Chris Froome Completes Historic Tour de France Triumph

The three-week Tour de France came to an end over the weekend as Britain’s Chris Froome was crowned champion for the second time in his career. The victory means that Froome becomes the first Briton ever to win the tour twice, and at just 30 years of age, the Team Sky athlete has plenty of potential to add to his current haul of titles. Froome completed the 2,200 mile race in 84 hours, 46 minutes and 14 seconds, beating Columbia’s Nairo Quintana and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde to secure the gold jersey and etch his name in the history books once more.

There were a record 10 Britons at this year’s event. The highest ranking Brit after Froome was his teammate Geraint Thomas, who finished in 15th position. Elsewhere, sprint specialist Mark Cavendish had a mixed tour as he finished in 142nd place. While he took his overall tally of Tour Stage wins to 26 after winning Stage 7, he was also accused of giving up in a sprint on Stage 2 – something Cavendish reacted angrily to.

Froome’s victory was an impressive one, as he led the general classification since Stage 7. His powerful riding made sure that he never dropped out of the top two positions after the third stage. He was even leading the pack by three minutes 10 seconds right up until the last Thursday. The highlight of Froome’s Tour de France possibly came during Stage 10, as he broke away from the competition with four miles left to add a huge extension to his lead and set the tone for the rest of the event.

Froome also took home the Polka jersey during the event, making him the first rider since Eddy Merckx in 1970 to win both the overall race and mountain classification in the same year. The green jersey, rewarding consistently high finishes on each stage, went to Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, after he finished in the top five positions on 10 different stages. The 25-year-old Quintana didn’t leave empty-handed either, awarded the white jersey for being the best young rider – the second time he’s collected it in three years.

The competition was fierce among the big four, Froome, Quintana, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali, at this year’s Tour de France. Quintana finished just 72 seconds behind Froome overall, after claiming that he lost the race on Stage 2 where he finished a disappointing 88 seconds after the Brit. Nibali, the defending champion, lost time on Stages 2, 8 and 9, and faded as the tour progressed, although he did well to win Stage 19. Froome’s victory ensures that he will be remembered as one of the greats of British cycling for many years to come, and he will be hoping to add to his already impressive list of achievements as he enters the peak of his career.

Scream like You’re Losing if You Want to Win

Following the Wimbledon final, we’ve decided to take a look at tennis. One thing which seems universal across the world of tennis is their ability to scream at each other. Whether you’re watching men, women or children play, there’s a signature grunt after every swing which lets you know that tennis is happening. Considering no other sport seems to scream or grunt as much as they do in tennis, is there a reason for it, or is it just a weird tennis thing?

As it turns out, there’s actually a very good reason for it – two in fact. Tennis, like golf, is a sport where the crowd are expected to remain silent. If you’ve ever been to a professional tennis match you’ll know that the game will not start until you can hear a pin drop. This is because tennis is a mind game just as much as it is a game of physical exertion. Let’s be honest – the sound of silence punctuated by the rhythmic thwack of the racket followed by a shrill grunt or scream is disconcerting for everybody watching. The important point here is that screaming is cathartic – it relaxes the person doing the screaming. On the other hand, it serves to throw off the person at the other end of the court.

The classic “come on” which is shouted at the opponent really does psyche out the opponent. Sharapova’s “come on” is the thing of nightmares, striking fear into the hearts of not just the opponent but anyone watching. Petra Kvitova’s Czech equivalent “pojd” serves the same purpose. Controlled studies have shown that when players weren’t allowed to scream, reactions were delayed by as much as 33 milliseconds. That may not seem like a lot but considering the world record fastest serve was 163.7mph (Samuel Groth, 2012), 0.33s is a long time to delay. If you can throw your opponent off for even a fraction of a second, you have the upper hand.

Tennis isn’t simply mind games though – skill, strength and speed are crucial when it comes to placing the ball exactly where you want it to go. Tennis isn’t the only sport where players shout either. Ask any martial artist and they will tell you that there’s a very good physical reason to kiai (shout) after a strike. This shout not only empties the chest cavity, reducing the change of getting winded by a counterattack, but allows you to strike your opponent with maximum strength. The same goes for tennis – if you want to hit the ball as hard as possible, shout as you hit it.

So when you’re standing there in your new custom tennis clothing this summer, bouncing the ball on the floor before you look up to serve, remember why it is that you scream. Relax, focus, and remember our advice here at Team Colours – scream like you’re losing if you want to win.

