Sports centre’s aim to inspire Olympic spirit

A SPORTS centre is hoping to inspire the next generation of Olympians, following on from the success of the 2012 Games.

Andy Hodder, manager of Battle Sports Centre, wants to encourage more young people to take up sports and make the most of the much-heralded Olympic Legacy.

But despite running more than 20 different clubs for youngsters and attracting a host of quality coaches, Andy says not enough young people are taking advantage of the opportunities the centre has to offer.

Andy said: “It frustrates me when I hear on news programmes that there are not enough youngsters playing sports.

“We have got some great coaches, we offer some great stuff and people are not using it as much as they should do.”

Many of the junior coaches at Battle Sports Centre have a fine sporting pedigree.

Brighton and Hove Albion junior coaches teach mini football to 4-7 year olds on Saturday morning, whilst Thursday evening trampolining is taken by Brian Moore, who has coached world champions.

And of course there is the award-winning Westerleigh Judokwai, run by Paul Everest, a Special Olympics GB coach.

Andy is passionate about sports for young people and in his previous job he used to run inter-schools sports competitions in the Hastings and Rother area.

During his two-and-a-half years in charge at Battle Sports Centre, Andy has introduced a raft of new classes, with plans for more junior activities inspired by the Olympics.

These include a handball club for 11-16 year olds which is due to start on Monday evenings in November.

The centre is one of the only facilities in the local area to have a climbing wall.

This not only serves a junior climbing club but is also open for youth groups such as the Scouts and Guides to use.

Andy said: “It’s also about engaging young people so they have something to do.

“It’s got to be the way forward.”

Battle Sports Centre can be found at Claverham Community College in North Trade Road.

After 5pm on weekdays and out of school hours, the facility is open for public use.

As well as a wide selection of youth clubs, there are plenty of adult classes to enjoy, from basketball to badminton and from table tennis to Tai Chi.

A new dance studio opened at the centre just three years ago and plays host to numerous classes, including Fitsteps, a new fitness programme put together by professional dancers from TV’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The centre is also used as a base for numerous local sports teams.

The main sports hall, which was recently refurbished, hosts a long-running indoor stoolball league, which features teams from all over Sussex, including local teams Burwash, Sedlescombe, Brightling and Pett.

Claverham has also recently purchased new cricket nets and bowling machines, which are frequently used by local clubs looking for pre-season practice.

Andy said: “We have got a strong focus on young people and at the same time we try and look at what we have got to offer adults in terms of classes and facilities.

“We are a community sports centre, there for the local population.

“And that’s what it’s all about - putting things on for the local community.”

To find our more about Battle Sports Club and what it has to offer, visit http://www.battlesportscentre.com/index.html or call Andy on 01424 774772.