Elite Sports Programme
Bishop’s Stortford College is passionate about sports and, together with academic success, value it highly. The College offers all-round support to allow pupils to fulfil their academic potential as well as fully supporting our Sports Scholars and talented sportsmen and women to achieve their sporting goals. We balance the needs of the individual’s academic studies, where our expectations are still high, by adapting their timetable if the need arises. This means that our Elite athletes can optimise training and practise time within College, without detriment to their schooling.
Our Elite Sports Programme is specifically designed to enhance the facilities and coaching already available in the core sports of Cricket, Hockey, Swimming, Tennis (both genders for all sports), Netball and Rugby. The programme offers off-season training opportunities outside the main term for each sport, with the emphasis being on individual skill development, as well as master classes and training sessions from professionals and internationals, all of which have a huge impact on our scholars.
Strength and conditioning is a fundamental part of the Elite Sport Programme and our athletes receive regular supervised training and an S&C programme designed to support each individual in their chosen sport. The S&C programme is delivered by qualified professionals using high quality equipment in our state-of-the-art fitness centre. Sessions focus on strength, power, speed, agility and endurance and our team of coaches regularly meet with athletes to focus on their individual needs.
Additionally, a mentoring system provides tailored advice specific to the individual and their performance requirements. Scholars meet regularly throughout the year with their mentor to monitor progress and review goals. There are also numerous seminars for Scholars throughout the year touching on the other areas required to be an elite athlete including sports psychology, time management, goal setting and nutrition and diet.
Benefiting from over 100 acres of well-maintained sports fields, including rugby pitches for each team, we have recently invested in a new floodlit MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) and 14 new cricket nets which supplement the existing two floodlit Astroturf pitches, 9 netball/tennis courts, sports hall, well-equipped gym and 25m indoor swimming pool.
The College enjoys a full and challenging match schedule which features some of the best-known opposition in the region. We believe a competitive fixture list is fundamental to the continuous progression and improvement of our players. Matches are played on Saturday afternoons in term time with training taking place throughout the week.
Cricket is one of the main core sports in the Summer term for boys and girls, with coaching sessions taking place in the Sports Hall throughout the year. During the Autumn and Spring terms there are two net practices and one strength and conditioning session each week. Term-time fixtures are played against local and regional school opponents, with our 1st XI square also used by Hertfordshire CCC. We are a MCC Hub school and have also been named as a Top 100 School for cricket by The Cricketer magazine.
The annual 1st XI fixture against MCC is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, with recent College success including two awards for outstanding performance, presented during Test matches at Lord’s. Our leading cricketers are invited to take part in pre-season tours both domestically and overseas, with Eastbourne and Cape Town as the current respective destinations. Our boys and girls have represented Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk at a variety of age-group levels, with many playing for local Hertfordshire Premier Division clubs. We also enjoy close links with Bishop's Stortford Cricket Club. In 2019, two members of the 1st XI were named in the Wisden Cricket Almanack.
Hockey is a core sport for girls in the Autumn term and for boys in the Spring. Both boys and girls benefit from additional coaching and skills development provided throughout the academic year. Hockey training takes place on our two full size, flood-lit Astroturf pitches and indoors in the Sports Hall. Our hockey coaches have a wealth of experience and expertise up to National level and have achieved success in leading teams to National finals, both indoors and outside, on a regular basis.
Fixtures, both indoors and outdoors, are played against other strong hockey playing schools. Pupils are supported and encouraged where possible, to participate in club hockey for teams including Southgate, Old Loughtonians, Cambridge City and Bishop’s Stortford.
Pupils have been selected to participate in the England Hockey Single System Player Pathway, playing representative hockey at every level up to and including Regional Performance Centre, Futures Cup and National Age Groups Squad.
Netball is a core sport for girls in the Spring term with additional elite and pre-season coaching sessions taking place in the prior Autumn term.
The programme benefits from ten outdoor Netball courts, 5 of which are floodlit, and our full-size Sports Hall provides extensive additional indoor training facilities. Our experienced and passionate netball coaches, work with College teams and individual players towards selection for the England Player Pathway with continued success.
There is a strong local fixture list and teams regularly play across Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and East Anglia in weekly matches. We also have close links with Mavericks, London Pulse and local clubs including Tegate, Cross Keys, Turnford and Hornets.
There is a strong culture of Rugby at the College. All age groups play fixtures with multiple teams fielded during the Autumn Term. Alongside a competitive fixture list we enter the County and National Cups for U18, U15 and U14s, with considerable success. During the Spring Term boys also play rugby 7s, competing in regional and national competitions.
Alongside our Strength and Conditioning programme, the College works closely with those involved with the RFU Academy structure and the representative pathway to underpin our continued success. We are a partnership school with current Premiership and European champions, Saracens. The College brings in current and ex professional players to facilitate skills development and mentoring sessions.
Pupils regularly achieve representative honours including selection to Saracens Development Player Pathway (DPP) and Elite Development Player Group (EDPG) and Regional squads. Many pupils continue playing club/university rugby beyond school and a number go on to play in the National Leagues or at professional level.
Swimming is a core sport for girls and boys during the entire academic year.
At Bishop’s Stortford College we recognise the importance of balancing both training and academic studies without compromising either. Training times have been adapted to maximise pool time but minimise disruption to pupils in terms of late nights or early mornings. By combining training at school and at the individual’s own club, we help to build a timetable that is manageable, whilst including adequate rest and recovery time.
We also aim to assist our Elite swimmers develop essential skills outside the pool such as effective time management, dedication and goal setting; all vitally important to the swimming athlete. Our Elite Swimming Programme links closely with the Bishop's Stortford Swimming Club; their Head Coach also leads the College programme and many of our elite swimmers are also members of the club. As well as working close with our elite swimmers' own club coaches to balance their training needs, our Head Coach brings vast knowledge, experience and expertise from club standard to international level. This benefits our swimmers competing in County, Regional, National and International competitions, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Former College pupil, Elinah Phillip (BH, 15-18), represented the British Virgin Islands in the Women's 50m Freestyle at the Rio Olympic Games 2016.
Tennis is a major individual and team sport for girls and boys during the Summer term. Newly included into the Elite Sports Programme, we provide year-round coaching and hitting sessions together with player analysis and skills development, strength and conditioning, sports psychology and masterclasses.
Our Head of Tennis is a LTA Licensed Level 4 Senior Club Coach and former U18 County Coach. We have excellent links with Bishop’s Stortford Lawn Tennis Club (LTC) and Sawbridgeworth LTC, including a LTA Licensed Level 4 Performance Coach/Herts County Coach assisting alongside other LTA qualified coaches in the delivery of the Tennis programme.
Players enjoy a wide range of fixtures in the Summer term as well as local, regional and national competitions.