5 Players to Watch at Wimbledon 2015

Here at Team Colours we love tennis. Tennis players, tennis courts, tennis wear – we love it all. With the Wimbledon tennis tournament coming up fast we’ve taken a look at the top 5 tennis players to watch out for this summer. These five men and women have proven time and again that they have what it takes on the court, delivering result, after result, after result. In fact, we would go so far as to say that these 5 are some of the greatest tennis players of all time. We hope you’re excited for the tournament to start at the end of June – remember that if these tennis prodigies inspire you to get out there and practice your serve, you can get all of the custom tennis clothing you need right here at Team Colours today.

Roger Federer

Singles Ranking: 2

Having played a total of 36 Grand Slams to the quarter-finals, with a record 17 wins among those, Roger Federer is undoubtedly one of the greatest tennis players to have ever hit the court. This Swiss tennis star is the player which young and upcoming tennis prodigies aspire to be. A player who is as graceful as he is skilful, Roger Federer is the player to watch if you’re looking to pick up on the techniques the pros use. Federer last won the Wimbledon tournament back in 2012, and is one of the favourites to take home the trophy this year.

The Williams Sisters

Singles Rankings: Serena (1) Venus (16)

These two sisters are famous in tennis. Everywhere you go, their names are spoken – not surprising considering they have both won both Wimbledon and the US Open. This pair of sisters are both impressive on the court, but considering Serena last won Wimbledon back in 2012, most tennis fans are expecting incredible results from her again this year.

Rafael Nadal

Singles Ranking: 10

The man from Mallorca is known for his tenacity on the court and his willingness to fight for every single point. This relentless determination is what got him through a severe knee injury which critics thought would end his career. Instead this Spaniard came back stronger than ever. With eight French Open titles under his belt, Rafael Nadal is undoubtedly the greatest clay-court player of all time.

Martina Hingis

Singles Ranking: Unranked

Hingis has not taken part in Wimbledon’s Singles event since 2007. That being said, there’s no doubting Hingis’ abilities on the court. With five grand slam titles and a win-loss record that puts others to shame, Hingis has been a tennis pro since the ripe old age of 14 and even spent an impressive 209 weeks as the world’s number one player. After damaging the ligaments in both of her ankles in 2002, Hingis was forced to withdraw from professional tennis, but it appears that she is finally ready to make a comeback. We don’t know how Martina Hingis will fare this year, but with her impressive history, she will definitely be a player worth watching.

Novak Djokovic

Singles Ranking: 1

The winner of last year’s Wimbledon men’s singles tournament, and at least one international tournament every year since 2011, Novak Djokovic is definitely a player worth watching. 2011 was a particularly good year for this Serbian star, when he claimed an impressive 10 titles, including 10 Grand Slams. Haven beaten the likes of Federer and Nadal, with an impressive career Win-Loss record of 645-143, Djokovic is another of the favourites to win Wimbledon this year. Keep an eye on him if you’re looking for ways to improve your game.

The Top 5 Pre-game Rituals in Sports

Athletes can be a superstitious bunch. If you win one game after doing something weird or unique, you may find yourself wanting to do the same before every game. Whether you’re a fan of tribal war dances or attacking commentators with talcum powder before the big game, there’s one pre-game ritual which every successful athlete needs. Whatever your sport make sure that you step onto the field, court or pitch in high quality custom sportswear from Team Colours today.

The Haka

Without any shadow of a doubt, the Haka is the most aggressive, most intimidating pre-game ritual in professional sports. Imagine facing off against the All Blacks – New Zealand’s rugby team – after watching them slapping their arms and thighs in perfect unison, shouting at you in a foreign language. This Maori war dance has been performed at every All Blacks game for over 100 years, and when it’s directed at you it is terrifying.

Whatever Usain Bolt Feels Like Doing

The greatest sprinter the world has ever known is exceptionally good at pleasing the crowd before he even takes to the starting blocks. From telling the crowd to shush to doing the robot, Usain Bolt is always a joy to watch. He says that he thinks about anything but running until moments before the race – maybe that’s why his rituals and celebrations seems to change with every race – we’re still fond of his shuffle – but whatever Usain Bolt feels like doing, both before and after his races, you can almost guarantee that all eyes will be on him.

