribbling the ball around she decides to shout ” Miss, Miss look at me I’m Michael Jackson” it confused me slightly for a few seconds. I was expecting her to stop dribbling the ball and break into the moonwalk or thriller dance! 

When this didn’t happen and she ran around, still dribbling the ball and kept shouting it. It was evident who she meant!

Michael Jackson for those who are unsure.

My one and only reponse was “don’t you mean Michael Jordan???” with a smile on my face.

Michael Jordan for those who are unsure. 

The biggest difference is one has had the number one selling album of all time to date and is known as the King of Pop. He is surely recognised by a few more people who may not be into their sport! The other is said to be one of the greatest basketball players in history!

Oh, the look of how embrassing and the laughter from herself and the group said it all. As for me, this made me smile, giggle and laugh for the whole day and most probably, even longer than that. I still recall this story with a smile and giggle. 

Could you imagine if I had also got who she meant wrong too! 

I mean really, how could anyone get these two famous celebrities mixed up? Honestly! Apparently it is quite easy!!!

In another lesson of basketball, years later, Michael Jordan also apparently resembled Dwanye ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Yeah, that famous wrestler with the tag line “smell what the rock is cooking” He is quite a famous wrestler apparently!!! Or maybe not. Face to palm moment. 

They don’t look anything alike! All three of them. I hear you saying how is that possible? Well in the inner workings of young people’s minds catches me out, still! 

This is why many teachers love our job. To see the look on students faces when they finally get what they have been taught. The look of achievement, confidence and feeling proud. Or the moment they think oh why did I do that??? 

After all it’s about making memories and cherishing the moments that make you smile, laugh, cry and feel human. 

Fitness Freak 

I love my sport and fitness. 

Before meeting my wonderful husband, who eventually joined in with my massive love of fitness even more, having a nasty injury and having my beautiful daughter my week pretty much consisted of: working as a pe teacher, before teaching got even more mental. That’s a different blog. Gym 4-5 times a week and basketball, my favourite sport.

 At a mere 5 ft 2, I am probably the SHORTEST player EVER for my age!! I have been playing for around 25 years!!! We will leave it at that!

The shortest player ever in the NBA was  Muggsy Bogues at 5 ft 3 or Spudd Webb, at a taller 5ft 7, who won a slam dunk contest in 1987!!!! If my memory serve me well. My age might have caused a memory issue!! 

At my peak of training, in my mid 20s, a good 2 hours was spent at the gym. Monday was weights before half hour spin and kettle bell class, Tuesday weights before an hours spin. Wednesday was weights followed by half hour spin then core stability with a bit of circuits. Thursday was basketball training or games depending on when in the season.  Saturday was spin for 45 mins followed by core for half an hour then usually, a hefty pt session with the best personal trainer I have experienced. I would not go to anyone else unless I had too. She also developed my love of spin. She was the best spin instructor I have ever experienced. There has only been one that came close second. I would love for this person  to train me again. She did for a bit but unfortunately work and life for us both made it more difficult. I am at a different gym now to the one she currently works in. 

I was at my peak. I could play a full basketball game and still have energy to play another. I loved that fact. 

Spin has to be one of my all time favourite classes. 

Good way of interval training. 

I love being a mummy but me time is needed too. As a family we are quite lucky that we can go to a David Lloyd gym. How can we afford that I hear you ask? My husband pays for it and the reasons we chose it was because  it was 15 mins down the road, our daughter could go into the crèche when she was younger and we can take her swimming. Rephrase that. I do. My husband doesn’t like it. Not a problem though as it’s time for my daughter and me. Now she is three she is able to go to their children activity sessions. Which is good for her as they are active sessions and she is getting used to going to the gym, which hopefully she will continue. Also, it is a  chance to develop her social skills and not be glued to mummy and daddy all the time. 

So what do I do or did do?

I like to train on my own and do my own thing. Sometimes I also have programmes set by the instructors and try to do some classes. Time is limited now so the more I can achieve in the time I have the better. 

Over the years I have really enjoyed a number of different classes.  Body Step, Body Attack, Spin, Circuits, Sh’bam, Body Balance,  Kettle Bells, Core Stability and currently Synergy also known as HITT Training and Les Mills GRIT.  

I have even done Insanity!!!!! 

I think you can see that I like the hard  sessions e.g. HITT, GRIT which is pretty similar and jumping around like a mad thing in Body Attack , as well fun ones like Sh’bam which is great dance aerobics.

