08 Park & Urban Sport – Part 1

How can physical activity get more people exercising in parks and urban areas?

In this two-part episode I talk to experts about urban sport and park recreation, and discuss how they’ve grown phenomenally in recent years, such as through the growth of Parkrun, military style bootcamps, and new facilities for the public such as outdoor gyms and skateparks.

In part one, I talked to Born Barikor, CEO of Our Parks, and found out-

  • How have Our Parks managed to get inactive people to exercise in parks?
  • Why do they see parks becoming the equivalent of high end gyms?
  • How have used technology to bring people together?

For full shownotes and links from the episode, please visit www.sportsinsiderpodcast.com

08 Park & Urban Sport – Part 1 Shownotes

Show Notes:

  • I talk to Steve about the phenomenal success of Parkrun and the growth of skateboarding and parkour. We discuss how creative facilities and free and accessible exercise choices can get more people active [1:45]
  • Born Barikor explains what inspired Our Parks and how they’ve succeeded in getting inactive people to exercise in parks across London and beyond [18:35]
  • Born explains how the organisation demonstrates its impact and has adapted to the needs of its participants [27:26]
  • We discuss the future of park and urban sport [38:46]

Significant quotes:

“Parkrun is something you want to be part of… it’s community based, family oriented. There’s a group of people doing the same thing, it’s free, anyone can get involved in it, it’s very inclusive and open… there’s lots more things like that available to people so they don’t need to pay for a gym membership.” [2:00]

“In London you’re never more than a mile away from a park. If inactive people are first going to walk or run around a park, we can make it more accessible when they get there, be it a yoga or boxfit class. For some reason when we’re in a park we talk; when we’re in a gym or an indoor exercise class, we don’t talk to the people around us.” [20:30]

“The idea was that if we can make it not fundamentally about the exercise, but the fact that [people] are in their local park, in familiar surroundings, and that they are meeting their community, we could inspire more inactive people to become active.” [21:03]

“Getting the right organisations that can deliver in outdoor spaces, that aren’t focussed on making money, that are focussed on getting as many people active as possible and aren’t focussed on “X” amount of profit. Whatever the brand, it has to resonate with the community and they have to feel part of the culture.” [39:50]

Links Mentioned:

  • World Urban Games LA 2019 – gaisf.sport/gaisf-launches-inaugural-world-urban-games-host-city-selection-process
  • Parkrun – www.parkrun.com
  • Beat the Street – www.beatthestreet.me/UserPortal/Default
  • Strava – www.strava.com
  • Tchookball – www.tchoukball.org.uk
  • Our Parks – www.ourparks.org.uk
  • Open Sessions – Get Active London
  • Good Gym – www.goodgym.org
  • Playstreets -www.londonplay.org.uk/content/30290/our_work/recent_work/play_streets/play_streets

Series 2 is here on 11th March!

A new series of the podcast is out next week!

In Series 2 we look the growth of sport in parks and urban areas, how sport can take a lead on sustainability and social inclusion, and plans to get more women and girls active. We also speak to professionals and athletes in Football and Martial Arts in two standalone episodes. 

In the two-part first episode we talk to Our Parks, Last Man Stands and UK Wallball about their exciting success in growing sport in parks and urban areas.

Get in touch with the show at @podcastinsider on Twitter and https://www.facebook.com/PodcastInsider/ 

07 Young Leaders in Cricket

In this episode we discuss the Young Leaders in Cricket Programme, a fantastic scheme that provides youngsters with the leadership skills and confidence to volunteer within their cricket clubs, schools and in their future lives. The programme has been running since 2010 and has rapidly grown across the South East and has ambitions to develop nationally.

To find out more, I attended the Awards evening, hosted at Lord’s on 8th October, which featured great stories from the youngsters that have taken part this year. I also talked to Chris Whitaker, the vice Chairman of Cricket Leaders, and Chris Rowley, Regional Youth Participation Executive about the achievements of the Young Leaders programme so far, the importance of volunteering in sport and their future plans.

Show Notes:

  • Chris Whitaker discusses the aims and achievements of Young Leaders in Cricket [1:34]
  • Fundraising stories from Beth’s Grammar School and Chesham CC [7:08]
  • Chris Rowley explains how supporting young volunteers is a key emphasis across cricket [9:58]
  • Chris Whitaker talks about volunteering in society and future plans for the programme [14:27]

Key quotes:

“It’s about giving young people life skills, the opportunity to use those skills within the cricket environment and schools, and giving them an idea about volunteering and why it’s important” Chris Whitaker [2:02]

“One of us organised a second-hand sale that raised £200, we organised a football event for England v Belgium, and we worked together on a raffle” Chesham CC [8:22]

“When I was a young person, I looked at sports coaching as a way of broadening my own horizons as well as improving other people. It helped me get into university, much more depth to my CV, being a bit more critical about myself and what my strengths and weaknesses are.” Chris Rowley [11:49]

Links Mentioned:

Young Leaders in Cricket – https://cricketleaders.clubpay.co.uk/

Andy Littlechild – Programme Leader – andy@cricketleaders.org.uk

06 Kaan Hawes on Boxing

We talk to unbeaten professional boxer Kaan Hawes about his journey in the sport, starting out watching fights on the tv, turning amateur and his recent decision to turn pro. We find out how what motivates him as he prepares for a fight, the challenges he’s had to overcome, and his greatest nights in the ring.

