What is Sport and Exercise Psychology?

It’s almost impossible to watch a sporting event these days without someone mentioning confidence or motivation or mindset! Sport Psychology is becoming more accepted in mainstream sport, let’s find out why… Sport Psychology is the study of people’s behaviour, thoughts, emotions and experiences in a sport or exercise environment. It focuses on 2 distinct areas depending on the needs of the individual concerned: improving performance and improving well being. Generally we focus on one or the other with clients but there are occasions where the two crossover eg; managing one’s emotions can potentially lead to better decision making in competition or better reactions to mistakes = improvement in performance. This can also help to alleviate feelings of disappointment, frustration or anger at a performance which may cross over into life away from sport = improved well being. “Your your emotions affect your decision making…” How will Sport Psychology help me? Sport psychology is an individual process and every person’s needs differ. There is always development and improvement which can be made at any level of sport, whether amateur or professional. Sport psychology can help to see your sport and your performance from an objective and sometimes alternative perspective. It can challenge you to ask questions about things in your sport and performance that you take for granted. For example: How do you practice? Is it as close to competition as possible? Can you make it closer to competition? Have you tried practising challenging situations? If not, how will you react if you meet these situations in competition? “better decision making leads to improved performance“ What happens during a one-to-one Sport Psychology session? A one-to-one session could be in person or over Skype and can be in an office, at the practice ground or any venue of your choice. Typically, the … Read more

Carolina Ramirez at EC London 30+

Carolina arived at EC London 30+ the 9th May, and she was studying in our school for 12 weeks. We’re really going to miss her but she has very kindly agreed to share her experience of EC LONDON 30+ with you. She began at pre-intermediate and in just 12 short weeks she managed to reach upper intermediate, which is amazing progress. Well done, Carolina, we’re all very proud of you. Thank you and good luck with everything.     At the begin, i didn’t know to much about the way of life in London, i confess i was so nervous, to change my routine, my home my life. I came EC through my agency in Colombia, i choose this school, because it was for older people, wich doesn’t mean we are old people!, just the idea to share my learning with teenager got on my nerves so i took the challenge and came here, in spite of united states is closer to me, and here found an amazing place, full of new people with diferents experinces from a lot of beatiful countries. I haven’t had a lot of experience about english schools, this is my first experience, but i can say not just talking about quality, which is hight, that the environment is kindness, profesional and fun as well. I recomend EC London 30+ for all the people who want to learn english, here you’ll find good friends, an amazing city full of great expericences to do and a profesional team of teachers always ready to help you! I have still plenty to learn, but i’m sure my improvement has been successful. Carolina Ramirez, Colombian We can see Carolina enjoying with her classmates in her Intensive lessons, Everyday English.    If you’re thinking about studying English in the future, check out our … Read more

St David’s Day is coming your way!

What’s coming up in March? Do you love to socialise? If so, then here are two days that you can be part of next month. Learn about what these days mean, some fun facts and how to improve your English below. St David’s Day    When is it? On the first day of March we celebrate St David’s day in honour of the Saint David of Wales who died on that day in 589 AD. Who is St David? He was a Celtic monk who lived in the 16th Century and spread the word of the religion Christianity across Wales. His most famous story is of him standing on a hill and preaching about Christianity… then the ground on which he was standing rose up… and the huge crowd could hear his words. How do British people celebrate this day? Some children wear the national dress of Wales which is a tall black hat and a red cloak. Most people mark this day by wearing the Welsh emblem which is a small daffodil or leek. You usually see magnificent yellow daffodils at the start of Spring which is a very exciting occasion for British people! Why? Because the sun is coming! Goodbye Winter! Want to hold your own Welsh dinner party? Welsh cuisine is wonderful! Try making ‘Cawl’ a dish made with lamb & a mixture of Welsh vegetables like leeks & swede and of course a fusion of herbs like rosemary, thyme & parsley.   If you’d like to improve your English, follow this link and learn more about English parties! What can EC students do to celebrate St David’s? London loves different cultures & celebrating them to the maximum! You can be in the heart of it all.  Near to EC Covent Garden is London’s Welsh centre for … Read more

