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Balanced Diet

No need to overthink, most of the time a balanced diet is the only diet that you need, forget the other diets that require this and that, and have too many demands – keep it simple!

In moderation, a balanced diet includes all the different food groups, regular exercise, and drinking lots of water. This is the basic diet plan structure so that your body can receive everything it needs in the healthiest way and weight loss occurs steadily rather than rapidly.

If ever in doubt about what diet to try or which is the best, you can never go wrong with a balanced diet.

Why a Balanced Diet is Important

In order for your body to funtion properly, it needs appropriate amounts of everything. It requires the correct nutrition to work effectively, this is something not all diets can promise. Every different type of food has a specific advantage for your body – yes, even fatty and sugary foods! The important thing is to consume the right amount.

Balanced Diet Plan

A balanced diet plan should include the following types of food:

  • Fruit: for vitamins and nutrients
  • Vegetable: for minerals and vitamins
  • Protein: for strength and body development
  • Dairy: for calcium, vitamin D and nutrients
  • Starch: for fibre, vitamins and minerals
  • Sugar: for energy and glucose
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Vegan Diet

Taking on a vegan diet can be tough if you have never done it before. Here you will find plenty of information on how to eat on a vegan diet.

The length of this diet plan is up to you as there are many people who decide to permanently eat vegan foods. However, if this is one of many diets you wish to simply trial and see how it makes you feel, then we would recommend you challenge yourself for a week on the vegan diet.

As the vegan population starts to grow, vegan foods are becoming easier to find. Most restaurants will have at least one vegan option, while you can also find specific places that cater to only vegan foods. Supermarkets are also stocking increasingly more options for your vegan diet.

Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Many people decide to go vegan in order to prevent animal exploitation, however, this is not the only benefit. A vegan diet is extremely good for your health as the nutrients in vegan products tend to be low in saturated fat and high in fibre and antioxidants. This means you are building up your body’s defense mechanism against disease and illness, whilst also managing to increase your energy and vitamin count.

What to Eat on a Vegan Diet

This list of meal suggestions for your vegan diet can be used for any of the main meals in the day, or if you want a light snack at anytime. Make sure when buying your products to check first if they are vegan friendly.

  • Oatmeal with fresh fruit/nuts/dried fruits/chocolate
  • Tomato lentil soup
  • Hummus and sliced vegetables (e.g. cucumber/carrot)
  • Cous-cous and bean stew
  • Cereals with almond milk
  • Spinach salad with avocado and butternut squash
  • Soy yogurt with granola
  • Crackers with tofu
  • Whole-wheat pasta with roasted vegetables

Remember that this is a very simple guide, feel free to add and remove any ingredients according to your personal preferences. Click here for information on weight loss.

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Hockey Tournaments


  • Investec Women’s Hockey League
  • Pensions Men’s Hockey League
  • Senior Women’s Knockout
  • Senior Men’s Knockout
  • Senior Mixed Knockout
  • County Championships


  • Olympic Games
  • Men’s Championship Trophy
  • Women’s Championship Trophy
  • Men’s World Cup
  • Women’s World Cup
  • Commonwealth Games
  • Hockey Champions Challenge
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Hockey Rules


The basics:

  • Only 11 players per team are permitted on the pitch at one time
  • A team consists of 1 goal keeper, defenders, midfielders and attackers
  • Line-up of players depends on the team’s strategy
  • The game is started with a push-back from the centre spot
  • The game is split into 2 halves of about 30 minutes each. (game times depend on level of hockey)
  • Goals can only be scored from inside the shooting circle
  • Hockey is a non-contact sport
  • Only the flat side of the stick can be used to hit or control the ball
  • Players must not play the ball with the stick when it is above shoulder height


The following fouls are penalised with a free hit:

  • Obstructing the ball from an opponent with body or stick
  • Contacting the opponent
  • Raising the stick above the waist when attempting to play or stop the ball
  • Playing or stopping the ball with other means that the hockey stick
  • Interfering with an opponent’s stick

Penalty Corner (Short Corner)

If a foul is committed within the shooting circle a corner is awarded to the other team. It is also awarded when a defender deliberately plays the ball over the goal line. In a penalty corner, the ball is placed on the goal line about ten yards from the nearest goal post. The ball is then passed to a player who is positioned outside of the shooting circle. That player then attempts to shoot at goal or pass to a team member in order to create a chance to score.

hockey short corner


  • The pass must be received outside the shooting circle
  • No shot or pass may be taken until the ball is stopped outside of the circle
  • All attackers must be outside the circle until the pass is taken
  • Only 5 defenders are permitted to stand behind the goal line when the penalty corner is taken
  • The remaining defenders must stand behind the centre line
  • Only when the pass has been taken can the defender move from the goal line to defend the ball

Long Corner

A corner is awarded to the opposing team when a defender hits the ball over the goal line (outside the circle lines). In a long corner, the attacker takes a free hit on the side line 5 m from the corner closest to where the ball went out of play.