The Powder Clap

Michael Jordan is famous for more than just the movie Space Jam. This basketball legend had an infamous pre-game ritual in every game which Johnny Kerr found himself commentating. Just before the game he’d take a handful of talcum powder, approach the commentator’s table and clap his hands in front of Kerr. According to Kerr this was just because Jordan loved messing up his nice suits. The fun didn’t end with Jordan’s harmless pranks though – Kerr was known to retaliate, with everything from wearing a gas mask to redirecting the powder back at Jordan with a table fan.

Sleeping with the enemy(’s clothes)

NCAA and NBA champion, Jason Terry, has a bizarre pre-game ritual which he kept going since his days at the University of Arizona. Terry would wear his opponent’s basketball kit to bed the night before a game – presumably because you can’t be intimidated by an outfit you’ve worn as pyjamas. If you’re looking to take up this bizarre ritual for yourself, simply get the design and make the basketball kit here at Team Colours.

Bobby Moore’s shorts

Not only was Bobby Moore one of the top 5 British sportsmen of all time, he had a fascinating pre-game ritual which he must have felt made him play better. Curiously, Moore was always the last person in the changing room to put his shorts on, claiming that it kept his shorts well ironed, and kept the crease smart. Before one game when Martin Peters, his team-mate at West Ham, caught wind of this ritual he put the idea to the test. He waited for Moore to put on his shorts, before taking his own back off. Moore, adamant in his ritual, took his shorts back off in protest.

10 Rugby Facts You Might Not Already Know

In honour of the upcoming Rugby World Cup, Team Colours thought it would be a good idea to give our readers some extra rugby education. Prince Harry and Jonny Wilkinson recently launched the 100-day countdown until the much anticipated event. The Webb Ellis Cup will now begin to make its way around the country as part of a UK tour. If the cup is coming to a high street near you, read these top facts as great conversation starters.

  1. Rugby is reported to have originated back in 1823 at the Rugby School in Warwickshire. It’s said that whilst playing football, William Webb decided to pick up the ball and run towards the opposing goal. There isn’t much hard evidence to support this story, but the first Rugby rules were drafted around twenty years later in 1845.
  2. Have you wondered why rugby balls have their unique shape? The first ever rugby balls were made from pigs’ bladders by Richard Lindon. Apparently, pigs’ bladders naturally take on the oval shape when inflated.
  3. Despite the fact that The All Blacks, New Zealand’s Rugby team, are considered the best rugby team in the world, America’s team are still in fact the reigning Olympic Rugby champions. The sport was discontinued at Olympic level in 1924.
  4. Unlike most sports, no single team who has won the Rugby World Cup has managed to keep it two tournaments in a row. This certainly makes for an exciting World Cup tournament.
  5. It was actually a rugby coach that created basketball. He wanted to create a form of indoor sporting activity to keep his rugby players fit in between seasons.
  6. Tries are unique to rugby due to the fact that originally a player wouldn’t receive any points for crossing the line. Instead they would get an opportunity to try to kick at the goal.
  7. The first ever Rugby game took place between Scotland and England. Scotland won.
  8. The player with the highest number of international tries is Daisuke Ohata of Japan with a total of 69 tries over 58 matches. Rugby was said to be introduced in Japan by a Cambridge University instructor who taught the sport as an extra-curricular activity.
  9. South Africa is one of the most successful Rugby nations in the world. The sport was initially introduced to the country by British troops who were stationed in Cape Town.
  10. The All Blacks are one of the most famous teams in the world, not only for their skill, but for the cultural Maori war dance that is performed by the players before a game. The Haka is traditionally performed by tribes and cultural groups across New Zealand.

Top Sports for Getting You in to Great Shape

It’s all very well spending hours pounding the treadmill, but when it comes to your overall fitness, there is nothing better than getting involved with team sports. Not only will joining a team enhance your physical wellbeing, it will also do great things for your emotional and mental wellbeing too. Continue reading Top Sports for Getting You in to Great Shape

The Top 5 British Team Sportsmen of All Time

The pantheon of British sports stars is certainly impressive. No matter where you look you see giants like Lennox Lewis and Andy Murray. We have sports stars in every field, every discipline and every sport to boast our abilities as a nation. Some of our nation’s greatest sports stars are the embodiment of the idea that a machine is greater than the sum of its parts. Here are 5 of the greatest team sports stars Britain has produced which have inspired awe in us over the years, while striking fear in the heart of the enemy teams.

