January 28, 2018

James Hodkinson

It’s a common misconception that as a Sport Coaching student at Cardiff Met, you’ll learn how to throw a ball or get given some fancy exercises to use for your next hockey session. The reality – it’s so much better than that!
It’s just over 3 years since I accepted an offer from Cardiff Met to study my dream degree. Aside from the desire to study in an awesome and fun city, and the fantastic sporting facilities on campus, the true draw to the course for myself was the flexibility it provides. To give an example, most universities made the sport science modules (e.g. anatomy) compulsory for the full 3-year programme. At Met, aside from the 1st year, science modules are optional – big result for myself!

drill set up

I’m more at home on the pitch than the lecture theatre – though we experience a mix of both!

My applicant day experience only furthered my wish to study here. The programme director, Dr Andy Lane, spoke so passionately about the course, filling me with confidence that the university would be an excellent learning environment. As for the campus itself, you really felt like part of a family – #archersfamily is quite often used on social media!
Three years on and, following my engagement with the degree, I am a far better coach. Learning about different approaches I can use, different ways of engaging my athletes and different technical aspects of a sport has really benefitted my practice and it’s all down to my experiences at Cardiff Met.

It’s important not to neglect the technical side.

A question I get asked a lot, however, is how much of the course is practical based? To answer that, 50% of my timetable in both 1st and 2nd year consisted of practical sessions – amazing! The APT module that’s available to all sport students gives students the opportunity to learn technical components of different sports, tapping into the knowledge of highly experienced and knowledgeable tutors. Some of these sports even allow students to gain their coaching badges during term time, great for the CV.
More specific modules, only available to coaching students, provide the opportunity to learn new theories that can be applied to a range of coaching environments, with practical sessions providing students the opportunity to test out these theories and discover what does and does not work.
Even in 3rd year, whilst we have no timetabled practical sessions, we are required to have a work placement for our coaching. In the case of myself, I currently coach for at least 7 hours per week around Cardiff, be that in schools or with teams at the university. The majority of this work is also paid, so I have the added benefit of earning money whilst fulfilling the requirements of my degree!
standing by the dugout

Having the opportunity to be in the dugout coaching real teams has been fantastic.

I have no doubt that I want to be a coach as a career, and these work placements have given me invaluable experience that I can take into future job roles.
I can’t stress how much I have enjoyed studying Sport Coaching at Met, it’s been far more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. I’d even go as far as to say that coming here was the best decision I’ve ever made!
Looking for more on sport courses at Cardiff Met? Check out more student blogs or watch the video below