If you would like to receive blog updates, subscribe via e-mail or alternatively follow us on twitter or facebook.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Virgin London Marathan Results

Following last week’s ENS blog James Clayton told us he completed the marathon in 5 hours 40 mins and 38 seconds. He raised over £2000 for Vision Aid Overseas – well done James, great work!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Virgin London Marathon - It's a Long Journey

The ENS blog has provided many tips and thoughts from professional sportsmen recently but with the Virgin London Marathon happening this weekend, we thought we would ask an inexperienced runner about his race prep. James Clayton, brother of Rachel, one of our Account Managers, gave us an insight into the last 6 months…

“Like the other 40,000 people who signed up to do the race, you have visions of crossing the line with an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction but a huge amount of unavoidable work is needed to even come close to that point.

It would be foolish to run the marathon without a good six months of training behind you meaning the majority of your training is completed over the winter. The dark and cold really can dampen any initial enthusiasm - it takes a huge amount of will power to wake up especially early in December in order to do a 5 mile run before work. The alternative is to go after work in the same conditions; some would say it’s the lesser of two evils but I’m not sure which one that is.

With the arrival of the New Year I thought things would get easier; I envisaged a morning run with the sun rising or an evening run with the sun setting reigniting my enthusiasm but that joy was nullified by the realization that I had to start increasing the number of miles I was running and fast.

As I began to increase my distances above five miles my body inevitably started to hurt. I was constantly exhausted and as the race drew nearer, it was simply a case of ticking off the days. I don’t think I realized just how time consuming it would be and how much it would affect my life. It is not just the time spent running, my whole social life was dictated by training, diet, alcohol consumption and the knowledge that I had to be up early the next morning to go running. On top of which I had to take into account the time required for stretching and post-run nutrition, if I neglected these things, I (and my physio) knew that my body would pay the price.

The main thing that I have learned is not to underestimate how damn hard it is. Eating correctly, keeping well hydrated and stretching helps enormously and investing in a good pair of running shoes is not negotiable. Do it, your feet, ankles and knees will be forever grateful. The other tip I was given and would pass on is to run every run as if it is the real thing, it is pointless to waste a session by not giving it your best. Finally, when you reach February in your training schedule run in the morning – the race begins early so get your body used to being at its optimum at this time.

There have been many occasions when I have queried the decision to run. I am going to the Manchester FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley on Saturday. As an avid City supporter I am desperate for them to make the final and if they do, my friends and family will be toasting a first Cup Final appearance since 1981 whilst I go home and prepare for the race.

The promise of the sense of achievement has kept me going although the ‘fringe benefits’ are that my fitness, health and wellbeing has improved. I suppose the question everyone, including myself, wants to know the answer to is ‘was it worth it?’ I will let you know on Sunday evening!”

James is running on behalf of Vision Aid Overseas (www.vao.org.uk) who send professional volunteers to the poorest countries in the world and help bring sight to some of the millions of people who are affected by poor vision. To sponsor James visit his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/James-Clayton-Marathon

Friday, 8 April 2011

ENSO Behind the scenes at London Irish

<a href="http://www.linkedtube.com/1A-Zym5SCfYf9f9b58806b60d7529eb9ab31c9ae7d4.htm">LinkedTube</a>

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Training Tips From Sports Stars

Here at ENS, we know that preparation and attention to detail are crucial to success both on and off the pitch, so we decided to ask our world-class clients for their best training tips. These individuals have competed and succeeded at the very highest level so it is certainly worth heeding their advice. We have also added our own tips to the list - take them or leave them!

Martin Bayfield:

If you feel that a particular part of your body is underdeveloped relative to the rest of your body, make a point of covering up everything but that particular part when looking in the mirror. That way you will focus only on the areas for improvement.

Ben Kay:
Make sure you get your breakfast right, it should be high in protein. Many people don’t know that, as far as most cereals are concerned, eating them is as about as good for you as eating the box they come in.

Pete Richards:
Train the way you play. Stick to the stuff that you would do in a game and attempt to simulate that intensity in training sessions.

Geordan Murphy:
Don’t neglect the importance of your recovery. Get your recovery shakes in quickly, making sure they are a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Carbohydrates quickly replace your energy stores and protein supports muscle growth.

Ieuan Evans:
I used to do a lot of plyometrics – things like bounding, hopping and two-footed hurdle jumps. They are great for increasing your top running speed which was very important for me playing on the wing.

Rob Henderson:
If training starts at 9, don’t sprint through the gym doors or onto the field at the last minute. Instead arrive in plenty of time to do your own pre session prep so that you can utilize session time more efficiently.

Rebecca Hopkins:
Know how and when to stretch. Do dynamic stretches after you are properly warmed up (that way you will stay warm) and spend at least 10 minutes doing static stretches properly at the end of your intense training. Your body will look better and hurt less!

Steve Munford:
Get plenty of rest, at least 8 hours a night, and don’t over train. Rest is just as important to your fitness circuit as the sessions themselves. An increase in stress hormones caused by lack of sleep can be detrimental to muscle growth and fat loss. Also, avoid heavy contact with your nose.

Rachel Clayton:
Train first thing in the morning so that you have less time to talk yourself out of it. I find that my enthusiasm levels dip after a long day in the office and the chances of ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ syndrome increase.

Emma Gorton:
Don’t drink milk before exercise, particularly before swimming.

Bryn Lee:
Plan your fixture list – work out your must win fixtures and your gimmes and structure your team selection around that.

What is your best training tip? Tell us by commenting below.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Geordan Murphy's Ireland v England Preview

Ahead of this weekend’s vital 6 Nations clash in Dublin, ENS discussed the match with Ireland and Leicester legend Geordan Murphy. A win on Saturday would give Martin Johnson’s men their first Grand Slam since the demolition of Ireland in 2003, although England will be wary that they have only beaten their Celtic neighbours once in their previous seven 6 Nations encounters.