16 – Yard Hit: A free pass is awarded when an attacking player hit the ball over the opponents goal line. It is taken 16 yards from where the ball was hit over the goal line.

Side-line Hit: A free pass is awarded to the opposing team if any player hits the ball over the side line. All players must be 5 feet from where the ball is placed when the pass is taken.

Penalty Stroke

A penalty stroke (also known as a penalty flick) is awarded when a defender commits a deliberate foul in the circle which deprives the attacker of possession or opportunity to play the ball, when a goal would be a probable outcome. The attacker takes the penalty stroke against the goalkeeper, and is taken from a spot 6.4 m out, central and directly in front of the goal. The goalkeeper must stand with feet on the goal line, and cannot move them until the ball is played, whilst the attacker must start behind the ball and within playing distance. On the umpire’s whistle, the striker may push or flick the ball at the goal and the goalkeeper attempts to save it. The attacker is not permitted to play the ball more than once, to fake the shot, or to move towards or interfere with the goalkeeper once the shot is taken. Hitting or dragging the ball is also forbidden.

hockey penalty stroke

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Hockey Equipment

 What do I need to play hockey?hockey stick and ball

  • hockey stick
  • hockey ball
  • mouth guard
  • shin pads
  • hockey pitch
  • 2 teams of 11 players
  • Goal keeper kit
  • umpire

The Pitch

The pitch is 100 yards by 60 yards (91.4 metres x 55 metres)

hockey pitch

There are two main types of hockey pitches; natural grass and synthetic turf. The preferred surface is artificial turf.

The most common types of pitches are:

  • Sand-dressed pitch (also known as astro-turf)
  • Water-based pitch

The water or sand acts as a wearing factor for the carpet.

Hockey Sticks

The hockey stick is used to dribble or hit the ball. Traditionally hockey sticks were made of a wood called Mulberry, however as the game evolved so did the hockeyhockey stick sticks. Technology advancements of the 1990s gave rise to the use of materials such as carbon fibre, Kevlar and fibreglass in the manufacture of hockey sticks, using composite materials. Today composite sticks are widely used and are the preferred choice over old fashioned wooden sticks.

There is a degree of variation in the size and shape of hockey sticks. Defenders often prefer to have a longer stick than attackers as they can achieve a greater reach when stopping a moving ball. The attackers generally prefer a shorter stick as it permits greater control of the ball.

Defenders may also prefer a heavier stick in order to make powerful hits of heavier tackles, whereas a attacker may prefer a lighter stick for easier ball handling. However a player’s strength may also influence their choice of stick.

The head shape of a stick can also be a factor when choosing a hockey stick. The most common shapes that are found are:

  • Shorti head
  • Maxi head
  • Hook head

hook shorti maxi

The increased surface area and more open recurve of the ‘Maxi’ head has resulted in its usage universally, with about 95% of international players opting for the ‘maxi´.

The main brands of sticks include TK, Grays, Slazenger, Byte, Kookaburra, Malik, Dita, Voodoo, Adidas, Gryphon, UberHockey, Woodworm, Brabo, Mercian and Wasp.

Hockey Ball

The hockey ball is made of hard, solid plastic and is spherical in shape. A hockey ball’s circumference normally ranges from about 8.8 inches to 9.2 inches and should weigh between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces.

Goal Keeper Kit

A fully equipped goalkeeper must wear a helmet, leg guards and kickers. Usually the hockey goalkeepers wear additional protective equipment including chest guards, padded shorts, padded hand protectors, groin protectors, arm guards, they must also carry a stick.


 hockey goal keeper

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History of Hockey


Early variations of hockey can be dated back to 200 BC in Ancient Greece, however the modern game grew from British schools in the 19th century. The game was modified by various London clubs seeing the change from a rubber cube to a sphere ball and the introduction of the shooting circles. The first international hockey match took place between Ireland and Wales in 1895.