Words of the Week: Health

It’s pretty cold here in London and everyone’s health is at risk, it seems like everyone in the city is ill. It’s nothing serious of course, just a cold or the flu but it’s everywhere. Just this morning on the tube somebody sneezed on the back of my neck…this was not pleasant. But it got me thinking about the vocabulary a student might need to use in order to describe their cold or flu. Check out the words, idioms and phrases below for help describing your ailment. Pay careful attention to how they are used and if there’s anything you don’t understand, just click on it for a definition.   “I’m a bit under the weather.” = I’m a little bit ill. “I’m on the mend.” = I’m getting better. “My head is killing me.” = I have a terrible headache   I can’t stop sneezing                       coughing                       vomiting / throwing up     I feel dizzy            weak             nauseous             constipated             much better now   I have  a headache                a stomachache                a sore throat                a fever / a temperature               diarrhea                a blocked / runny nose   So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, get out there and use these handy words / phrases to let people know. But please try not to sneeze on anybody’s neck on the tube…that’s just disgusting. If you’d … Read more

Weekly Grammar Question: Be/Get used to

So, be/get used to, it’s one of those language points that people have a lot of problems with…but why? Let’s have a look at it in context. Check out this short paragraph about when I first came to London. I’ve lived in London for almost 5 years now and I have to say it’s a lot easier for me than it was when I arrived. When I first arrived there were a lot of differences between London and my city that I just couldn’t get used to. For example, when I first got her, I was standing on the left side of the escalator in the tube stations, which is a big no-no in London. People got really annoyed with me. After a week, of course, I didn’t even think about it anymore and I was used to standing on the right and walking on the left. Soon I even started getting annoyed with other people who stood on the left. That was when I knew that I’d never leave London. I imagine if I went back to Dublin now, I’d find it pretty hard to get used to the slower pace of life. Now, let’s take be/get used to apart and see what it’s made up of. Let’s focus on this sentence first:  “People got annoyed with me“. Let’s break it down. “Annoyed” is an adjective. We know this. “Get” is a verb, in this situation it means that the people are becoming annoyed. Now how about this sentence: “I couldn’t get used to it“. Again, “get” means “become”, so what kind of word is “used” here? Well it’s an Adjective of course. In this situation it means comfortable with,  familiar with or accustomed to. So what about this one?: “I was used to standing on the right”. This time we’re using … Read more

WHERE AM I? England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom…what does it all mean?

WHERE AM I? So where are you? You might be sitting in your house in your country or you might be at work, taking a quick break to check out the EC Covent Garden blog or you might be here at EC Covent Garden, London, learning English. If you are here with us…do you where you are exactly? Are you in England? Are you in Britain? Are you in Great Britain? What about the United Kingdom or the UK? And what are Wales, Scotland and Ireland? What is the difference between  Ireland and Northern Ireland? And are you in Europe? All the result of a complicated history – but here is your simple geographical guide!     What is Great Britain? Great Britain is an island – it is surrounded by the sea. Inside Great Britain are the two ‘kingdoms’ of England and Scotland, and the ‘principality’ of Wales. Great Britain is made up of: England – The capital city is London. Scotland – The capital city is Edinburgh . Wales – The capital city is Cardiff. HISTORY: The Union in 1707 joined Scotland and England and Wales to create Great Britain.     Is Great Britain the same as the United Kingdom? No, Great Britain and the United Kingdom (UK) refer to different areas. Great Britain is an island, which is only part of the UK. The UK is a state. The full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Or to say it another way, the UK includes Great Britain AND Northern Ireland). London is the capital city of the UK (as well as the capital city of England). The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union, or EU, and so officially is part of Europe.   Is Great Britain the same as Britain? Great … Read more

Word(s) of the Week: Giving Advice

As an English teacher, I find myself giving a lot of advice to students. This week, I have decided to look at a few different ways / phrases for giving advice. Check out the examples below. Please leave me any comments if you have any questions.   (1) Modal verbs: – You should call your mother, you haven’t talked to her in ages. (Meaning: in my opinion, this is a good idea) – You shouldn’t go outside without a coat, you’ll catch a cold. (Meaning: in my opinion, this is a bad idea) – You have to see the new Batman film, it’s amazing. (Meaning: This is very strong advice, not an obligation) (2)  Hypothetical conditionals: – If I were you, I’d give her a piece of my mind. (Form: If I were you, I’d + verb) If I were in your position, I’d call her up this second. (3)  Phrases: – That shop assistant has given you the wrong change again. you should give her a piece of my mind. (Meaning: I’m going to tell her exactly what I think about this situation) – Oh it’s not a big problem, don’t lose any sleep over it. (Meaning: Don’t worry about it. It’s not important) (4) Other ways: – Why don’t you give her a call when you get home. (Form: Why don’t you + verb) – Just give her a call. (Meaning: This is the imperative. It is quite an informal suggestion. The intonation here is quite important so that it doesn’t seem like an order) So my advice to you is to get out there and give some people some advice, even if they don’t want it. You should go and find people who you think need advising and just go for it. If I were you, I’d give … Read more