“The head says England but the heart says Ireland. Everything suggests that England should clinch their first Grand Slam for seven years with some ease but it is rarely that simple when they come to Dublin. Although we have no Grand Slam, Championship or even Triple Crown to play for, it would mean an incredible amount to the Irish people to rain on England’s parade. However, we are going to have to improve drastically on our performance in Cardiff last week to challenge an England side full of confidence.

Most importantly we need to be much more clinical in the opposition’s red zone. We will need to take every chance that comes our way against England as they have the best defence in the tournament, along with Ireland, conceding only three tries so far.

The Ronan O’Gara and Jonny Sexton debate will continue up to the World Cup and it is a very tough one to call from an Irish perspective. I have played countless times with Ronan and know first hand the effectiveness of his game management but Jonny is also a fantastic player and will only improve as times goes on.

I think Saturday’s match is huge, not only in terms of determining the outcome of this year’s 6 Nations Championship but also in regards to the World Cup. We know that England have got a habit of producing their best rugby in World Cup years and to go to New Zealand on the back of a Grand Slam would be a huge confidence boost for them – just look at what happened in 2003 after they claimed the Grand Slam in Dublin. For Ireland, we know as a collective that we have the ability to beat any team in the world on our day and a win over England would reinstate that belief in the squad, providing the base for a successful World Cup campaign.”

ENSO with Martin Bayfield behind the scenes at London Wasps

<a href="http://www.linkedtube.com/-Eg_ad79Ndo5f80dd10dd1a057e67aff8af0852f111.htm">LinkedTube</a>

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Win a Rugby Ball Signed by a Legend

Be sure to ‘Like’ the ENS Facebook page within the next two weeks and we will automatically enter you into a prize draw to win one of 10 mini rugby balls signed by a rugby legend (usual ENS terms and conditions apply).

Just visit our Facebook page and press the 'like' button and if you are chosen at random, we will mail you your signed rugby ball.

Monday, 7 March 2011

BLOG: Battle Back

ENS is regularly involved with elite sportsmen and women but this week we thought we would check on the paralympic side of elite sport and we stumbled across something wholly inspiring.

‘Battle Back’, an initiative supported by Help for Heroes, was set up as the rehabilitation centre for wounded service personnel at Headley Court in Surrey in 2008. Battle Back is a Tri-Service initiative which aims to improve and formalise the use of adventure and in the aftercare of wounded service personnel in order to aid their rehabilitation and return to an active life.

Sport and outdoor activities have a proven track record in aiding successful physical and psychological rehabilitation, providing the foundation for the development of a positive self-image and outlook on life.

Injured soldiers are encouraged to use the facilities of Battle Back which introduces them to a range of sporting activities including athletics, golf, wheelchair rugby and sailing.

When first faced with the reality of a disability, many individuals experience a loss of confidence, depression, and believe that their active lives have ended. The sudden, traumatic change in physical ability makes them vulnerable to psychological and emotional stress which can alienate them from their friends and family.

A high percentage of injured are, having been so physically fit, highly motivated to get back to a normal active life and they see participation in sport as part of normalization. Having been involved in high intensity conflict the need to express themselves and to prove to themselves that they are still fit active young men and women is a very high priority.

The scheme has already proved very successful; two former patients, Mike Brennan and Peter Dunning, are now in the GB ski team having both of them lost both legs in combat.

Jon-Allan Butterworth recently (ex RAF) won the 1km time trial at the National Paracycling Championships and also set a World Record of 11.1 seconds in the 200m event whilst Pamela Grainger (RAF) also won a silver medal at the inaugural IPC shooting World Cup this year.

The resolve and drive to succeed in the face of extreme difficulties of these men and women really is inspiring.

For more information on the Battle Back scheme, please visit http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/battleback.html