Body Attack 

Sh’bam
 Also, some supposedly relaxing ones like Body Balance. This can also be quite challenging holding some of the moves. It’s a mixture of tai chi, yoga and pilates in one class. It’s brilliant. 

See what I mean about some of positions you have to try and hold!!!! 

I have just finished a course in pre and postnatal exercise programme design and this is an area I would like to explore and as well as finishing my circuit training course. 

I wish I had known half the things I knew now when I was pregnant with my daughter. My exercise regime would have been so much better and more effective. However, I was in pretty good shape after returning from injury and not in bad shape now three years later after having my daughter. 

The only thing I had to come to terms with is change in shape and the post natal tummy that I am working on even now.  However, to be fair my husband doesn’t have a problem with it and I am now more comfortable with my body. I am probably more healthly looking now between  9 and half stone and 10 than I was when I was training hard at 9 stone and not taking time to allow my body the rest and recovery it needed. I would say this is part of the reason for my horrible ankle injury. 

However,  I look back on my time as a fitness freak with pride as I got to meet a good friend who was the spin and pt instructor and without her knowledge I would not have had played my best basketball or attended her wedding which was simply stunning in everyway. Thank you. 

Some of our nights out were epic but those are for a different time and blog. 

After all it’s about making memories and cherishing every moment. Making friends, remembering the good times, the bad ones and mistakes to be learnt from but living life. 

Rub Smokehouse and Grill

Trying to decided where to take my husband for his birthday was quite difficult. We could have done the usual. A curry house or local restaurant but I wanted to do something a bit different. 
I need to explain the background of my husband a little. Not too much though! His uncle used to be a butcher so it seems to reason that my husband would never be a vegetarian.

He is addiment that his daughter will also never be one. Heaven help her if she choose to be. This is why he talks about where the meat she is eating actually comes from. To make sure this situation is avoided at all costs. 

I also need to point out that he likes his food and has tried a couple of eating challenges. To date a burger challenge, twice. Am I pleased he failed? Absolutely. He needs to be careful with what he eats!  

When Man vs Food was on the TV we used to watch it in amazement. How could one man eat like that? Adam Richmond we salute you.

It stands to reason that we had booked our honeymoon to New York  5 years ago. My husband spotted Katz Deli and while we in were in NYC we visited this place. Made famous by Man vs Food, and of course When Harry Met Sally. 

Katz Deli. The Reuben

The coke can is there to show the size of this. 

So, I thought Rub Steakhouse and Grill might be a good idea. Was I wrong or right?

The answer. I had booked a table to guarantee we had one. However, after phoning up to reconfirm they said they  didn’t have my reservation. Oops not a good start. I rebooked a table for two straight away. 

We arrived and were immediately seated for 7.30. The time I had booked. They  redeemed themselves quickly. However, the only downside to where we were sitting was the fact it was right next to the phone and booking areas. It was very busy for a Saturday night. The tables were on the small side too. I will explain that later. 

It was my husbands birthday so I said get what  you would like. That was mistake for two very big reasons. 

He orders a starter. Nachos. It wasn’t a starter it could have been a main meal! 

Underneath pulled pork. 

This photo does not so the size justice. I will say that it was good starter and we enjoyed eating them.  

I ordered one of their milkshakes.  This is what arrived! 

Chocolate mint milkshake 

This could have been a dessert!!! It was goooodddddd. 

Our main meal arrived and we both looked at each other with a look of what the??? 

The portion sizes were huge. 

I hope you can see why the tables were a little on the small side!! There wasn’t a lot of room to fit much else on the table including drinks. 

My pulled pork meal was lovely. Although a lot there. The bbq sauce the pork had been cooked in, for 15 hours was sweet and by the end of the meal it was a little too overpowering. Saying that I thought it was lovely, the fries were great and the slaw was amazing. 

My husband order a burger. What a surprise?? Not. 

This was the burnt ends burger. Again the photo doesn’t do the size justice. 

One of our dearest and closest friends pointed out that we were wusses for not finishing. Thanks hun. You know who you are. 

Did we managed dessert? 

The honest answer would have to be no. 

Would I recommend? Definitely a yes. Even if it’s too experience the place. Would I go back again? Yes, but with out the starter so I could try a dessert. I will say that the music may have been a little loud as we had to speak quite loudly to hear each other. Or I was just showing my age!!! 

