My Professional Training Year with Team Bath

A picture of Iona smiling

Hi, my name is Iona and I’m a Final Year Sport and Exercise Science Student. For my placement year I moved 100 miles away to Bath. I was based at the sports village at the main university and I hope to give you a snapshot of my time with Team Bath in the next few hundred words!

Throughout the year I was primarily assigned to 2 sports, netball and athletics. For context, I come from a martial arts background so neither of these were sports I performed myself, but I was keen to develop my skills as a future sport scientist in a variety of sporting disciplines.

Gaining coaching, research and analysis skills

With netball I was an assistant coach in the Superleague Strength and Conditioning sessions, where I learnt to coach in different styles and utilise different cues. Developing relationships with the athletes takes time but I found it to be a vital and rewarding process. I also did baseline SCAT5 testing, hydrotherapy, performance analysis at training and competitive games as well as observing physio clinic sessions – allowing me to see the athletes alongside all of their support team.

In athletics, I carried out skinfold testing and filmed and analysed sprinters and sprint hurdlers. This required me to research into hurdling technique and learn about the sport and specifics of the race so I could compare their technique to that of a ‘model hurdler’ to give useful and informative feedback.

My placement highlights

When I wasn’t working directly with the sports teams, I was busy working on one of the following rotations: Exercise Physiology, Physiotherapy or Strength and Conditioning.

 If I were to pull out a few of my favourite aspects of these they would be;

  1. lab testing including VO2 max, lactate threshold and biodex tests,
  2. physio first aid and pre-game strapping and
  3. the wide range of sports where I could coach S&C sessions.

The performance analysis was an extra opportunity I took on separate to my rotation but my highlight for that was assisting at ‘The Big Weekend’ (a well-known netball Superleague competition) where I had the responsibility of filming and live coding games using AP Capture technology.

Planning and delivering an event

A personal achievement was organising and running the Talent Identification Day held at the university where I took the lead role for planning and delivering the event. I needed initiative and rapid problem solving ability because of the pressing time scale. I also needed excellent communication and negotiation skills to coordinate a large team of people to deliver the variety of tests run for specific sports.

The aim was to match potential athletes to BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) sports development pathways in Rowing, Volleyball, American Football, Karate, Cycling, Triathlon, Rugby League and Lacrosse. I have to say, this event was a real eye opener to the amount of work that goes into running events like these!

Professional Development

I had many other opportunities throughout the year including completing my UK Anti-Doping Accredited Advisor Course and Concussion Awareness Course. The BASES 2020 Conference was particularly inspiring and a great chance to learn about all the current research in my field.

I am glad that early in my placement I volunteered for every opportunity offered. The extra hours I worked meant that I gained experience alongside skilled sports scientists, Team GB and para athletes. I reinforced and refined my abilities in the physiology labs and it meant I felt I got the most I could have out of my placement when Covid lockdown cut it short!