Friday, 25 February 2011

NEWS: March-April 2011 Sporting Calendar

Tuesday 1st March
Barclays Premier League: Chelsea v Man Utd
FA Cup 5th Round, Everton v Reading
Badminton German Open Grand Prix Gold 2011 (1st-6th)
Wednesday 2nd March
FA Cup 5th Round Replays
Scottish Cup 5th Round Replay, Celtic v Rangers
YONEX Badminton Dutch Junior International, Harlem (2nd-6th)
Thursday 3rd March
Premier League Darts, Exeter
Badminton Croatian International 2011, Zagreb (3rd-8th)
USPGA Nationwide Tour: Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open, Country Club de Bogota, Bogota, Colombia (3rd-6th)
USPGA Tour: The Honda Classic, PGA National Champion Course, , Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, United States (3rd-6th)
FIA World Rally Championship: Rally of Mexico, Leo, Mexico (3rd-6th)
Friday 4th March
Aviva Premiership: Newcastle v Harlequins
Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating, Heerenveen, Netherlands (4th-6th)
Saturday 5th March
Barclays Premier League
Aviva Premiership rugby
Vacant IBF Light Welterweight Title: Zab Judah v Kaizer Mabuza, Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, United States
Sunday 6th March
Barclays Premier League
Aviva Premiership Rugby
NASCAR Las Vegas Motor Speedway-, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Monday 7th March
Barclays Premier League, Blackpool v Chelsea
Tueday 8th March
Champions League, Barcelona v Arsenal
YONEX Badminton All England Premier Super Series 2011, Birmingham (8th-13th)
European Diving Championships, Turin, Italy (8th-13th)
ATP Champions Tour: The BNP Paribas Zurich Open, Zurich, Switzerland (8th-12th)
Wednesday 9th March
Champions League, Tottenham v AC Milan
Barclays Premier League, Everton v Birmingham
Thursday 10th March
Europa League Round of 16 First Leg
Premier League Darts, Manchester
USPGA Tour: Puerto Rico Open, Trump International GC - Puerto Rico, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico (10th-13th)
Friday 11th March
Rugby: Harlequins v Newcastle, LV Cup Semi-Final
Cycling Paracycling World Championships , Montichiari - Italy (11th-13th)
USPGA Champions Tour: Toshiba Classic, Newport Beach CC, Newport Beach, California, United States (11th-13th)
Saturday 12th March
FA Cup 6th Round
Scottish Cup 6th Round
RBS 6 Nations: Italy v France, Wales v Ireland
WBC Middleweight Title: Sergio Gabriel Martinez v Serhiy Dzinziruk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.
WBA Super World Light Middleweight Title: Miguel Angel Cotto v Ricardo Mayorga, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
British Gas Swimming Championships, Manchester, England
Sunday 13th March
FA Cup 6th Round
Scottish Cup 6th Round
RBS 6 Nations: England v Scotland
Rugby: Gloucester v Newport-Gwent Dragons, LV Cup Semi-Final
Tuesday 15th March
Champions League, Man Utd v Marseille
Swiss Badminton Open Grand Prix Gold 2011 (15th-20th)
Wednesday 16th March
Champions League, Chelsea v FC Copenhagen
Snooker Players Tour Championship Final, Helix Theatre, Dublin (16th-20th)
Thursday 17th March
Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg
Premier League Darts, Glasgow
Badminton Banuinvest International, Timisoara, Romania (17th-20th)
USPGA Tour: Transitions Championship , Palm Harbor, Florida, United States (17th-20th)
Friday 18th March
Moto GP round 1, Losail, Qatar
FIA WTCC Brazil Grand Prix , Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Brazil (18th-20th)
Diving World Series, Moscow, Russia
Saturday 19th March
Barclays Premier League
IBF Super Middleweight Title: Lucian Bute v Brian Magee, Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
IBF Super Bantamweight Title: Steve Molitor v Takalani Ndlovu, Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
RBS 6 Nations: France v Wales, Ireland v England, Scotland v Italy
Sunday20th March
Barclays Premier League
IAAF World Cross Country
NASCAR Bristol Motor Speedway , Bristol, Tennessee, USA
Rugby: LV Cup Final
Monday 21st March
Championship League Snooker 2011, Crondon Park Golf Club, Essex, England (21st-24th)
ATP & WTA Sony Ericsson Open, Miami, USA (21st-3rd)
Wednesday 23rd March
Badminton Peru Master Internacional 2011, Lima (23rd-26th)
ICC Cricket World Cup Quarter-Finals
Thursday 24th March
Premier League Darts, Brighton
Badminton Polish Open International, Warsaw (24th-27th)
USPGA Tour: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Orlando, Florida, United States (24th-27th)
FIA World Rally Championship: Rally of Portugal, Vilamoura, Portugal (24th-27th)
Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Australia (24th-27th)
ICC Cricket World Cup Quarter-Finals
Friday 25th March
EURO 2012 Qualifier, Serbia v Northern Ireland
World Superbike Championship round 2, Donington Park, England
Diving World Series, China
ICC Cricket World Cup Quarter-Finals
Rugby: Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks v Leeds Carnegie
Saturday 26th March
EURO 2012 Qualifier, Wales v England, Republic of Ireland v Macedonia
Rugby: Aviva Premiership
WBF: Featherweight (Matima Molefe v Oscar Chauke), Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa
ICC Cricket World Cup Quarter-Finals
Sunday 27th March
International football friendly, Scotland v Brazil
Newham London Run, Stratford, England
Cycling: UCI Women Road World Cup: Trofeo Alfredo Binda , Comune di Cittiglio, Italy
NASCAR Auto Club Speedway , Fontana, California, USA
Rugby: Aviva Premiership: Saracens v Newcaslte
Tuesday 29th March
EURO 2012 Qualifier, Northern Ireland v Slovenia
International football friendly, England v Ghana, Republic of Ireland v Uruguay
Badminton: New Zealand Open Grand Prix 2011 (29th-3rd)
ICC Cricket World Cup Semi-Finals
Wednesday 30th March
ICC Cricket World Cup Semi-Finals
Thursday 31st March
Premier League Darts, Cardiff
USPGA Tour: Shell Houston Open , Humble, Texas (31st-3rd)
British Rally Championship: Bulldog International Rally North Wales, Welshpoo, Wales (31st-2nd April)
Friday 1st April
Moto GP round 2, Jerez, Spain
British Touring Car Championship, Brands Hatch Indy
Saturday 2nd April
Barclays Premier League
Rugby: Aviva Premiership
WBC Cruiserweight Title: Krzysztof Wlodarczyk v Francisco Palacios, Gdynia, Poland
ICC Cricket World Cup Final
Sunday 3rd April
Barclays Premier League
Rugby: Aviva Premiership
NASCAR Martinsville Speedway , Martinsville, Virginia, USA
Monday 4th April
ATP US Men’s Clay Court Championship, Houston, USA (4th-10th)
Tuesday 5th April
Champions League Quarter Finals
Badminton: YONEX Australian Open Grand Prix Gold 2011, Melbourne (5th-10th)
Wednesday 6th April
Champions League Quarter Finals
Badminton: Osaka International Challenge, Osaka, Japan (6th-10th)
Thursday 7th April
Europa League Quarter-Final First Leg
The Masters , Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia, United States (7th-10th)
Premier League Darts, Aberdeen
Friday 8th April
Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, Kuala Lumpur (8th-10th)
Saturday 9th April
Barclays Premier League
Rugby: Heineken Cup Quarter-Finals
WBO/WBA Super World Lightweight Title: Juan Manuel Marquez v Erik Morales, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
NASCAR Texas Motor Speedway , Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Sunday 10th April
Barclays Premier League
Great Ireland Run, The Phoenix Park, Dublin, Northern Ireland
Monday 11th April
Barclays Premier League, Liverpool v Man City
ATP Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Monte-Carlo, Monaco (11th-17th)
Tuesday 12th April
Champions League Quarter Finals
Wednesday 13th April
Champions League Quarter Finals
Thursday 14th April
Europa League Quarter-Final Second Leg
Premier League Darts, Sheffield
USPGA Tour: Valero Texas Open , San Antonio, Texas, United States (14th-17th)
FIA World Rally Championship: Jordan Rally, Amman
Friday 15th April
Rugby: Aviva Premiership, Newcastle v Northampton
World Superbike Championship round 3, Assen, The Netherlands
Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai
British Touring Car Championship, Donington Park
Diving World Series, Sheffield, England
Saturday 16th April
Barclays Premier League
Scottish Cup Semi-Finals
Rugby: Aviva Premiership
WBO Featherweight Title: Juan Manuel Lopez v TBA, Coliseo Roberto Clemente, San Juan, Puerto Rico
WBA World Light Welterweight Title: Amir Khan v TBA, United Kingdom
Betfred.com World Snooker Championship, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (16th - 2nd May)
Sunday 17th April
Barclays Premier League
Scottish Cup Semi-Finals
Rugby: Aviva Premiership, Wasps v Leeds Carnegie
NASCAR Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama, USA
Monday 18th April
ATP Barcelona Open BancSabadell, Barcelona, Spain (18th-24th)
Tuesday 19th April
Badminton: Asia Championships, TBC (19th-24th)
Wednesday 20th April
Barclays Premier League
Thursday 21st April
Premier League Darts, Birmingham
Badminton Horse Trials, Badminton, Gloucestershire, England (21st-25th)
USPGA Tour: The Heritage , Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, United States (21st-24th)
Cricket: Pakistan in West Indies (21st April-24th May)
Friday 22nd April
Rugby: Aviva Premiership
British Superbike Championship round 1, Brands Hatch Indy
Moto GP round 3, Motegi, Japan
Diving World Series , Mexico
Saturday 23rd April
Barclays Premier League
Rugby: Aviva Premiership
Sunday 24th April
Barclays Premier League, Bolton v Arsenal
Rugby: Aviva Premiership, Leeds Carnegie v Harlequins
Monday25th April
Barclays Premier League, Blackburn v Man City
ATP Estoril Open, Estoril, Portugal (25th-1st)
ATP BMW Open, Munich, Germany (25th-1st)
Tuesday 26th April
Champions League Semi-Finals
Wednesday 27th April
Champions League Semi-Finals
Equestrian World Cup Final: Driving 4-in-Hand, Dressage, Jumping, Vaulting, Leipzig, Germany (27th-1st)
Thursday 28th April
Europa League Semi-Final First Let
Premier League Darts, Liverpool
Badminton: Portuguese International Championships
USPGA Tour: Zurich Classic of New Orleans , Avondale, Louisiana, United States (28th-1st)
British Rally Championship: Pirelli International Rally, Carlisle, England
Friday 29th April
Moto GP round 4, Estoril, Portugal
British Touring Car Championship, Thruxton
Saturday 30th April
Barclays Premier League
Rugby: Aviva Premiership
IBO/IBF/WBO Heavyweight Title: Wladimir Klitschko v Dereck Chisora, Germany
British Superbike Championship round 2, Oulton Park
NASCAR Richmond International Raceway , Richmond, Virginia, USA

