Strength and Conditioning (S&C) is an essential and enjoyable part of working with athletes and, here at MMU Sport, we’re lucky enough to have two dedicated S&C coaches working with our sports clubs, sport scholars and elite athletes.
We’re also lucky enough to have two fantastic dedicated S&C suites – one at our Cheshire campus and one at our Manchester campus – which gives us the ability to run the 1st4sport Level 1 Award in Coaching Strength and Conditioning for Sport at a subsidised rate through our Coach Education programme.
To get some insider knowledge, we spoke to our S&C coaches, Joe Collins and Dave Robshaw, to find out a little bit more about the career.
Why did you want to become an S&C coach?
Joe: “For me it was a love of sport, both playing and spectating. My family has a big background in sport science and I feel that was a contributing factor. Also a desire to perform better in my own sport, Rugby, contributed as well.”
Dave: “I’ve always wanted to work with athletes to aid their development and, having experienced various aspects of sport science support, S&C was the one I enjoyed the most.”
What steps did you both take to become an S&C coach?
Joe: “Well, first off I had to complete my degrees; this gave me a strong foundation in terms of knowledge of the relevant sciences. After that, I got accredited with the NSCA which helped give me an NGB’s seal of approval. But for me it was my applied experience both as an intern and a junior coach which really developed me in both knowledge of the job and some of the diverse problems you can face.”
Dave: “Studying on the Sport & Exercise Science undergraduate degree was a huge step as it supplied me with the theoretical knowledge I could take and apply to my practical work. Alongside my degree, I sought out new experiences; interning and volunteering with a variety of sports teams, universities and talent programmes along with getting involved in training camps based at MMU.”
Talk us through a typical ‘day in the office’ for you.
Dave: “I wouldn’t say there was a ‘typical’ day, which is partly why I enjoy my role so much. Each day brings a new challenge, especially working with the scholarship athletes as they all have very different schedules and are at different stages of their respective seasons.
“Most days I will be in the gym at 7:30/8am with either a team or scholar and will have various sessions planned throughout the day. In between working with teams and scholars, I spend a lot of time planning and programming for all the athletes and teams, so there’s a lot of work involved outside of the contact time in the gym I have with them.”
Joe: “I try and get into the gym nice and early to get myself stretched off and ready for the day, I feel it’s important I’m capable of doing everything ask my athletes to do and flexibility forms part of that. Then it is into the day’s sessions where my main goal is to improve an athlete’s performance, not necessarily making them good at lifting weights. At some point, I’ll attempt to eat my lunch and train but the athletes come first. After that, it’s off home for dinner and admin.”
And, finally, what is the best part of your job?
Joe: “For me, the best and most rewarding part of the job is to see an athlete progress and succeed at their sport.”
Dave: “It’s hard to choose one aspect above the rest as there are so many features to my job that I love. Being part of an athlete’s development is why I followed this career path, so when I see an athlete or team I’ve worked with succeed, that is obviously a huge part of why I enjoy what I do!”
So, what are the next steps? We would recommend signing up to our 1st4sport Level 1 Award in Coaching Strength and Conditioning for Sport through our Coach Education programme.
The course will give you a fantastic understanding of the fundamentals of coaching sport and planning and conducting coaching activities in sport, as well as being able to plan, conduct and evaluate coaching activities in S&C.
The course gives you the chance to gain paid or unpaid employment as an assistant S&C coach and is a great stepping stone for the Level 2 certificate. We’re also able to help you gain the additional experience you need through our Sport Volunteering programme. Just visit our website to find out more!