Hear from our Sport and Exercise Science students, Savannah and Taylor, about the opportunities they have had since starting their course, and how they led a testing day with Kidderminster Harriers Football Club.
1. What opportunities have you had on the course so far
"We've carried out football-specific fitness tests."
S: On Thursday 1 February academy players from Kidderminster Harriers Football Club attended a Sport Science taster session at our City South campus. This involved them taking part in many football-specific fitness tests.
2. How did you get involved with this?
"We had to submit our CV’s. It's good experience."
T: Our course tutor, Richard Blagrove made us aware of this opportunity in our lecture and encouraged us to apply. In order to apply we had to submit our CV’s as well as a 250-word statement saying why we should be given this opportunity. This is similar to if it was an actual job outside of the university, giving us good experience in simply applying for these sorts of roles.
3. What activities did you carry out on the day?
"It was an incredible opportunity!"
S: Coaching is not something I have experience in, however on the day, I was instructed by the staff in the department to lead the Fifa 11+ warm up with the footballers. This included a number of fast paced drills to increase the heart rate, further exercises to engage the large muscle groups, then finally finishing with sports specific drills to work on agility. This was an incredible opportunity! To be able to get involved and instruct the players myself so early in my degree programme has given me so much confidence for the future. During the 2x2hr session I worked with groups of 4 players helping test and demonstrate how to use the equipment used in fitness testing.
T: I completed fitness testing with a small group of players from the U18s and U23s squad. The fitness tests were made relevant to football and included tests such as a 20m Sprint, 505 agility, anthropometric measures, counter movement jump, sit and reach, handgrip strength, Nordic board hamstring test and reactive speed through the large Batak board. Before completing these tests, I asked the football players to complete a PAR-Q to ensure they were ready and able to complete the tests.
4. What did you gain from this experience?
"It gave me good insight into what it is like to work with high level athletes."
S: By collecting all the data from the players over the course of the day, the scores and timings were analysed for each player with relevant benchmarks to support their individual development programme by seeing where they sit on the average of elite youth football player’s U18s and U23s. This is something that the club and players can assess and demonstrate improvements if they are to come back for testing in several months’ time and beyond.
By establishing strong partnerships with professional clubs in the region such as Kidderminster Harrier Football Club this will most certainly open doors to offer coaching and work experience placements for many students within the Sport and Exercise Department.
T: I believe this work experience gave me a good insight into what it is like to work with high level athletes and the amount of precision you need when carrying out the tests so that you can re-test them and accurately monitor their progress. I also believe that my communication skills were improved because this was the first time I had worked with athletes through a sport science perspective, so you had to be clear in your explanations of each station and the rationale behind each station so that the athletes understood how and why they were doing each of the tests.
5. What do you hope to do in the future?
"I'm looking forward to specialising in a specific sport science discipline."
S: As a previous sprinter and now hockey player, I cannot wait to use more of the biomechanics lab and fitness suite here at the City South campus! My interests currently lie within Anti-Doping in sport and this is something I am so excited to gain knowledge of during my time here.
T: I am very much looking forward to working with more high level athletes and helping them improve through the use of sport science. As well as furthering my own knowledge to improve myself as a sports scientist and hopefully specialise down a specific sport science discipline.