Friday, 18 February 2011

BLOG: Be a Sport: Make Your Staff Part of Your Sponsorship Drive

Our MD Rebecca Hopkins shares her tips for involving employees in leveraging sponsorship:

"Despite the recession, companies' involvement in sponsorship has increased and of those sponsorships, sport has proved that it once again leads the field in attracting corporate bucks.

Having worked in the sports sector for well over a decade, advising blue chips on leveraging sponsorship, it surprises me that employee engagement still features in the drop zone on the campaign programme.

To my mind, the larger the company, the harder the organisation should work to engage its staff, as they have the potential to be the biggest advocates of a brand’s sponsorship activity. When I first started in the sector, I worked for a brand that invested a significant sum in rugby at a time when the company share-price was at rock bottom. For the weeks immediately following the announcement, each of the sponsorship team endured a conversation with a colleague who would suggest that the sum would be better invested in football (as ‘the national passion’) or better still, not invested at all. An interesting turn of events came when the employee reward and recognition scheme was implemented. By ensuring that a large percentage of the workforce had a fair chance to attend matches, win signed memorabilia and meet the stars of the sport, the sponsorship team turned opinion around.

Conversely, despite our strongest recommendations, we have seen brands flat out refuse to provide any associated benefits to staff; on asking one brand manager for his logic in denying a small number of tickets to his colleagues, he explained that the sponsorship was ‘for the benefit of the company, not a jolly for the staff’. It is my firmly held belief that ‘the staff’ are a pretty crucial part of any business and the happier and more involved they feel, the better they perform. By all means, ensure that the sales team are provided the bulk of access, if the strategy behind your sponsorship is essentially networking, but don’t exclude the reception staff, loading bay operators, engineers or the HR team simply because they can’t always produce a tangible ROI from attending the game. The pleasure and sense of participation you can give them with a match ticket or the chance to meet a star will usually generate more goodwill than you can measure.

Here are my tips for involving employees in leveraging sponsorship:

1. The ‘Hello’ Factor: if you are using any brand ambassadors to promote your business as part of the sponsorship, make sure they do something that gives employees access to them. Even something simple can be effective, such as a personal appearance in the office, so staff can get autographs and pictures.

2. Share the love: don’t make tickets the sole preserve of the sales team! You probably have a raft of people who would love the experience of going to a stadium event, even if the teams or sport involved weren’t ones they would usually support. For example, consider your receptionist. They rarely get these sorts of perks but since they greet everyone who crosses your office threshold, they have the potential to be very positive advocates of how great your sponsorship is – provided they have seen first hand what it is you are doing.

3. Doing it for the kids: a number of companies in sport have become heavily involved in creating initiatives for children – don’t forget that many of your employees are parents too and probably have sports-mad kids at home. Make sure you find ways to present opportunities to them too.

4. Glamour is relative: don’t over-estimate the level at which your staff are prepared to help. For example, one company we worked with asked for volunteers to be ‘human signposts’ at a top-level event – which basically meant they could be standing in the rain for eight hours – yet we still received over 5,000 responses and the people selected absolutely loved being involved in something so totally different from their day job.

5. Size isn’t important: to my mind, sponsorship starts with something as small as getting a box at a football or rugby club. Even this has the potential to go wrong when one manager, who happens to be a huge fan of the team in question, has made the box their fiefdom rather than a company resource. In tough times, expenditure such as this should be made to work even harder. Involve as many staff as possible in this, much as you would in a major initiative.

