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Mental Skills Training day for Youth Voice at the University of Birmingham!

Image description: A photo of members of Youth Voice listening to Dr Grace Tidmarsh explain what the MST one day workshop will entail at the University of Birmingham.

On Friday the 28th of July 2023 the SPRINT Project were delighted to welcome the St Basils Youth Advisory Board to the University of Birmingham for a one-day Mental Skills Training (MST) workshop.

After getting to know each other in a fun ice-breaker activity led by Tamzin Reynolds-Rosser, National Youth Engagement Manager at St Basils, the SPRINT Projects’ Dr Grace Tidmarsh and Dr Mary Quinton explained what Mental Skills Training is, how it originates in sport psychology, and that it can benefit everyone. We then got stuck into some activities that are used within the My Strengths Training for Life (MST4Life™) programme and featured in our MST Toolkits. These included making Confidence Jars that are filled with personalised reasons to feel confident, and thinking about what our own strengths are, and how we can enhance these, through completing Strengths Profiles.

Image description: A photo of MST4Life Confidence Jars with 2 octopus plushies.

Following lunch time refueling, SPRINT Project PhD student Georgia Bird and Research Associate Dr Sally Reynard led a scavenger hunt safari around campus. To complete this successfully, teams had to find various campus locations and features, and discover the answers to questions about the University of Birmingham.

Image description: Photos of the outside of the Lapworth Museum, a dinosaur skeleton inside the Lapworth Museum, a mermaid water fountain, and a sign that states 'We generate 75% of our own energy', at the University of Birmingham.

After a cow-themed duel to determine the scavenger hunt winners, we took part in an outdoor activity game to re-energise!

Image description: Two photos of members of Youth Voice and the SPRINT Project team playing an outdoor activity game on grass outside the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, at the University of Birmingham.

Last but not least, we heard from the wonderful Deborah Cook, Centre Manager at the Raymond Priestly Centre in Coniston, Lake District. Deb explained what kind of activities and adventures will be available when members of Youth Voice head there in the Autumn to continue their Mental Skills Training.


Find out how members of Youth Voice experienced the MST one-day workshop below!

"Before the My Skills Training, I was very anxious and apprehensive and the thought of the residential was scaring me quite a bit, however, that has now changed. The whole day was fun but also very informative. Throughout the day, all the staff were lovely and were very helpful and supportive when we needed it. I loved doing the confidence jar, it is such a good idea, and I will definitely continue to keep adding to it. As someone that struggles to see positives on the days I am struggling more, the jar will help me be more positive about myself. Focusing on each other’s strengths helped us in the safari challenge and we got to know each other better. Finding out more about the residential and getting to know some of the activities we will have a chance to do has helped my anxiety and I am now even more excited for it. I know it will be an amazing opportunity for me to grow as a person and for everyone on Youth Advisory Board to become closer and work together even better."

"I felt anxious before we arrived but once we got there, I started to feel more comfortable as the day went on. After Friday I learnt more things about myself. I’m excited for the residential and I can’t wait to learn more about myself and how we can put our skills altogether to achieve tasks."

"I felt nervous but excited for Friday, however once I got there, I no longer felt scared, and I felt very relaxed and a part of the team. I learnt about all the activities on the residential and we worked through mental skills. I’m excited for the residential as I feel as a team we have gelled very well and I’m sure we will have an amazing time."

You can also watch an Instagram video of the day here, which was put together by St Basils.


Are you interested in finding out more about our full MST4Life programme and the Raymond Priestley Centre? You can check out our related webpages here. You can also download our MST Toolkits here, where you can find more information about the MST skills that can benefit everyone!

Image description: A photo of members of Youth Voice, St Basils staff, members of the SPRINT Project team and Deborah Cook from the Raymond Priestly Centre stood in the atrium at the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, at the University of Birmingham.


Photo credit: Dr Mary Quinton, Dr Grace Tidmarsh, Dr Sally Reynard, Georgia Bird.

Written by Dr Sally Reynard, Research Associate in the SPRINT Project.

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