Kaan also tells us which boxers have inspired him, his favourite contests and the fights that we should look out for in the coming months.

His next fight is on the 21st September at the Brentwood Centre on the MTK Bill.

Show Notes:

  • Kaan’s journey in boxing [0:30]
  • Favourite boxers, fights and what to look out for in the coming months [12:17]

Significant quotes:

“I was playing football at Witham FC, and I had a slight tear in my knee and was out for three months… so just before pre-season I thought I’d get back in shape… in the gym there was a guy running a boxercise class who said “jump in”, so I thought I’d try it… six weeks later I had a white collar fight” [2:24]

“A world title for me would be a Southern Area title… I’d love that – it would be my everything… but we take it in six-month periods and look where it goes” [5:10]

“I’m looking forward to the Whyte Parker rematch… I’d love to see a Joshua Whyte rematch, that’d be brilliant for British boxing, selling out somewhere like Wembley with two British heavyweights, genuine world title contenders, that’d be massive” [18:42]

05 Adam Knott on Goalball

We discuss competing as a Paralympic athlete in the London 2012 Paralympic games, working professionally and volunteering in the disability sports sector, and find out how disabled sport has developed in recent years in sports such as Goalball, Table Tennis and Football.

This episode is guest hosted by Steve McFadyen, who’s worked in disability sport development roles for Table Tennis England and the FA, and is the Special Olympics Table Tennis Coach. We’re also joined by Alex Bunney, who works as London Development Officer and Men’s Assistant Coach for Goalball UK.

We then discuss the highlights and challenges of competing as a Paralympic Athlete at London 2012 with Adam Knott, who competed for Great Britain in Goalball and now coaches at Winchester Goalball club.

Show Notes:

  • Steve & Alex’s backgrounds working professionally in disability sport [0:39]
  • Alex talks about developing and coaching Goalball [9:46]
  • Steve’s exciting role as Special Olympics Table Tennis Coach for the Abu Dhabi World Games in 2019 [22:44]
  • Adam discusses his experiences competing at the London 2012 Paralympics and coaching Winchester Goalball club [28:56]

Key quotes:

“For me the best thing is that you see the impact of [working in disability sport], whereas in mainstream sport you often get negatives around it. It’s not easy to get things right but when you get a group of people together that might struggle to access sport but you find something that works and they go every week and love it – sport can be really powerful in that way and change people’s lives” [3:33]

“We’ve got a mantra at the minute; if we make someone aware of Goalball and give them an accessible opportunity, we can make them engage in regular physical activity… forget GB squads, if we make it accessible they will have a good time in the same way that non-disabled participants will, meeting new people, creating social interaction, that all sports can achieve.” (19:45)

“Goalball is still a small sport, it’s growing rapidly but usually you’d play in front of family and friends. At the Paralympics we played in front of 7500 people cheering the GB team, which was a surreal experience. On top of that we had the parade through the streets of London in front of millions of people, with many holding up signs that we couldn’t see!” [30:40]

Links Mentioned:

Goalball UK – http://www.goalballuk.com/

Winchester Goalball Club – https://winchestergoalball.com/

Special Olympics – https://www.specialolympics.org/

Steve’s Special Olympics Table Tennis Blog – https://sogbtabletennis890725420.wordpress.com/

04 Duncan McFadyen on Football Since The 80s

In this episode, guest hosted by Steve McFadyen, we talk to his father Duncan about the highlights of his career as a semi-pro footballer in the 1980s, which featured an FA Vase win at Wembley in 1988.

We discuss how the sport has changed since his days competing, including how the game is played, development of stadia, and how the sport has become an enormous global business in recent decades – and debate whether these changes have improved football, or been to its detriment.

Show Notes:

  • Playing and watching football in the 80s [2:03]
  • How stadia have changed [6:26]
  • Football as a business [13:11]

Significant quotes:

“Part of the joy of winning a trophy at Wembley was going up those famous steps, collecting the trophy from Geoff Hurst… whereas on the tour [in the new Wembley] the steps go around the back and back out, and take away that moment” [12:28]

“I got my energy through putting carbs in my body… just eating pie and chips. There was no nutrition whatsoever. We’d won the league by 25 points and our striker who scored 35 goals that season’s pre-match meal was fish and chips” [21:05]

“I feel the quality of football in non-league now is better than conference level in the 80s, because you have the knock-on effect of foreign players in the league meaning good footballers are playing at a lower level then they might in the past” [24:00]

Out of context quote

“Technically I’m better – because I cost more” [15:15]

Links Mentioned:

Juan Mata Foundation – Common Goal – https://www.common-goal.org/

FA Facilities Grants – http://www.thefa.com/get-involved/player/facilities/funding

03 Craig Bryant on Table Tennis

We discuss playing and coaching Table Tennis professionally with Craig Bryant, who has competed in national and international tournaments and played professionally in Belgium. He’s also worked professionally in the sport in coaching and development. Craig has set up the very successful coaching business, Top Edge Table Tennis.

