Junior karter next Lewis Hamilton?

Friday, June 18th, 20102 Comments

phjunior karter

Age is no barrier to mini go-karter Rio Jones’s ambitions to chase down his hero Lewis Hamilton. The six-year-old from Hellesdon in Norfolk is already revving up to start a career in racing – the same age as the 2008 F1 World Champion when he started started kart racing.

Rio began go-karting in a small Bambino Honda kart that was specially restricted. His dad carpenter Jason Jones, 30, said: ‘Every week we gradually increased the power of the kart as Rio got faster.’ In only a few weeks, he reduced his lap time from one minute 53 seconds to just 38 seconds – only four seconds off the lap record for his local 500m-karting track in Cromer.

Rio has to wait until his seventh birthday before he can race competitively. He attends a racing cadet school at the Cromer track, where he is working towards achieving his racing licence, for which he has to be assessed on three different karting tracks by a qualified instructor.

junior on tracks

Jason said: ‘Everyone down at the track has been saying how good he is and how with that sort of talent he could go very far. He loves it and watches all the Grand Prix races when they are on.’
One to watch for the future, Rio is currently looking for sponsors to help support his racing career as a season’s racing – even for a seven-year-old – can cost as much as £10k. But the family are determined not to let money come in the way of Rio’s obvious talent and ambition.
Anyone who is interested in sponsoring Rio, should email eljaycarpenters@aol.com.

And if you are interested in getting your racing career off the ground, click here.

Extreme sport World Cup survival guide

Thursday, June 17th, 20101 Comment


Until the 2010 FIFA World Cup final on July 11, one half of the country will be pinned to the television while the other half prays for the end of the South African torture. So, how can each of these World Cup camps survive the next few weeks without fraying nerves and expanding waistlines? Adrenamag has come up with its own alternative World Cup survival guide.

1.World Cup Widow. He’s not interested in you anymore. He only loves men with small round balls. So if you can’t beat them join in. Book a day inside a large ball. Try zorbing and get in it together. Just make sure there’s not a big game on.

2.Coping with disappointment. However much you tell yourself it won’t, you know it’s going to happen. When the time comes and England’s World Cup journey plunges off a South African cliff, you will need an adrenalin pick- me-up bigger than Table Mountain. So get out there with your white water rafting, paragliding or zapcating. Click here

3.Stuck to the sofa. You’re so into it, you can’t move from the sofa. Don’t worry – there are activities where you can still sit down. Try karting or quad biking.

4.Hate football. You think Messi is what happens when you forget to use your napkin. Don’t even try to compete. Drift up into the air in a hot air balloon and leave it all behind. You won’t even hear the roars.

5.Trauma of penalties. You can’t look at the penalty shoot-outs. So try a real shoot out – where you have to look and you’re in control. Clay pigeon shooting or archery will train your nerves for the big shootouts.


6.World Cup widower. A rarer creature perhaps. But they do exist. Take her extreme horse riding. And put blinkers on her so she can’t see the football.

7.World Cup withdrawal. What happens when all those days in the pub watching football with friends are long gone? You need to come down gently. Book shared activities like paintball, karting or high ropes where you can laugh and play together. Like the old days.

8.Seeing red. Football has a way of upping the blood pressure. Remember David Beckham’s sending off in France 1998? Water is said to be calming for the nerves. Try kite surfing or kayaking.

9.Bored. Everyone can have enough of football – even if you love it. Remind yourself there are other things in life. Try off-road karting or driving a tank.

10.England win the World Cup beating Germany on penalties. You’re so high you parachute down without the plane even taking you up.

Tough sports build soft skills

Wednesday, June 16th, 20102 Comments

Military language is alive and well in organisations. CEO’s talk about ‘leading from the front,’ ‘the fight ahead,’ or ‘outflanking competitors.’ Marketing people refer to ‘the right strategy’, ‘targeting customers’ or ‘the battle for market share.’ In every office in the country, there’s someone ‘heading for cover’, ‘taking a bullet for the boss’ or ‘keeping their head down.’ Business and the military seem to be happy bedfellows. Is this why so many organisations use combat sports for team building activities? Or, paradoxically, is it that so called tough sports such as paintball or laser combat can be effective in building personal skills?

tom perters
In his new book, Tom Peters The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence. Tom Peters the US management guru has a phrase: ‘Hard is soft. Soft is hard.’ He believes it is the soft skills in management – not the Rambo macho stuff – that are the keys to career success. And these skills, such as empathy, communication and listening, are the hardest to master.

But what is surprising is that organisations turn to activities like paintball to deliver these skills.

