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How Playing Video Games Can Help You On the Pitch

If your childhood was anything like mine you might have put thousands of hours into your Playstation, X-Box or PC playing some of the most popular releases over the last decade being told by your family and other half that you’re wasting your time. However, did you know that all those hours you have banked can actually lead to an improved performance in sport? Of course you did…

According to a study published in the journal Communication Research, playing just 20 minutes of video games can allegedly improve your hand-eye coordination. That’s right, Researches had 151 colleague students spend 20 minutes playing video games and 99 percent more were able to utilise the skills boost they obtained from gameplay helped them in a subsequent lab controlled hand-eye coordination test.

Further research has continued to prove that there are various benefits to playing video games. These include cognitive benefits, such as improved reaction time, improved mental flexibility, and improved spatial abilities, as well as other types of benefits, such as reduced stress levels, increased self-esteem, and increased prosocial behaviour.

First, let’s consider the cognitive benefits:

  1. It is believed that video games can improve your recognition ability and special memory. They can improve your reaction time, without decreasing accuracy.
  2. Playing first-person shooters can improve your mental flexibility which will make you better at adapting to change.
  3. Games can also improve your visual processing ability which can make you better at identifying important information and ignoring irrelevant distractions.

Now let’s consider the general benefits of playing video games:

  1. Nervous about an upcoming match or can’t find a way to wind down after a training session? Playing video games can help you relax and reduce your stress levels.
  2. They can also increase your self-esteem and improve your mood. Plus the more competent you feel at the game, the more you’ll benefit in this regard. This is a great way to give yourself a quick confidence boost.
  3. Playing video games that involve cooperating with other players can increase people’s prosocial behaviour in real life. So, if you like to play PlayerUnknown’s Battleground or Fortnite with your friends then you’ll be able to develop your communication skills that you can use on the pitch and improve interpersonal relationships with your teammates.
  4. A lot of us suffer with anxiety be it on or off the pitch and there’s no shame in that. If this affects you it’s time to smile as it is widely believed that playing therapeutic video games can improve mental-health outcomes in various ways by engaging your brain in relaxing tasks to help you overcome feelings of unease. Such games as The Sims 4 or Animal Crossing would be perfect for this.
  5. Lastly, playing certain video games can improve physical-health outcomes in various ways, such as by encouraging people to exercise or by educating people about health-related topics. So, if you can’t make it to training or don’t have time to go for that mid-week gym session, try your hand at such physical games as Just Dance or my personal favourite, Beat Sabre. Both of these games are great at getting you to move and help work off those pesky carbs.

There you have it. A brief look at how playing video games can help you on the Rugby pitch. Before I go, please note that gaming is no real replacement for actual exercise. You’ll still need to make an effort to attend as many training sessions and take part in additional physical exercise (whatever form that may take is down to you). So be smart, play safe… and most importantly, enjoy yourself.

And now a warning…

Please take the information you read here today as alleged and shouldn’t be taken strictly as fact. Sure, it may win you some extra few minutes on the console in an argument with your better half but please remember that playing video games uninterrupted for long periods of time can lead to many hours lost, late nights, eye strain and arguments. So, just like any form of exercise, take it easy, have fun and if you ever feel uncomfortable doing it, take a break and get plenty of sleep. Oh, and stay hydrated too!

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Sheffield Vulcans Recommend: Pre-Training Meals

As Sheffield’s first LGBTQ inclusive Rugby team we pride ourselves on being a squad made up of athletes who come from a wide range of ability, fitness and experience. Always looking for ways to improve our performance our team of coaches heartily encourage our members to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

However, in today’s new world forged by Covid-19, it is often difficult to keep on the straight and narrow when it comes to nutrition. Sure, lockdown rules have been relaxed and we can do as much exercise as we want out doors but it also means that temptation of grabbing something quick and easy is even more present now the golden arches have opened their drive through and delivery services.

We’re not worried too much though because tonight marks the restart of our training sessions. That’s right, keeping in-line with the recommended government guidelines our team has been split into squads of six who will work together to complete HIIT sessions developed to help improve our fitness during pre-season ready for when the season begins (whenever that may be).

With training starting again the team have been thinking about how we each treat our bodies. We’ve already been encouraging one another to remain active during lockdown thanks to our weekly Strava challenge but it’s just as important to take note of our nutrition as well. Good nutrition is vital for exercise and performance and can help recover faster after each workout. It’s equally as important to think about the timing of your pre-workout meal too. That’s why it comes highly recommended to try and eat a complete meal containing carbs, protein and fat at least 2 hours before you exercise as this will help prevent any stomach discomfort during exercise.

Ahead of tonight’s training we turned to our committee to see what their go to pre-training meal and here is are a few of their recommendations:

If your training starts within 3 hours:

Our club President Michael Hudson recommends something quick and easy to prepare. That’s why he swears by enjoying a meal of chicken and rice/pasta a few hours before training. Protein, carbs… simple!

As an alternative suggestion, our very own Matt Clark recommends fajitas made with lean protein, brown rice and roasted vegetables.

If your training starts within 2 hours:

Our Social Secretary Tibble Smith knows how to keep it light and recommends enjoying some toast with butter (and jam if he’s feeling a little naughty).

As an alternative suggestion, you could enjoy a bowl of whole-grain cereal and milk.

If training starts within an hour:

Our club Chair Glenn Allen and our very own Jude Berry recommend enjoying a piece of fruit, such as a banana or an apple.

As an alternative suggestion you could enjoy a nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients.

That concludes our recommendations for pre-training fuel and we hope you found it useful. Remember at the end of the day improving your pre-training nutrition can go a long way in helping you perform better and recover faster as an athlete. But before you go, remember that your body also needs water to function so it is important that you maintain good hydration habits as well.

Thanks for reading.

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Hadrian’s Cup 2019

Sheffield Vulcans took part in our first ever Hadrian’s Cup, a 10s tournament organised by our IGR brothers the Newcastle Ravens.

The Vulcans travelled to the North East and enjoyed several games which included a win against Bristol Bisons before being knocked out of the running for the Hadrian’s Plate by the Birmingham Bulls.

Take a look at some of the thoughts and feedback from our players:

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March Training Dates

Come down to Endcliffe Park at 7pm to join in Sheffield’s ONLY inclusive rugby club. 

Regardless of age, size, orientation or rugby experience, the Vulcans invite everyone to give Rugby a ‘try’.

Get in touch, come to training, and get your first 4 sessions for FREE!

For more information contact us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email committee@sheffieldvulcans.com

March 2019