Idris is a fourth-year student on the MSci (hons) Sport and Exercise Science with Professional Placement course at Bath.
Taking my course knowledge into the working world
My university degree has given me the foundational and theoretical knowledge that I know is essential to become a successful strength and conditioning coach. And now, being on placement has enabled me to add another layer of understanding around the practical implications of theory and, most importantly, to work with and support the development of young people.
While on placement with the athletic development team at Millfield School, the one thing that has struck me most is the importance of building meaningful relationships with pupils, coaches, and teachers to provide the best support to our young sports people. Developing trust and respect, and understanding individual needs, are what I believe are the key attributes that have led me to become more effective in my coaching delivery.
In addition, during my placement at Millfield, I have come to understand the importance of integrating into the culture of an organisation and how important it is to continually uphold the highest standard of practice both within my coaching - through evidence-based practice - and outside of coaching - by contributing positively to the community in which I am working.
A learning experience
I have learnt so much being on placement. I have been able to take ownership of my programmes and review their success with fellow coaches and my placement supervisors. I have also learnt that good conversations are important to support good practice. Working in a multidisciplinary environment, I am taking every opportunity to learn from fellow practitioners. I have opened myself up to be challenged in my critical thinking, which has ultimately led to developments in my coaching. Similarly, I have learnt to not be afraid to challenge both my peers and the young athletes that I coach to support their own development.
An essential stepping stone
It is clear to me the value of industry-based placement programmes in bridging the gap between textbook and real-world practice. It has provided me with the opportunity to embed myself in an organisation and I appreciate the importance of working and connecting with people to contribute to the aims of the school. Having benefited from a supportive placement programme with a network of mentors and supervisors who were invested in contributing positively to my experiences as a student, I would recommend this as an essential stepping stone to all students for any prospective career.
Without this placement, I would never have been given the chance to collaborate with respected strength coaches to conduct my own research and submit my findings to the UK Strength & Conditioning Association (UKSCA). It has given me a taste of the sporting industry, one that I will never forget.