Unusual sports help drive up participation at University

Unusual sports are helping to attract more students to participate in physical activity at Nottingham Trent University.

We know that our students love playing sport.

James Hayter, Director of Sport at Nottingham Trent University

Unusual sports are helping to attract more students to participate in physical activity at Nottingham Trent University.

Sports membership at the University has risen by a quarter this academic year compared to the same time in 2013/14 and the University is expecting figures released later this year to show this is helping to build on its already above-average participation rate.1
And while sports such as football, netball and rugby continue to attract scores of students to their ranks, it is some of the more unusual clubs which are seeing the largest growth in membership.

Dodgeball, a game in which players on two teams try to throw balls at each other while avoiding being hit themselves, has doubled its membership since last year going from 31 to 63 this year. More girls than ever are also taking part in the sport, meaning Nottingham Trent University is able to enter women-only teams into competitions for the first time.

Ultimate Frisbee, which originated in America in the 1960s, has also seen a rise from 26 to 35 members. Like Dodgeball, there has been a particular increase in female members which has allowed the club to enter regional competitions in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league for the first time.

Mountaineering at the University is also increasing in popularity with 99 members, which is helped by the new 30ft climbing wall at the Students' Union building at the City Campus.

Ben Coole, President of Nottingham Trent University's Dodgeball club, said: "Over the past few years, Dodgeball in itself has increased in popularity so much across the country. We're seeing more and more teams enter into tournaments every year. I feel this is because Dodgeball is such a unique sport and its fun nature has seen it become quite popular with university students. A major influence in our huge increase in membership over the two years is because we've had women in our club committee. This year our club captain is female, which allows new female members to be coached by her."

Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham were awarded nearly £300,000 of funding earlier this year by Sport England to improve participation in sport through a joined up project. The project is aimed at students who already know a sport and want to just turn up and play but not necessarily be a member of a club. In the first month of this term, it attracted 740 participants to sports such as badminton, basketball, futsal and netball at Nottingham Trent University.

Fiona Dick, Participation Sport Manager at Nottingham Trent University, said: "I'm thrilled to see our participation on all the activities we deliver increase in the number of students taking part. The NTU Sport staff, sports committees and key volunteers have worked tirelessly in supporting our activities to ensure this increase has occurred. I'm very proud of the hard work and dedication that has been demonstrated."

The University has also been working to encourage more students to learn a new sport. The Beginner Sport project targets students who may not have played/participated in these sports before and enables them to learn the basic skills. Sports include Archery, Climbing, Trampolining, Wheelchair Basketball and more. In the first month of the new academic year, it succeeded in attracting nearly 200 participants.

Intramural sports – those where teams within the University compete against each other – have seen an increase in members of 20% so far this academic year.

James Hayter, Director of Sport at Nottingham Trent University, said: "I am delighted to see this significant upturn in sports participation at the University; we already have a higher than average rate of participation and these figures show that our students are becoming even more active. We know from various research studies that regular physical activity can aid concentration and that playing sport at university is likely to lead to higher than average earnings in later life. Furthermore, we know that our students love playing sport and we take enormous pride in providing opportunities for them at various standards of performance and across a huge range of sports."

1June 2014 figures from Sport England showed 60% of Nottingham Trent University students took part in a sport at least once a week compared to a national average of 57%.

Unusual sports help drive up participation at University

Published on 8 January 2015
  • Category: Press office; Sport

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