Trevor Read, who’s been a paintball instructor for 20 years, isn’t surprised. He says: ‘It’s fascinating watching people work together trying to attack or defend against another team, very often it is the team who take the time to plan and work together that come out on top. The gung-ho types can go off in different directions and get picked-off.’
paintball military
Henry Jervis runs Jervis Homes, a property development business in the Cotswolds. ‘There’s no doubt paintball helps build team and leadership skills. In paintball, you often have tasks to do. Someone needs to take on the role of leader, organise a strategy and get people working together. This is often a good chance to give someone a leadership role who doesn’t normally get that chance,’ he says.
‘Reversing people’s roles can be a useful skills-building exercise. They may find themselves leading a team of people, who they normally work alongside or underneath. And, under the pressure of being fired at, they have to communicate clearly and precisely,’ adds Jervis.

Nigel Curtis is head of a marketing and communications agency in the Midlands; he’s a late convert to combat sports. ‘Creative people tend to view the ‘Rambo’ world of laser and paintball sports with a bit of sceptism,’ he says.
‘But I think it gives people the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills, where perhaps they were previously a bit reserved,’ Curtis adds. Jervis makes the point that, like business, combat sports are about learning to balance risk and reward. ‘You’re making critical judgements under pressure, those that make the best decisions win,’ he says.

laser combat

Curtis believes combat sports can ‘help to break down barriers’. He says: ‘People who are a bit reluctant at first – like me – enjoy the thrill of winning together as a team. I think it also gives people confidence in their skills. They discover they don’t have to be macho figures to outsmart another team. In the end, it’s a combination of head and heart that wins the day.’ Just like the commercial world, then.
10 soft skills combat sports can teach
1. Communicating under pressure. There’s no time for waffle when the paintballs are flying.
2. Building trust. Your life (paintball being that is) can depend on someone else.
3. One and one equal three. Demonstrating the power of the team over the individual can be
very powerful for some people.
4. Plan, act, reflect, and act. Learning to balance action and reflection are key management
skills. Running into enemy fire without a plan is likely to leave you with more paint on than
your skirting board.
5. Strategic thinking. Developing strategies together as team can be both frustrating and
rewarding. But you always learn something.
6. Winning is a habit. It’s amazing what winning does for team motivation.
7. Hidden leaders. Given the chance people surprise themselves, and others, with their
leadership skills.
8. Confidence. Demonstrating the power of people’s soft skills can be liberating.
9. Down and dirty. Back seat ‘ego’ leaders, who won’t get their hands dirty, don’t work in
paintball. Or organisations for that matter.
10. Risk and reward. Balancing risk is a key management judgement.

If, you want to organise a paintball team-building event for your team, or simply shoot them, click here.

Clay shooting world champion’s hot tips

Wednesday, June 16th, 20101 Comment

lesley Goddard

By her own admission, the GB shooting team selectors left Lesley Goddard with a ‘broken heart’ when, after winning a quota place in the team for the Beijing Olympics, the selectors surprisingly offered the place to younger rival, Charlotte Kerwood.

Lesley, who’s now in her early 50s, is clearly still emotional when she talks about that decision but, being the belligerent competitor she is, she fought back. In 2009, she won the English, British and World Universal Trench championships in a two-fingered salute to the GB selectors.
Lincolnshire Sports Partnership Awarded Lesley Goddard Lincolnshire Sport’s Personality of the Year in 2009.
It was the consistency of Lesley’s performance that has kept her at the top of her field for the last 16 years, despite once being told she would never make an international shooter. An individual silver and team medallist at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, and she was the only English woman to qualify for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games four years later. Now retired from international shooting, Lesley works as a sports psychologist helping top athletes aim high. Adrenamag fired the questions at her in an emotional ‘Adrenalin Junkie’ interview.

clay shotters

Lesley Goddard winning an Olympic Trap, silver team medal at the World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, June 2006. Team members Charlotte Kerwood (left) and Shona Marshall (right)

How did you get into shooting? My ex-husband used to shoot game and I come from a sporting family: my dad played cricket for Lincolnshire. But I really got into shooting when a friend, Joe Wheater who’s a bit of legend in the shooting world, decided to sell his gun shop and set up a shooting school. Just months after taking up the sport in 1990, I took part in selection shoots, achieving 2nd in the English open, and shooting in the England Ladies DTL team, in Ashbourne, Ireland.

Who’s your sporting hero? Steve Redgrave – he’s got the guts and the determination that is needed to succeed in international sport.

What’s the biggest thrill you’ve had in sport? Standing on the podium as world champion. (Lesley answers with a quiver of emotion in her voice, which she apologises for. ‘Sorry it means so much to me, but if it doesn’t you won’t succeed at the top level in this sport.’)