The Hockey Association was founded in 1886 and Hockey was introduced into the Olympics in 1908.


The popularity of women’s hockey increased rapidly around the world leading to the establishment of the Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon (FIH) in 1924 and later the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) in 1927. Almost 43 years later men’s hockey was recognised under the FIH in 1970 and has surged in popularity since. Today England Hockey reports more registered men’s teams than women’s.

history of hockey


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Netball Tournaments

There are a number of leagues and tournaments. Here is a list of the most well-known competitions:


  • National Schools
  • Premier League 1
  • Premier League 2
  • Premier League 3
  • National U14 Club Finals
  • National U16 Club Finals


  • World Netball Championships
  • World Netball Youth Championships
  • Netball Europe Championships
  • Netball Europe Championships U21, U19, U17
  • Commonwealth Games
  • Fast5 Netball World Series

Participating countries: Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Malawi, Israel, England, Wales, Nothern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland.

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FAST5 Netball

What is Fast5?

Fast5 is a modified version of netball which was originally called ‘fastnet’. It is a shorter, faster variation of netball where you can make shots worth multiple points.


  • Players: Teams consist of 5 players rather than 7
  • Time: Each quarter is only 15 minutes rather than 15 minutes
  • Coaching: Fast5 allows coaching during play
  • Power Plays: Each team can nominate a ‘power play’ quarter in which each goal will count for 2 points rather than 1
  • Points: 2 and 3 point shots can be scored from outside the circle. 2 points are gained from within the outer zone and 3 points from within the super shot zone. Both can be doubled in a ‘power play’ quarter
  • Centre Passes: After each goal is scored, the team that concedes the last goal will take the centre pass instead of alternatively
  • Tied games: Tied games are settled by penalty shoot outs


Fast5 World Series

Fast5 World Series

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Rules of Netball

What do I need to play netball?netball post

The essentials:

  • netball
  • netball court
  • netball post
  • team of 7 players
  • umpires

The Rules

  • You cannot travel with the ball
  • Only 7 players per team is permitted on the court at one time
  • You cannot hit the ball out of a player’s hands
  • When defending the ball you must stand 3 feet away from the person holding the ball
  • No contact is permitted during the game
  • You cannot hold the ball for more than 3 seconds
  • Players cannot move out of the areas their position permits
  • You cannot catch the ball, release it and catch it again
  • When a ball is played out of the court, the team who last touched the ball must hand the ball over to the opponent for a throw in
  • When players are penalised for obstruction or contact they must stand beside the opponent as they take the free pass.

Technical Terms

Obstruction: When a player stands less tan 3 feet away from the opponent with the ball.

Contact: When a player touches the oppoenent with the ball.

Travelling: When a player moves more than 1 step whilst holding the ball.

Replayed: When a player catches the ball, releases the ball and catches it again.


  • Goal Keeper (GK)
  • Goal Defense (GD)
  • Wing Defense (WD)
  • Centre (C)
  • Wing Attack (WA)
  • Goal Attack (GA)
  • Goal Shooter (GS)

 The Court

netball court

The netball court is split into 3 sections called thirds. There are 2 goal thirds and one centre third and two shooting circles, also known as the ‘Ds’. There are restrictions on movements for each player:

  • GK is restricted to the respective goal third
  • GD is restricted to the respective goal third and centre third
  • WD is restricted to the respective goal third and centre third but cannot enter the circle
  • C can move freely on court except within the shooting circles
  • WA is restricted to the respective goal third and centre third but cannot enter the circle
  • GA is restricted to the respective goal third and centre third
  • GS is restricted to the respective goal third
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History of Netball

Origin of netball

Netball originated from basketball and developed as the number of women participating in sport increased.

In 1893 a physical training college in Hampstead, London established a women’s basketball team which incorporated the rules from women’s basketball in the United States. Later, they changed the rules of the game as well as the equipment, replacing the basketball net with a ring attached to a post.


After the first set of rules were published in 1901, netball was introduced to other countries within the British Empire. The popularity of the game increased rapidly and was played in schools throughout the Empire. In 1963 the first international tournament was held in Eastbourne, England.

A variation of netball called Fast5 Netball has emerged in 2008.


In the late 1980’s men’s netball emerged in Australia and by 2006 both men’s and mixed netball is played all around the world.