Tips for learning English: Using the free Metro newspaper

  Every morning at EC Covent Garden 30+, a number of our students come to Breakfast Club where they sit down with one of our teachers and discuss the major topics in the newspapers. It is always a great success and our students are delighted that they are able to understand some of the big news stories that are happening in the U.K. and around the world. But can you do this by yourself? The quick answer is YES, yes you can. Just follow the simple steps below and you can use the Metro to help you practise your English and expand your cultural knowledge of England.   Choose an article with a picture that looks interesting. Very often headlines in the Metro contain puns (click for a dictionary definition of “pun“) which can be confusing if you don’t have the cultural knowledge to understand them. My advice is if you don’t understand the headline, ignore it and move on to the picture. Look at the picture and predict what you think the article will be about. Read the story quickly to check your predictions. Do not worry about vocabulary or grammar at this point. Just read for the general idea of the article. Underline some of the key words in the story that you don’t understand. Try to get the meaning from the context. If you’re not sure of the meaning, you can check your dictionary but try to do it by yourself first. Read the article again more slowly, focusing on the details. Go tell someone what you read and your opinion of the article. Try to use some of the key words when you’re speaking. If you use a word in conversation once, you’re more likely to use it again.   So if you’re an English language student in … Read more

Tips for learning English: English-English dictionaries by Ayan Ali

  Translators can give you help with vocabulary quickly, but English-English dictionaries have a lot of information including: pronunciation – a speaker button so you can hear the word or phonemic script grammar (e.g. uncountable nouns) example sentences to help you understand the word in context register (how formal the word is) collocations (words it often appears next to) and phrases using the word connotation (the associations of a word e.g. ‘fat’ is more negative than ‘big’ for describing people) word families e.g. photograph, photographer, photography, photographic   Students below intermediate level should start with the learner dictionaries below and Macmillan dictionary is particularly good. Here are some good online dictionaries and their best features.   LEARNER DICTIONARIES 1) MACMILLAN DICTIONARY http://www.macmillandictionary.com/ Simple definitions Three-star rating to show the frequency of a word. E.g. ‘car’ is a three-star word whereas ‘tram’ has no stars at all. Macmillan say that the most common 7,500 words in the English language are used in 90% of speaking and writing and these words will have either one, two or three stars. Low levels should focus on frequent words with stars. Remember that a word might not be common in general English but useful in your life e.g ‘dye’ has no stars but is an important word for hairdressers. Thesaurus to help you learn words with a similar meaning Information about grammar e.g. verb patterns, prepositions Common word combinations (collocations)   press this symbol to hear sounds for words such as ‘horn’ and ‘rustle’   2) CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/ Gives both the British English pronunciation AND the American English pronunciation. Useful if you’ve studied American English at home and want to compare the pronunciation. For example, the ‘a’ in ‘elementary’ isn’t pronounced in British English so the word has 4 syllables but it creates a … Read more

Law in action: visiting a real criminal court by Ayan Ali

Our Advanced class were studying crime and law in their coursebook in October. To bring the topic to life, they met and interviewed a real magistrate, went to see real cases in court and became judges themselves in a virtual case online. First, the class learned vocabulary related to crime and law. Then they tried being a judge by following a ‘manslaughter’ case online using actors (this is different to ‘murder’ because there is no intention to kill). They experienced listening to evidence on both sides and debated how long the prison sentence should be. It is interactive and you can try it yourself on the government’s ‘You be the Judge’website: http://ybtj.justice.gov.uk/. To prepare for their court visit, the class interviewed a magistrate to learn about the criminal justice system which they said was “really interesting” and gave them “a lot of new information”. All criminal cases first appear before a panel of three magistrates who either hear the case there or refer it on to a higher court. Magistrates come from all walks of life so you don’t need to be a lawyer because you get special training.     The class sat in the public gallery in Westminster Magistrates’ Court which is open to everyone. It is a court in central London and there have been big cases involving famous people that you can read about here: http://www.independent.co.uk/topic/CityOfWestminsterMagistrates’Court. The class saw extradition and drug possession cases. Here’s how some students felt about visiting a court as part of their General English Course at EC Covent Garden: “It was a nice challenge to hear crime vocabulary in context and it was fun too.” Isabela “It was good to get out of the classroom and do something different. Hearing a case is an experience which you can’t have in Germany.” … Read more