Is it child friendly? We didn’t take our daughter. The grandparents kindly babysat for us but there were children there. It might have been good to take our daughter she could have shared the food!!!!

For what we had and including drinks the bill came to around sixty three pounds. The drinks included a Manhattan cocktail which my husband has a liking for, the milkshake, a lager and coke. 

After all life is about making memories and this was sure one of them. 

Teaching Antics: Tag Rugby

I want you to try and imagine teaching Tag Rugby to a group of thirty girls who have no idea about how to play it. The very idea of passing the ball backwards to go forwards!!!! What nonsense. Thank goodness no tackling!!!

Trying to teach the rules was also bad enough. The idea that once the player with the ball has their tag taken you are only allowed three extra steps before you have to pass the ball, BACKWARDS! The fact the defending player has to give the tag back to the player they has just taken it off from! UTTER NONSENSE!

tag-rugby

Well, this particular story leads to, what I think, is one of my funniest memories in teaching so far. In fact after twelve years of teaching it has to be in my top ten.

The student in this story  had a good level of ability in PE, especially Football. She had raw talent and could turn her hand to most sports and perform them well.

A number of skills and drills were taught to try and teach the ladies the rules and they way the game was played. Oh my, it was interesting. ” The ball isn’t round Miss”.  “Yes, it’s because it’s a Rugby ball. It’s a completely different shape. It’s oval” was my only response. “Why Miss?” asked another. Other than the fact that a football had been originally used and over time it changed it shape would bore my students. I decided to go with “because it is!!! Lets get on with the lesson”

It is game time! Where all they had learn from the lesson could be displayed. Or not!

Truth be told I wasn’t holding  much hope of having a game that looked like Rugby let alone Tag Rugby, but all the same I gave it ago.

I decided to introduce the rules one at a time to try and make it easier for the girls. What a mistake that was or was it?

The carnage that these games looked like were enough to hold your hands in your head. Many still couldn’t grasp the concept of passing the ball backwards to go forwards. The MOST important rule. The game time was spent stopping and reaffirming this vital rule. Students were calling the rule stupid. Why pass back to go forwards?

Now, the next part of the story could sum up how mental or funny teaching can be.

Remember the student who had raw talent in PE? Well, she was well known for causing some issues in classes. This lesson was no exception. She started testing the boundaries by challenging decisions I made when I was refereeing  her  game. She started to loose her temper, as she could do when things were not going her way.

I reminded her of the three step rule after her tag was taken. The rule explained earlier.

What happens next could have gone either way. It could have really made her flip out and loose the plot completely or for a number of students and myself, made the lesson one to remember.

Now remember I said the ball was oval.

In fit of rage the student starting swearing about the game, myself and the rules, even the other students. Things that really should never be repeated. EVER!!!!

She became so enraged that she threw the ball down with such force. Remember that   the ball is oval.

What do you think happens next? Did it just roll off in every direction as a rugby ball can do? Did it bounce higher than expected?

The answer to this story is told with a smile on my face as I recall this memory.

The student threw the ball down with such anger and strength that it bounced straight back up. Straight back up into her face and sent her flying! Yep you read it correctly. Full smack, bang in the face!

 

funny-rugby-moments1

very similar to this!

I would like to add at this point her fuse was coming to an end, to the point of an explosion. Much like a firework, without the colours! It was nearly time to duck.

I can hear you asking what happened next? Did she loose the plot even more? Did she break her nose? Did she come out of it alive?

The answer- no one including myself knew if it was OK to laugh. We didn’t know whether to check on her in fear of having heads ripped off. It lightened the mood of the lesson I am pleased to say. The student burst into laughter and all the tension was gone. This meant that the response from everyone was allowed. The students fell about laughing, I had a big grin on my face  and couldn’t stop the tears. Tears of laughter.

The student and the rest of the group, after a few minutes of pure laughter and tears, were able to regain their composure to get on with the rest of the lesson. By this point there wasn’t much left!!!

I would like to add that this student was always reminded of this story. When she started to loose her temper again in my lessons this was the in joke. I would ask her if she needed a rugby ball. This was usually enough to bring her back into line with behavior. You have to like the in jokes.

This has to be one of my funniest memories in teaching so far.

After all it is about making memories and cherishing those moments that make you laugh, cry, smile or maybe pull your hair out. At the time obviously.