ENS assisted BT in staging a staff-engagement event prior to the Singapore summit that saw the IOC announce the winning host city of the 2012 Olympics. BT was a premier partner in supporting London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

With the objective of inspiring staff to ‘Back the Bid’ online, ENS recommended staging a one-day indoor rowing competition, led by BT’s Bid Ambassador James Cracknell, across the four regional head offices (London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff). BT personnel were set two challenges: one was to ‘Crack Cracknell’ – to row further than James did in one minute; the other was to go ‘Rowing for Gold’, which involved clocking up kilometres at any chosen speed in a collective attempt to get their building the nearest to Singapore.

The event was staged in such a way that it was open to all staff, including wheelchair users, while employee engagement was maximised through webcasting the event over the company intranet and having challenge results updated every 30 seconds online.

Staff and celebrities took part across four locations with thousands of staff joining in, viewing the events live or signing up to BT’s ‘Back the Bid’ webpage – and one staff member, the last to take part, ended up out-rowing James".

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

BLOG:Making The Best Of Your Skiing Holiday

Tom Marien from outdoor fitness company One Element (http://www.one-element.co.uk/) has put together a programme to get you in the best possible shape for your skiing holiday.

Remember the old way of conditioning ourselves for a skiing trip? We would spend three to five minutes hovering against a wall, legs bent at 90º until the pain in the thighs became unbearable. We’d then stagger off the wall, hands on hips, shaking the legs, until eventually the pain went. Then we would be ready to go skiing.

The majority of skiing injuries, in fact all sports injuries are due to a lack of conditioning and strengthening of not only muscles, but also ligaments and bones. You are more likely to get injured at the beginning of the week, or the beginning of the season, because the body needs to get used to the different stresses, strains, angles and the immense pressures placed upon it. To avoid injury, we need to toughen up the body and learn to be in control in increasingly demanding situations. We do this through accessing the muscles.

We do adapt very quickly; once on the slope, our balance, fitness, strength and endurance will all increase at a phenomenal rate. People can learn the simple elements of skiing in hours. This alone is testament to the fact that our bodies can adapt, learn and strengthen, remarkably rapidly.

What I am going to ask you to do when you train for skiing, is to think carefully about all the angles your joints will be put through. Think about the movements your knees will make, and those your ankles, hips, back and shoulders will make. This may seem blindingly obvious. However, most people train in one plain of movement; up and down, yet the most common injury is a rotation injury, whether it is the back, shoulder, hip, or, most typically, the knee. This doesn’t mean you should neglect the up and down movements, just incorporate rotation and side flexion at the same time.

It’s also important to think about the type of energy system that we use when we are skiing. There is a lot of power (you may need to make a sudden turn to avoid another skier), and bouncing from side to side requires a lot of power and timing. And then there is the lactic strength that is required as you go through the longer distance runs. This must be reflected in your training programme. Try to get that burning, lactic feeling in the legs. Make sure your movements are powerful but also controlled. This will lead to stronger muscles, ligaments, bones and cartilage. You will have more control over your muscles and therefore your limbs and your skis. By working in a number of plains of movement you will increase core strength. Almost all balance, power and control come with a strong core from which our limbs can work.

Balance is perhaps the most important element to a successful skiing trip (except a good snow fall), and there are some very simple techniques to improve your balance and increase the speed at which you progress. The most important tip is that the part of you closest to the ground has the most control on the skis and therefore your balance. This may again seem very obvious, however, at the top of ski lifts throughout the Alps there will be arms and ski poles flying in every direction, which, contrary to helping the skier balance, does quite the opposite and causes a delayed reaction and the skier’s upper body will be over the wrong side by the time the lower body has corrected the balance, leaving the skier in a heap and the ski lift closed for another two minutes. If you watch a good skier, there will be very little upper body movement, whereas a novice will try to regain control using hands and arms.
The key to balance is in your toes, feet, ankles, knees and hips, in that order, and of course a strong core. You can learn to balance at any age. If you want to practice and can’t find a dry ski slope, jump on a bus, tube train or some thing else that is moving under you. As you lose balance you will have an urge to grab the nearest handle, but try to use your feet to correct yourself. If you are finding this easy, try it on one foot, and then try it with your eyes closed. Don’t hurt yourself. The old trick about keeping the head still, eyes fixed on a stationary object (a relatively short distance in front of you on the slopes) works, as it gives you an idea of where stability is and therefore an idea of what your muscles need to do to get back to stability.

Cardiovascular fitness is also an important element of preparation for a ski trip. The thin mountain air, lack of oxygen, and increased levels of exercise mean that if you are going to get the most from your skiing trip, and to avoid wheezing over a ski pole whilst your family and friends are waiting for you at the bottom of the slope, you need to work on increasing lung size and functional capacity.

Training in the Park is arguably one of the very best ways you can get fit and strong for skiing. We do loads of speed and agility work, leg strength, power and cardio work. So if you can, you’d be very sensible to try to make a couple of sessions per week for the three months before you go skiing.

I recommend that each week you do a couple of Training in the Park sessions and a couple of extra training session for an hour (i.e. a run, a game of tennis, any other sport, even some hill walking).
We have designed the following programme specifically for skiing to complement the Training in the Park sessions.

1. Warm up
2. Run 1- 5 km, this is preferable as it uses the whole body, (muscles working together to make and release energy). There is an element of impact, so you are strengthening the bones, ligaments and cartilage (connective tissue). Running outside or on uneven ground is an advantage, as the small changes in direction will help strengthen connective tissue and improve balance.
3. Then do 16 squat jumps from side to side.

Feel free to design your own programme. As long as you keep the strength balance and control concepts in mind and try to replicate the movements you will be performing on the mountain, you will have huge success. It is important that you maintain a strong back, pull the core muscles in and increase flexibility as, having a full range of movement is vital for control.

Over the six weeks leading up to your trip introduce the following morning circuit session, which should take you about ten minutes.

