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 Provision is specifically designed to enhance the facilities and coaching already available in the core sports of Cricket, Hockey, Swimming (both genders for all sports), Netball and Rugby. The programme offers 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 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.
Additionally, a mentoring system provides tailored advice including nutrition and diet, specific to the individual and their performance requirements. There are also a number of seminars for Scholars throughout the year touching on the other area required to be an elite athlete including sport psychology, time management and goal setting.
Benefiting from around 100 acres of sports fields our Head Groundsman was recognised by the MCC in 2014 for his outstanding work in maintaining our pitches and sports fields.
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 hence matches are played on Saturday afternoons in term time with training taking place throughout the week.
Cricket is a very popular core sport in the Summer term, with coaching sessions in the College 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.
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.
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 up to four afternoons a week on our two full size, flood-lit astro pitches. 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 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 NAGS and HiPAC.
Netball is a core sport for girls in the Spring term with additional coaching sessions taking place in the prior Autumn term. Strength and conditioning training is available throughout the academic year.
Netball benefits from a brand new, state-of-the-art all weather, floodlit court in addition to the existing 5 all-weather courts. Our experienced and passionate netball coaches, work with College teams and individual players towards selection for the England Player Pathway with continued success.
Netball continues to be a popular sport that gathers strength and success at Bishop’s Stortford College, helped by a strong local fixture list and regular play across Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and beyond.
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 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.
Most years a number of pupils achieve representative honours including selection to Saracens Development Player Pathway (DPP) and Elite Development Player Group (EDPG), Regional and National squads. Many pupils continue playing club/university rugby beyond school, although a number do 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 recognize the importance of balancing both training and academic studies without compromising either. To this end, we try to fit morning training, the school day and evening training into a schedule that does not begin too early or end too late. 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. We have an Elite Performance coach with huge knowledge, experience and expertise from club right up to international level which benefits our swimmers competing in County, Regional, National and International competitions, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
College pupil Elinah Phillip represented the British Virgin Islands in the Women's 50m Freestyle at the Rio Olympic Games 2016. Amarah, Elinah's older sister, has made a lovely video documenting Elinah's Olympic journey, which you can watch here: