Friday, 29 May 2015

Coaching Qualifications...

Coaching Qualifications are a great thing to have when you're interested in a career in Sport! They can help advance your own knowledge of a sport, help you develop as a performer and as a coach. I originally got mine because I needed them to work as a sports coach but since coming to Uni they have found me countless jobs and opportunities!

Lots of people at Uni say to me that they are interested in doing them but they cost a lot of money and/or they can't find a course... Well, yes they will cost some money but see it as an investment, and there are plenty of schemes about to help with the cost. For example a few years ago the FA ran women only coaching courses for FREE to train more women to become football coaches as part of their 'getting women/girls playing football' campaign. The 'This Girl Can' Campaign by Sport England may also have funding to help some into coaching. Consider less traditional sports too - archery, canoeing, fencing, goalball are just the beginning!

Finding a course, on the other hand is something I can help with!

Sports Coach UK and 1st 4 Sport are a great place to start, as well as your governing body for your own sport. There are plenty of courses running for a wide variety of sports so have a look, even at sports you've never tried, and see what you think. Each sport will have their own ranking system of qualifications for coaches but a general rule is that a Level 1 course is for those who are looking to be an assistant coach, are just getting into a sport or are still Juniors; Level 2 courses are for coaches who want to run their own sessions. Most sports require that you complete a Level 1 before a Level 2 so consider that when you are thinking about booking courses - don't book on to a Level 2 before completing your Level 1! National Governing Bodies of sports are also a good place to look - for example the FA, British Gymnastics, England Athletics, Badminton England etc...

Once you are qualified, advertise that you are! Contact your local council, they might have some work for you, and if not they can point you in the direction of places to advertise your services. With a coaching qualification usually comes a DBS Check (CRB), a first aid qualification and a safeguarding certificate (you have to get these in order to pass the coaching qualification - you will be advised as to how to obtain these) which are all useful in helping you to get placements or work in a variety of settings. They also look great on Uni applications!

Please leave a comment if you have any specific questions about coaching or specific sports and I will do my best to answer them!

Friday, 22 May 2015

One Trick Pony...

This weeks blog is about not being a one trick pony when it comes to applying for Uni. If all you can talk about in your personal statement and at interview is how much you love sport, you'll be at the bottom of the pile! Now if you're applying for a sports course that may seem strange, but Universities want people who are willing to try different things, who have a breadth of experiences not just within sport but outside of it too!

One of my lectures this year actually told us in an employability lecture that if she is reading personal statements/job applications/conducting interviews and all the person can talk about is football then they 'get filed under rubbish'. So from the horses mouth you need to be getting different experiences within sport and outside it. 

This weekend I'm in Wales with my Choir for a weekend of performances and 'socialising'. When I was applying for Uni I made sure that I spoke about my choir, my voluntary work and a range of sports that I was involved in. These TRANSFERABLE SKILLS are what make you stand out from the crowd!

This Summer is a great opportunity to get some experiences! You can do things voluntarily (people are always looking for volunteers!) or even get paid to do it! Coaching companies such as Sports Xtra or Premier Sport (others are available) often run holiday clubs/camps for kids and are looking for people to work for them during the summer holidays. I found it really good fun to work with the kids, I went rock climbing, swimming, canoeing and loads of other things with them - and I got paid to do it! Have a look for jobs like these to broaden your horizons within sport - especially if you want to become a teacher!

Outside of sport is more tricky for some - I've always been a musician too so for me it wasn't difficult. If you don't know where to start try googling hobbies and seeing what comes up. Wood work? Drama? Art? Photography? Gardening? Music? Vintage Cars? Bird Watching? You don't know until you try it!

Make the most of your summer and get lots of experiences - you need to start applying for jobs now ready for the summer, especially for the coaching/kids camp ones!

Friday, 15 May 2015


This time of year sucks! It's really sunny... but you have to revise for exam season! I have written previously about revision, but now I'm going to focus on the exam! This is from my previous experiences and this seems to work for me.

Revision stops for me at dinner time on the night before - I just chill out after dinner and take my mind away from the exam. I get an early-ish night and make sure that I have packed everything I need for my exam in the morning.

In the morning I wake up with plenty of time to shower, wash and dry my hair and have breakfast at a leisurely pace. It takes me a while to fully wake up and so I want to make sure I am awake by exam time! Then I leave the house allowing plenty of travel time.

Once I get to school/uni for my exam I have a quick last look over anything I'm particularly worried about or want to get into my head. I make sure that on the outside I'm looking fairly chilled and relaxed because it seems to convince my mind that it feels the same!

When it comes to opening the paper I always get that little heart flutter of 'this is it'. My mum gave me a piece of advice when I was doing my GCSEs that has helped with exams ever since - take three long and deep breaths and then remind yourself that you are going to do your best because that's all anyone can ask for!

Here are a few things that I do to help calm my nerves under exam conditions:

  1. Set out my table how I want it - Pens at the top right, pencils top left with a rubber and pencil sharpener in the corner, ruler underneath, everything in line with the table edges. I adjust my chair so that I am comfortable. This is my way of owning the space and making my self feel less like it's a big scary exam hall.
  2. Deep, slow breathing - always a good one! If you tend to work yourself up try a quick breathing exercise whilst waiting for everyone to be seated. Its called the 4-7-8 breathing technique (4 seconds breathing in, hold for 7 seconds, 8 seconds breathing out). Some people say it makes them feel sleepy but if you are feeling anxious or stress, doing this a couple of times really helps focus you - plus the physiological benefits.
  3. When you leave the exam don't talk about it! It's in the past there is nothing you can do! Dissecting it question by question is not going to help your stress levels so move on and do something different. If you have other exams take a bit of time to chill before getting back into revision, even an hour or two will help!
             Good luck to everyone taking exams! Just remember it's a small part of you life and who you are!

Friday, 8 May 2015


This week it's all about Halls! I personally have never lived in halls (you can read my commuter blog from earlier in the year if you are thinking about Commuting) but many of my friends have - so I thought I would give you an insiders view of living in halls...

You can find lots more information about Living at Beds or specifically about Liberty living by clicking the hyper links. I would recommend attending an open day and taking a tour of the different accommodation that is available, plus you can then ask any questions you may have. 

Friday, 1 May 2015


This time of year for most students can be pretty stressful, what with exams, assignments, finding summer jobs and wanting to be outside in the sunshine instead! I thought I would write this weeks blog from my own struggles with stress and what I have learned to do to deal with it.

So here goes:

  1. It's ok to feel stressed! Sometimes stress is a good thing (for example if you were being chased by dinosaurs and didn't bat an eyelid, you would probably get eaten very quickly!) but more often than not - it's normal! You are not weak if you are stressed or show signs of being stressed - it's just part of life.
  2. Know the signs of your stress. I personally get very physical signs, like heart palpitations, fidgety or restlessness, but others don't. I know some people get very insular and don't really fancy doing anything, even going down the pub for a catch up and I know others who will do anything and everything apart from face what's stressing them out. It's different for everyone but knowing your own symptoms will help you cope with it.
  3. Talk to someone about it. I know people say this a lot but it really does help. I would never speak to someone I knew about things like that but I could speak to a stranger about it - so I did. Having had that experience I now feel more comfortable talking to my friends and family. The people you have around you will support you, so don't be afraid to talk. If you genuinely feel you can't then write it down. Just getting thoughts out of your head will help you make sense of it all.
  4. Work out how to alleviate your stress. For some people walking away from what is stressing them out and coming back to it works. For others they need to face it head on, deal with it and power forward. I found that I was different in different situations, which makes things more tricky to work out in the first instance, but once you get to grips with it you'll know what to do quite quickly. 
  5. Some ways I reduce stress my levels are to make sure I get enough sleep, exercise and being outdoors if it's nice weather, listening to music, watching films and drinking a cup of hot, sweet tea. Never underestimate the healing powers of a cuppa!

This is just from my own experiences and everyone is different. Hopefully by writing about it people will feel able to deal with stress in a positive way.

There are counselling services available all over the country, through schools, universities and charities, so if you want to talk to someone but feel you have no where to go, have a look for these services.