3 x 15 Lunges
3 x 15 Tricep Dips
3 x 15 Russian Twist
1 minute x plank

3 x 15 Squats
3 x 15 Bike Abdominals
3 x 15 Press-Ups
30 seconds x Side Plank (each side)

3 x 15 Split Squat
3 x 15 Side Lifts (each side)
3 x 15 Sit-Ups
1 minute x plank

3 x 15 Lunges
3 x 15 Dead Bugs
3 x 15 Press-Ups
30 seconds x Side Plank (each side)

3 x 15 Lunges
3 x 15 Tricep Dips
3 x 15 Russian Twist
1 minute x plank

3 x 15 Squats
3 x 15 Bike Abdominals
3 x 15 Press-Ups
30 seconds x Side Plank (each side)

3 x 15 Split Squat
3 x 15 Side Lifts (each side)
3 x 15 Sit-Ups
1 minute x plank

Friday, 11 February 2011

BLOG: England's Simon Mantell reports on the team's progress at the 2011 Indoor Hockey World Cup

The Indoor Hockey World Cup is currently taking place in Poland and England’s Simon Mantell, who has scored an impressive 28 goals in 56 caps for the National side, sends us this report.

“We are now approaching the end of the group stages here at the Indoor World Cup in Poznan, Poland. It has been a mixed start to the tournament for us. We opened with a good win over the Czech Republic on day one but followed up with a 2-3 defeat to the Russians, a well established indoor hockey nation. Today saw our best performance in the tournament to date with a convincing 6-4 win over Iran (a new force to be reckoned with on the indoor hockey scene).

We now look forward to our encounter with the current European Champions, Austria, in our final pool match. This will be a crunch game in determining who will go through to the semi-finals from our group.

Indoor hockey tournaments pose a different physical and mental challenge compared to the regular Hockey competitions we play in, mainly because we play at least one game every day. We take our rest whenever we have the opportunity and try not to waste too much energy when we've got down time...with the exception of some corridor cricket in the hotel.

Provided we don't have an early game, we will do an active recovery session (normally in the pool) in the morning. Our physio is always kept busy, especially at indoor tournaments, where the need to be low to the ground for the whole match means our lower backs, glutes and hamstrings take a hammering!

Now that the tournament has begun, we no longer train on the court as we need to preserve our energy as much as possible. However, we do spend a fair amount of time going through video analysis in groups and as individuals with the coaches.”

England currently sit top of their pool having defeated the Czech Republic and Iran. Their fate is now in their own hands - beat Austria and they qualify.
The ENS team would like to wish Simon and his teammates the best of luck for the rest of the tournament.

Friday, 4 February 2011

BLOG: Ben Kay's English 6 Nations Preview

In the third instalment of our Home Nations' 6 Nations preview, recently retired England second row, Ben Kay, gives us his thoughts on the Red Rose's chances in this year's tournament.

"As much as I will miss the excitement of being part of an English dressing room before a big 6 Nations clash, I must admit that I am thoroughly looking forward to immersing myself in this year’s tournament as a fan. I am currently loving life off the pitch and I feel as if I have finally got to a stage where I am no longer envious of the guys on the pitch. I can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere in Cardiff and take my seat in the Millenium Stadium this evening, which will no doubt be rocking in anticipation of a truly memorable Friday night of rugby.

Like most English fans, I am slightly nervous about tonight’s game due to the loss of influential players like Lewis Moody, Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes. However, it is up to the guys who have come in to prove their worth and take their chance. Haskell has been playing really well in France of late and he has a big point to prove to the English management and to the rugby world in general.

The potential of this English side is massive, with a host of young players breathing new life into the setup. Ben Youngs and Chris Ashton will be key to England’s success in this tournament and I hope they continue to inspire the brand of rugby we saw against Australia in the autumn.

I am still not convinced by our centre partnership. I think Mike Tindall thoroughly deserves the chance to lead his country but the next couple of weeks will be very important for Shontayne Hape if he wants to cement his place as Tindall’s partner. Riki Flutey is only a couple of weeks off a return and he will be eager to force his way back into the side.

If England can claw their way to victory in Cardiff this evening, not an easy feat by any means, then they would go into their 3 consecutive home games with a lot of confidence. Victory tonight would lay the foundations for our first title in 8 years."

Thursday, 3 February 2011

BLOG: Ieuan Evans's Welsh Six Nations Preview

Continuing our analysis of the Home Nations’ prospects for this year’s 6 Nations, Ieuan Evans assesses Welsh aspirations.

Wales have been very unfortunate in that they begin this year’s RBS Six Nations campaign with a host of injuries. Most notably, they are missing Lions props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones and on the back of an Autumn Series in which one of the only positives for Wales was the performance of the tight five, this is a major blow. England will be looking to target the Welsh scrum in Friday night’s encounter and it will be a big test of the credentials of the relatively inexperienced Paul James and Craig Mitchell.

The absence of Leigh Halfpenny is another big disappointment. Leigh is one of our most potent weapons, not only with ball in hand but with his ability to kick penalties from his own half. His replacement, Morgan Stoddart, will have to be at his best to nullify the threat of the English back three.

It is, however, a huge relief to see the return of the Lions’ Man of the Series, Jamie Roberts. Jamie is one of the best centres in world rugby and he can give Wales the front foot ball that is so important to generating quick ball for Mike Phillips. Wales are one of the most threatening and exciting teams in World rugby when they produce quick ball and this will be key to their success in this year’s tournament.

We have not won in our last seven games and we only have two home matches in the 6 Nations this year, against England and Ireland. Friday night’s match will be crucial. If we can get off to a winning start against England in Cardiff tomorrow, I think the team will take great confidence and go on to have a very successful tournament. The Millenium crowd will be a real factor in determining the outcome of the game. If Wales can get on top, England might start to feel the pressure in the hostile atmosphere and the door would be opened for an invaluable Welsh victory.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

BLOG: Andy Nicol's Scottish 6 Nations preview

The 2011 RBS 6 Nations is shaping up to be one of the closest tournaments for years. Here at ENS, we have got an expert's opinion on each of the Home Nations' chances, starting with ex-Scottish International scrum-half, Andy Nicol.