Bobby Moore

We simply couldn’t start a list like this without Bobby Moore taking pride of place. Not only was Bobby Moore one of the best defenders of all time, he was a fine captain of the English football team. He took to the pitch with charm and grace 108 times for his country, playing every single minute of each of those matches. Oh, and he won the World Cup for England too.

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson is one of the finest rugby players our nation has ever seen, leading the English team to World Cup victory back in 2003. Whichever team Martin Johnson graced, be it his home team of Leicester to the British and Irish Lions, his team almost always seemed to win.

George Best

There are few footballers as talented as George Best. Football’s first celebrity and an all-round genuinely nice guy, Best won stardom simply for being the best at what he did, and what he did was dance around the opponents and score beautiful, beautiful goals against them. In fact, we’d go so far as to say he’s one of the reasons Manchester United is so famous around the world today.

Sir Ian Botham

So far our list of sports has been decidedly British, and there are few sports more British than cricket. Sir Ian Botham is one of the greatest cricketers to have ever played for England, and one of the most idolised cricketers around the world. His showmanship and swagger as he took wickets and racked up runs really did make him a fan favourite, both during his time playing and beyond. He has held the record of 149 runs at Headingley since the 1981 series with Australia – a contest which shall forever be remembered as Botham’s Ashes.

Sir Steve Redgrave

Our final Brit in the list of the top team sports starts ever to grace the British Isles is none other than Sir Steve Redgrave – an Olympian who took the goods home for Britain five times. In a row. On top of all that, he’s also won three Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine World championship golds over his career. Not only does that make him one of the best rowers who ever lived, but he’s testament that age is no barrier to greatness. He won his fifth gold medal in Sydney when he was 38.
If you think it’s time you took up a sport, it is well worth joining a sports team in your area. Not only do you get the fitness and confidence boost that come with all those endorphins and camaraderie, but you also get to flaunt your team’s new custom sportswear. Make sure you call Team Colours when you’re in need of new sports clothing today.

Sports for Kids in Summer 2015

As we approach the summer months, the big question for parents is the same every year: how am I going to keep my children busy for that long? While technology has provided easy methods of distraction, these are only a short term fix – there’s nothing more effective than getting them involved in a sport that could inspire them for years to come.

For example, have you ever considered contacting your local athletics club? After the wave of popularity that various sports saw following the triumphant London 2012 Olympic Games, there was a spike in interest and as a result a number of clubs were able to expand to accommodate more and more members. These clubs are perfect ways to keep your child occupied and interested, as the sheer variety of sports means no two days are the same. Children of all ages can enjoy them and with over 1500 across England alone there’s never been a better time to check them out.

Here at Team Colours, we have provided a number of athletics teams with bespoke tracksuits to wear whilst training and in tournaments, and we have seen first-hand just how popular these clubs are. The earlier your child has a chance to explore sprinting, hurdles, pole vault and the like, the more chance you may have of unearthing the next Mo Farah or Jessica Ennis-Hill!

Alongside athletics, football is a clear sport of choice for many kids across the country. However, you’d be surprised to know that the number of kids actually playing on a weekly basis is at the lowest it has ever been – partly thanks to computer games, but also thanks in part to the frequency with which it is shown on TV and the rising ticket prices that have alienated a number of fans.

So why not get in touch with a local football team and get your footie mad kids in a routine that helps them emulate their favourite players? And if there are none formed in your local area, why not take advantage of our personalised kits for kids of all ages and start your own team? After the roaring success of last year’s World Cup in Brazil, make sure that the lack of summer tournaments is replaced by endless days having a kickabout with their friends.

Of course, football is a sport that isn’t for everyone, but that shouldn’t put you and your child off looking into team sports to build their social confidence as well as their physical fitness and interest in sport. For example, have you ever considered hockey? Playable on many surfaces and accessible to boys and girls from all backgrounds, it’s a perfect way to pursue that competitive spirit and isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg to kit the kids out.

With our ‘design your own’ tool, you’ll be able to hand pick the finer details of the hockey kit for your new club to ensure that they look the part when they get out onto the court for the first time. It’s a sense of pride that is difficult to harness, but with the help of our team of experts here at Team Colours it is something you can achieve in no time at all.

For more information on how to create the dream kit for your child’s summer sports team, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.