And the biggest set back? Not gaining a place on the GB Olympic team for Beijing. It was my lifetime’s ambition and I feel someone else took that opportunity away when I had earned my place on the team. I feel I was psychologically ready to perform in the Olympics and feel sure I would have been in the top six and probably on the podium. I can’t pretend it still doesn’t hurt.

Are there any advantages or disadvantages to being a woman in sport? Men can sometimes be more focused than women when it comes to shooting. But there’s no reason why a woman can’t be as good a shot as a man. The top women prove this all the time.

What are your five tips to people to improve a person’s shooting? Go to a good coach. This can put you onto the right path and make a massive difference. Shoot with the right gun – your coach will help you with this. It’s like choosing a pair of shoes; you’ll struggle to walk if they are too big. I see so many people shooting with guns where they can’t see the down the barrel.

Start with small cartridges. If you begin shooting with cartridges that are too big, your shoulder is likely to hurt and you won’t come back. Learn how to handle a gun, and then increase the size of the cartridges and the gun.

Enjoy yourself. Don’t get obsessed with the score. And if you do have a bad day, remember that doesn’t make you a bad shot. Everyone has bad days. Even the best.

The gun needs to be held gently, not like a like an iron bar. Don’t be frightened of it and be relaxed but firm – again easier if you have the right-sized gun.

How much does it cost to be a top shooter? In the year before the Olympic games in Beijing I spent about £13,000. It’s a big commitment both financially and emotionally. Very different to recreational shooting.

If someone has never shot before, what would you advise to get the most out of a day’s shooting? Just have a go. There’s no more instant thrill than pulling the trigger and seeing the clay break into pieces. The competition is between you and the clay. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. And the great thing about this sport is you can stand next to a world champion like me – and hit the target just the same.

Tell us about your approach to sports psychology? I work with competitors in a range of sports such as sailing, darts, roller-skating, shooting and motor racing. People don’t normally come to a sports psychologist unless the wheels have come off in some way. So my job is to remind them how good they are. I use hypnosis. When I shot competitively, I put myself in a hypnotic state – to be totally focussed on the target. My philosophy in sport – and life – is people don’t really succeed unless they truly believe in themselves. I like to keep quotes in a book, and I remember writing in my book in 2006, ‘now I truly believe in myself’. It was a breakthrough moment for me.

If you want to get your hands on a gun and start putting Lesley’s tips into practice, click here.

And, if you’re interested in sports psychology, you can contact Lesley via email: lesleygoddard@hotmail.co.uk

Turning Russell Crowe into an archery hot shot

Monday, June 14th, 20101 Comment


Steve Ralph is the man who taught Robin Hood to shoot an arrow. Quite a claim to fame. The production company making the new Robin Hood film needed a professional to turn the star Russell Crowe into a credible bowman, so they turned to Steve Ralph.

It’s not the first time, he’s taught stars how to loose an arrow. (Steve says this is the correct term – ‘guns are fired, arrows are loosened and shot’.) Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Dame Judi Dench, Ray Winstone and Clive Owen have all been his archery pupils.

Ironically, it was Robin Hood who inspired Steve, 55, to pick up a bow. ‘There’s a family tradition of making bows but it was my father reading me Robin Hood books that fired my imagination,’ he says. Steve describes his job as a bowyer – the ancient art of making bows. And he’s been making bows for film and stage for over 25 years.

Steve spent two weeks in Australia – the only continent not to have the bow and arrow – teaching Russell Crowe to be an authentic Robin Hood and he was impressed with the star’s commitment. ‘He’s a very competitive guy who’s sport mad. If he had to fire 1,000 arrows a day to get it right, he would. And that kind of attitude is rare,’ says Steve. In fact, Steve says Russell Crow is so taken with archery that he asked him to make bows for his children. ‘He’s now a very good shot,’ says Steve.

All of which is a far cry from Kevin Costner’s early 1990’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which Steve left in a hurry after making a number of bows for the production. ‘I walked out because it was terrible. Little John says, “Robin of Loxley, you’ve got balls of solid rock.” I said to my wife “we’re out of here”.’

For Steve, the image of the precious Hollywood star is a myth. ‘I have found all the actors I have worked with to be very professional and keen to learn. Dame Judi Dench is a natural archer because, like a lot of women, she listens,’ he says.

And his favourite Robin Hood? ‘I grew up with Richard Todd and Richard Greene but I can honestly say Russell Crowe, because he’s my Robin Hood,’ says Steve.

For people who want to try the ancient art of the longbow, Steve believes modern target archery is a good place to start (click here).

If you wish to learn more about the longbow, try the English Field Archery Association or the National Field Archery Society

And when you get as good as Russell Crowe and want your own bow, Steve will make you your own longbow https://www.steveralphs.com/.