"Scotland should go into this year’s RBS Six Nations with a good deal of confidence. They have won five of their last six Internationals against top class opponents, including wins over the Springboks, Samoa, Argentina twice and Ireland in Dublin at the end of last year’s 6 Nations.

This year, we have three games at home against Italy, Wales and Ireland. I think this season’s tournament will be one of the most closely fought in recent memory and Scotland should certainly be aiming to win all of their home games.

Dan Parks will of course have to play a crucial role if Scotland are to be successful. At his best, Parks can be a match winner but if he begins to sit too deep in the pocket, he can bring a lot of pressure onto his teammates.

The fact that we have enjoyed such success recently, despite only scoring 7 tries in 13 Internationals, speaks volumes about our defensive capabilities. However, I would like to see more tries and attacking threat from Scotland in this year’s competition and Parks will be crucial to that.

The Scottish scrum-half debate is an interesting one. It is a luxury to have so much strength in depth in such a key position. Rory Lawson has been selected for Saturday’s opener in Paris and, in my opinion, deservedly holds on to the shirt following his impressive displays during the Autumn Internationals. However, Mike Blair seems to be getting his spark back following a difficult year and he could make a big impact from the bench.

Every year we seem to begin the tournament with high hopes only for them never to materialise. However, this time Scottish hopes are not unfounded but based on results in our most recent fixtures. The players should be confident of a very successful campaign".

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

NEWS: Marine Industry Awards Entry Forms Launch

Following the launch of the Marine Industry Awards at the 2011 Tullet Prebon London International Boat Show, you can now submit your entry to us online.

The awards, a new venture set up to reward and acclaim excellence within the marine sector, have been designed to span the entirety of the marine world, including sport, design, apparel, technical equipment, manufacturing, broking and leisure.

The best nominations in each category will be shortlisted and winners shall be selected by a judging panel, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Any nominations shortlisted will receive the ‘MIA Kitemark of Excellence’, a symbol of high distinction within the industry which is endorsed by the British Marine Federation.

The categories are as follows:

• Lifetime Achievement Award (Not open for entries)
• Marine Brand of the Year
• Marine Sports Event of the Year
• Yacht of the Year
• Powerboat of the Year
• Maritime Designer of the Year
• Marketing Campaign of the Year
• Engine of the Year
• Innovation of the Year
• Charter Company of the Year
• Environmental Initiative of the Year
• Marina of the Year
• Brokerage of the Year

To download an entry form and submit your nomination, please visit www.marineindustryawards.co.uk , where you can also find more information on the categories and criteria.

We look forward to receiving your entry and should you have any further questions, please contact Emma on 020 7934 9036 or email emma@marineindustryawards.co.uk

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Greatest 5/6 Nations Tries

With the RBS 6 Nations commencing in one week’s time, the team here at ENS thought we would delve into the archives and select our top five 5/6 Nations tries. Selecting the best five proved to be a difficult task and some excellent tries have just missed out. Do you agree with our choices?

1. Phillipe Saint-André, England v France, Twickenham, 1991


This is French flair at its best and was deservedly voted the greatest try ever scored at Twickenham. You can only admire the audaciousness of the great Serge Blanco to begin an attack from behind his own try line but this is proof that ‘he who dares wins’. The names involved in this length of the field score are legendary, with Phillippe Sella setting up Didier Camberabero for his double chip kick, which makes fools of Dean Richards and Peter Winterbottom. All Saint-Andre had to do was collect and touchdown and thus write his name into the history books. For all you English fans, it’s not all bad news, as England did in fact win the match 21-19 to claim the Grand Slam. However, there is only one thing this match will be remembered for.

2. Phil Bennett, Wales v Scotland, Murrayfield, 1977


This try is the stuff of Welsh legends, fittingly scored by a Welsh legend in his own right. Gerald Davies initiates the break out from the Welsh 22 with two scintillating sidesteps. There is a slight hint of a forward pass in the build-up but that takes nothing away from the phenomenal offload by Steve Fenwick to Phil Bennett, who finishes the move in style with a sidestep to match Davies’s earlier effort.

3. Jim Calder (1982), Scotland v Wales, Cardiff Arms Park, 1982


The kicking tennis featured at the beginning of this clip, including an effort by the Scottish lock Bill Cuthbertson, had scattered the Welsh defence across the pitch but how well the Scots took advantage of it. Roger Baird superbly gathers a Welsh kick in his own 22 and carries towards half-way before offloading to Iain Paxton. The work rate of the Scottish forwards is incredible to see, as the lock Alan Tomes gives the scoring pass to his flanker Jim Calder. The joy in the voice of the great Bill McClaren just makes this try that much more special.

4. Gareth Edwards, Wales v Scotland, Cardiff Arms Park, 1972


The Welsh wizard at his magical best. This is a truly incredible individual score by Gareth Edwards and one that will be replayed for years to come. Not only does he show scorching pace in breaking away from the line-out but the skill he shows in chipping the Scottish full-back, hacking the ball forward and touching the ball down is sensational. It’s no wonder he is considered by many to be the most naturally gifted player to ever grace a rugby field.

5. Ben Cohen, England v Ireland, Twickenham, 2002


This gem of a team try was yet another highlight in a golden era for English rugby. On route to the Irish try line, England put the ball through nearly every set of hands in the team. Austin Healey’s run ignites England’s surge up field and is only bettered by the inter-passing between Hill and Dallaglio, who provides the scoring offload for wing Ben Cohen. The only thing more pleasing on the eyes of English fans than this effort was the sight of Martin Johnson lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy a year later.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

NEWS: Pit Your Wits Against Rugby Legends

England legends and ENS clients, Martin Bayfield and Pete Richards, will be playing SportGuru for the RBS Six Nations, and you can take them on in your pool!

For this year’s RBS Six Nations Championship, SportGuru have introduced a functionality that will enable members of the public to add Martin and Pete to their pool and pit their wits against two rugby legends.