We find out the highlights and challenges of Craig’s career at the top of a sport, how he’s built a successful coaching brand, and where he thinks that the sport could develop in the future.

Show Notes:

  • The highlights and challenges of being a professional coach [0:58]
  • Playing as a professional in the UK and abroad [8:00]
  • The future of table tennis and how it may develop [13:12]

Significant quotes:

“I don’t necessarily structure everything I do. When I have someone new on the table, we have a play around and understand where they can make improvements… an important skill for a coach is to make training specific to people you’re working with and having variety to your work” [5:20]

“When I was 18 I was selected to play at the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 2004… I wasn’t quite the level to get into the team, but I had the opportunity to go, I took it with both hands and it was an incredible experience to play on a big stage and come away with a silver medal in the team championships” [8:55]

“The biggest change I’d like to see [in the sport] is how the sport is delivered on television… when you see a tournament with 4 or 8 matches on it’s fine to watch… on television it’s often one table in a large arena and you can’t see the crowd, and the atmosphere gets lost. I’d like to see a Crucible type atmosphere with the crowd close to the action” [18:13]

Links Mentioned:


Top Edge Table Tennis – https://www.topedgetabletennis.co.uk/

Table Tennis England – https://tabletennisengland.co.uk/

Ping Pong World Championships – http://www.worldchampionshipofpingpong.net/

Bounce Wonderball Tables – https://www.bouncepingpong.com/wonderball/

ITTF – https://www.ittf.com/

T2 Competition – https://t2apac.com/

02 Andy James on The Future of Sport

In this episode, featuring guest host Steve McFadyen, we discuss the future of sport with Andy James, a former urban designer that works in the sports industry.

There are a number of changes taking place in sport that are radically changing how its future may look. These include –

  • Shorter, more accessible sports formats
  • The rapid growth of E-Sports and VR
  • “Gamification” of sports
  • New technology

We debate how these new developments might affect sport, what challenges they might face, and predict how the future could look for the industry.

Show Notes:

  • Shorter formats in sport [0:48]
  • The growth of E-Sports and VR [8:57]
  • Gamification of sport [18:10]
  • New technology [24:58]

Significant quotes:

“I think T20 cricket has grabbed something that worked, fits around people’s normal routines, and has been marketed as a spectacle with top players taking part in it… other sports are considering promoting short formats from the top-down, but they’re not necessarily bubbling up from the grass-roots” [1:10]

“Virtual reality is exciting – I can imagine in 20 years having the VR mask on in the garden, and you could be playing squash against someone on the other side of the world… you still do the movements and wouldn’t have to pay for a leisure facility” [11:09]

“How far back can you go back to review decisions? By digging into it further you look for an extra layer of perfection… a lot of the excitement in sport is that mistakes are made, creating drama and opportunities for other teams to take part in” [15:54]

“Where sport and technology are crashing together… there’s all sorts of possibilities. The crucial component to it is that you can play a game in isolation, whereas apps and platforms create added meaning and context such as comparing your cycling times with your mates or looking at Parkrun statistics” [18:57]

Best Out of context quote

“You can’t see him here on the podcast but he is crying at the moment” [24:35]

Links Mentioned:

Guardian Sport 2.0 – The Future of Sport – https://www.theguardian.com/sport/series/sport-2-0

Strava – www.strava.com

London Sport Tech Hub – http://www.sporttechhub.co.uk/

01 James Timmis on Ironman

We talked to James Timmis about competing at a high level in Marathons, Triathlons and Ironmans. To put them in perspective, Ironmans consist of swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and the running a full 26-mile marathon – so why would you want to take part?

Not only does James need to train extremely hard to compete in these tough events, he’s also had to cope with having Coeliac Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. These conditions make training and competing far more difficult, and we found out how he’s been able to deal with them and continue to perform well.

Show Notes:

  • What motivates James to take part in Ironmans? [2:07]
  • What training is needed to take part in an Ironman? [3:24]
  • What are Coeliac Disease and Ulcerative Colitis – and how has James coped with them? [7:19]
  • The hardest events that James has taken part in [9:53]
  • What future events is he taking part in? [13:17]

Significant quotes:

“The training experience is lonely. I try and do as much as I can with clubs, especially on the bike where it’s nice to be out with people when you’re doing 60-70 mile rides” [6:24]

“I’ve got to be a lot more prepared generally… I need to know what I’ll be eating during the ride. Gluten free stuff is on trend – a few years ago you didn’t stand a chance. Often when doing an event I’ll need to give them my own bars” [8:12]

“I’m always thinking why am I doing this… and trying to scratch around for reasons. I really enjoy the training aspect and having the races there as a goal is motivating. I enjoy being fit and healthy especially with my conditions, and overcoming those.” [11:18]

Best Out of Context quote:

5:10 “There’s lots of kicking each other in the face… it’s all about survival. There’s a risk of someone’s foot in my mouth”.

Links Mentioned:

  • Ironmans – www.ironman.com