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Routes into Sport – University of Cumbria

Routes into Sport – University of Cumbria


Currently a first team strength conditioning
coach at Burnley Football Club, working day to day with professional players and trying
to elicit maximal potential from them. I’m now employed by British Cycling and my
role is development officer for coaching and competition, looking at developing the Go
Ride programme, which is the entry level cycling programme for young people right up to the
age of 23, and it feeds directly into the British Cycling performance pathway.
I’m currently studying for a PhD in Sports Science, which is a three-year full-time course
and I’m also a graduate teaching assistant, so I’m teaching on the Sports Science undergraduate
course as well. Straight after uni, I went to an internship,
full-time internship, with Blackburn Rovers Football Club, with the performance analysis
department. So that’s basically working with the first team and the under-21s, looking
at all the pre-match, in-match and post-match processes, really, to work with the manager,
the coaches and the players to try and improve performance and ultimately develop the players
if it’s under-21s and develop the players and earn as many points as possible with the
first team. My role as first team strength conditioning
coach at Burnley is predominantly in the gym with the players. So I’ll do a lot of maximal
strength exercise and maximal power exercises with the players. At the minute, we’ve got
GPS monitors in at the club which track total distances of the players. We get a good breakdown
of sort of high intensity distance and accelerations as well, so we can give the coaches a complete
overview of the day and then ideally the week, and then the month as well. At the moment,
we’re trying to integrate that match data into our complete training loads, so we can
get an overview of what that player’s done for the whole month, which is obviously useful
for periodisation and trying to track if a player’s played too much or not played enough
and then kind of flags up injury risk as well with that.
My day to day work is within the British Cycling head offices here at the Velodrome in Manchester.
And my role is ensuring that the coaches around the country responsible for the Go Ride programme
and the people at the clubs have the resources that they need to do their job.
I’m a football development officer at the Cumberland FA. My role, basically, is to monitor
the delivery of football within the county and my specific role is looking after inclusion
football, so that’s disability football and women’s and girls’ specific.
Since leaving uni, me and a lad I graduated with, we’ve opened our own clinic based mainly
in Carlisle. We’ve recently opened a second one in Barrow-in-Furness as well. We’re specialising
in musculo-skeletal injuries, sports deep tissue massage…
I’m employed by the the FA – the Football Association – as an FA Tesco Skills Coach,
so it’s kind of going into schools and delivering high quality PE to the national curriculum.
We run skills centres and free summer holiday events as well, so kids can come in and play
football or have a bit of fun for free. So I’m employed by Westmorland County Football
Association and my role involves two parts. The first part is as a community coach. I
go around local schools coaching kids from about 4 up to 11 years old, and I also do
football fun days in summer holidays and half terms.
I’m now employed by Lancashire Football Association as the College and Community Football Co-ordinator.
Basically, we’ve got 26 colleges that are registered or affiliated to Lancashire FA.
Across them 26, I work mainly within them with the staff to try and develop and create
participation opportunities for those students that don’t already access football, and that’s
women and girls, male and disability as well, so it’s a mixture of everything.
Since I left university, I went – I was part of a company called Thunder who do coaching
in schools, so I was their specialist gymnastics and dance coach, as I’ve got a lot of experience
in gymnastics, specifically. So I went into primary schools, so working with children
aged 4-11. As a progression from my dissertation at undergrad,
and obviously I’m on a PhD now, I’m looking at how gate velocity affects gait patterns
and posture between younger adults and older adults. So we’re looking at the difference
between younger adults and older adults, and we’ve got to focus on the speed of walking,
and seeing if there’s any difference in gait variables or the posture, with the focus on
the speed of walking. And then I got a job as a development assistant
for a foundation that do VIP events for seriously ill and disabled children, so we have stuff
at, like, Wembley, Anfield, we do a lot of stuff with Rugby League, and then, Man City
and stuff like this. So, yeah, I was at Wembley a couple of weeks ago, I’m off to Wembley
next month. I’ve been to Leeds and I’ve been to Anfield in the executive boxes, so I’ve
got a lot of jealous friends around that particular job.
I’m also a coach at Oldham Athletic. Alongside my university qualifications, I studied my
football qualifications. When I joined the University of Cumbria I was level 1. Studied
my level 2 and level 3 during my time there, so I finished with a degree and these qualifications.
And, yeah, so now I work in a professional football club’s youth academy and, again,
it’s what I dreamed of doing. It’s what I really, really enjoy – on the ground contact
with young players, it’s great! When I first got the role, nearly two years
ago now, that was all full-time disability football and that was in partnership with
Carlisle United, so my role there was just to pretty much grow and retain the number
of disability teams within the county, as well as raising the standards that we already
have here. And then a few months ago, that kind of widened to more of an inclusive role
and took on women’s and girls’ as well. The second part of my role is as an assistant
football development officer. Within that, I lead on women’s and girls’ development and
Football Futures programme, which is for young people aged 12-19. We look to give them the
opportunities they need to get involved with football.
And obviously, as you can see, the perks are here. This is the GB National Team just getting
ready for their session behind us and we get to use the track ourselves, which is fantastic.
It’s a real rush. My dissertation is actually the thing that
I look back on my degree most fondly, really. As stressful as it was, it’s that time where
you’re doing your own research, it’s something that you’re really passionate about, and the
skills that you learn from it, and what you learn about yourself from doing it, is probably
the most influential thing that I experienced throughout my degree. And from now, doing
that, gaining that passion for research and in the area that I did it in, that’s what
I’m now continuing to do in my PhD. So from doing that, the whole dissertation of that
last year, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now if I hadn’t have done that and
I hadn’t enjoyed that so much. The events management module where you had
to go out there as a group of students and deliver an event was massive, and is probably
the one thing that I take into my day to day job when I’m putting events together and working
with groups and delivering activities. The contacts that I managed to gain through
lecturers at the university helped me get a placement at Blackburn Rovers whilst I was
still a student, and also the summer placement that was part of the course kind of forced
me to go and get a placement, and I was lucky enough to get one at Chelsea Football Club,
so it certainly played a big part in helping me get into analysis full time.
I think with the different nature of the course and the structure of it, with doing lectures,
seminars, lab practicals, I think having that experience and learning those different skills
and competencies have massively helped me in what I do now. And it’s informed my teaching
approach with the different types of styles and strategies that I use now and what I think
is going to benefit students learning.

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