Martin, who at 6ft 10’ is the country’s tallest ever representative, gained 31 England caps and 3 British and Irish Lions caps before being forced to retire due to a back injury. Since retirement Martin has become a prominent figure on the after dinner speaking circuit and an established broadcaster. As well as anchoring ITV’s rugby coverage, Martin also plays the role of Hagrid’s body double in the Harry Potter series.

Former London Irish and England player, Pete Richards was forced to retire at the end of the 2009/10 season due to a back injury. Pete started his professional career at London Irish before playing for Harlequins, Benetton Treviso, Bristol Shoguns, Wasps and Gloucester and then returned to London Irish at the start of the 2007 season. Pete played his part in England’s memorable 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign and was part of the winning England team at the Hong Kong Sevens in 2004.

You can sign up to the site and take on Martin and Pete here: http://www.sportguru.co.uk/sixnations/


Monday, 24 January 2011

BLOG: Who'd be a referee?

Sky have today disciplined Andy Gray and Richard Keys, following comments made by the pair whilst off air during the Wolves v Liverpool game on Saturday. Believing that their microphones were switched off, Keys and Gray agreed that Sian Massey, a 3rd official in the Premier League match they were covering, would not know the offside rule. However, she proceeded to make an excellent decision in allowing Liverpool’s disputed first goal when the Wolves players were adamant that Raul Meireles was offside.

There is no doubt that a referee’s job, whether man or woman, is a tough one. On the rugby pitch however, the difficulties can become somewhat more physical.

For example, in London Irish’s 5th round tie against the Ospreys in this year’s Heineken Cup, referee George Clancy inadvertently gets in the way of Jonathan Thomas’s charge for the line and receives a heavy tackle for his troubles from one of the game’s big hitters, Seilala Mapasua:


Perhaps not wanting to be outdone by his Samoan counterpart, Tongan Lifeimi Mafi gets in on the act by this time taking down referee Tim Hayes in Muster’s Magners League clash with Edinburgh:


Surely a Canterbury Crusaders’ winger running in open field is no risk to a top class referee, wholly adept at judgement and positioning skills? This clip goes to show that there really is no hiding place whatsoever for the officials, as Sean Maitland bulldozes his way through the unfortunate Chris Pollock. It is hard not to see the irony of the slogan on Mr Pollock’s shirt:


Who would be a referee? The official in this next clip probably asked himself that very question after being sent tumbling to the ground by this scrum half’s box kick, although fortunately Steve Martland claims to not remember the incident. I should think that is for the best Steve but you can relive the moment time and again here:


Obviously these are freak events and the majority of referees leave the pitch unscathed. However, perhaps officials, both men and women, don’t get the credit they deserve for simply doing their jobs. For if it weren’t for them there would be no match taking place in the first place, and no contentious issues to debate the next day. I for one am delighted Sian Massey got her big decision correct at the weekend and I am even more delighted with the genius of Sean Davey here. If he ever gets fed up with the pressures of refereeing, an acting career surely awaits:


Friday, 21 January 2011

NEWS: Marine Industry Awards Website Launch

The Marine Industry Awards website went live for the first time on Monday 17th January.

The awards, which were launched at the 2011 Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show last week, have been set up in order to acknowledge and recognise excellence within the marine industry. The scheme is supported by the British Marine Federation (BMF) and all those shortlisted for an award will receive the MIA’s Kitemark of Excellence, with the winners of each category receiving the MIA’s Gold Kitemark of Excellence.

The awards ceremony will take place on January 6th at the 2012 Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show, which will again be hosted at London ExCeL. With 12 different categories up for entry, the ceremony will seek to celebrate the whole spectrum of the marine industry, from powerboat and yacht of the year to innovation and marketing campaign of the year.

A star-studded judging panel, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and including powerboat champion Shelly Jory-Leigh amongst other experts, will select a winner from a shortlist of the best five applicants for each category.

Application forms will be available on the Marine Industry Awards website from the 1st February until the 1st August 2011.

For more information, please visit www.marineindustryawards.co.uk

Thursday, 20 January 2011

BLOG: Top 5 Rugby Bloopers

    1. Juan Manuel Leguizamon - London Irish v London Wasps

    Premature arrogance at its finest. Juan Manuel Leguizamon has been a fantastic player over the years but unfortunately he will be remembered for this most shocking of errors. When you hear coaches tell kids to "just put the bloody ball down", this is the reason.

    2. Odwa Ndungane - Sharks v Crusaders


    Another glaring miss, this time from a more clinical finisher in Odwa Ndungane. It is a great move from the Sharks which deserved to end in a try but the Springbok winger had other ideas. In looking behind to check for covering defenders, he seems to forget he has the ball in his hands and despairingly spills it forwardm over the goal line.  

    3. Martyn Williams misses in penalty shoot out - Cardiff Blues v Leicester Tigers


    You could predict the outcome of Martyn Williams shoot-out attempt after Stuart Barnes introduction (go to 8 minutes on the video). "Martyn Williams, the king of Cardiff, this would be the cruellest thing if Martyn Williams were to miss it. A brilliant footballer, I say Martyn Williams gets it." Thus, the commentators curse strikes again as Williams agonizingly hooks his kick to the left and sends his beloved Cardiff crashing out at the semi-final stage of the Heineken Cup.

    4. Rob Howley's Heineken Cup final try against Toulouse. "What has Poitrenaud done?"


    What has Poitrenaud done indeed. One could only look on in shock, or elation if you were English, as Rob Howley touched down in the Twickenham corner, giving Wasps Heineken Cup glory and giving Clement Poitrenaud a lifetime of nightmares. Poitrenaud has been a fine player for Toulouse and France but I doubt whether he will ever be able to banish the memories of this unforgivable and hugely costly error.

    5. Corey Jane's nose charge down.  


    One of the finest examples of commitment to the cause that I have ever seen. Everyone knows that Corey Jane has an innate ability to sniff out a try-scoring opportunity, but on this occasion he had another task for his nose. You can't help but wince as the ball cannons into his face and sends him 'limbo dancing' to the ground. Credit must be given for the way he bounces straight back up and attempts to brush off the whole incident.