Corri Cairns made a difference to footballers development during the pandemic

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Corri Cairns graduated from BSc Football Coaching, Development and Administration in November 2020 with a 1st class Honours and a 1st class project that made a difference during the pandemic.

"Being involved in football from a young age and experiencing playing at a highly competitive level, has always made me hungry for success - I tried to view my coursework the same way and always strived to produce my best work. One of the key factors for me was time management, making sure I set aside enough time to complete every aspect of my work to a high standard, while not feeling rushed or overwhelmed. This was something I found difficult at the start, but the modules within my first year really helped me figure out how to manage everything effectively in a university, social, work and personal capacity. A secondary factor that played an important role for me was utilising the materials supplied by the course lecturers - everything they offer is a fantastic support tool for students that I would strongly recommend making use of to achieve top grades, there are still many materials I use even now. 

Success isn’t just handed to people, and I very much believe that what you put into something, is what you get out. I set high standards and ambitions for myself at the start of my degree, and that’s exactly what I worked towards achieving to try and succeed during my time at USW. It is important for me to make myself and my family proud, and that will always be a factor in any future success I have. 

My final year project was something that had to be adapted due to COVID-19 but ended up being a fantastic tool and platform for players to utilise during the quarantine period. I went down the route of a player development program, which turned into a series of online resources that players could use at home, to enhance their development holistically. These online resources covered tactical, technical, physical, psychological and social tasks, which players could access via zoom calls, from documents sent by coaches, or through the club's YouTube channel. While this was not what I had originally anticipated, the adaption helped bring my project to life and created an avenue that we didn’t even realise was lacking pre-Covid. Player development is of course a long-term process and is inclusive of many factors, so this project was important for filling a gap in the process that could’ve been missed due to quarantine restrictions. Since the start of its implementation, the impact has been ever-changing due to the uncertainty of restrictions in place, and after graduating, I moved onto a new opportunity in a different state. With players being back on the pitch and no longer behind computer screens, there is not as great a need for some aspects of the project however, the YouTube channel is something that will continue to be utilised for players to take control of their own development at home. All in all, the project was able to be implemented in a time of great need for players, coaches and parents within the club, and I am so grateful to have been able to use my coursework to provide them the support they needed, in a difficult part of their development journeys. 

One of the main benefits for me with this degree was undoubtedly the connection with some incredible coaching and staff mentors - the knowledge they were able to share with myself and my fellow classmates is something we will all benefit from in our current careers, and future endeavours. Another benefit for me was the personal development I made over the 3 years at USW - it was not always easy studying online, but I absolutely grew as a coach, and as an individual. Throughout my course duration I learned so many things about myself that helped me realise the ambitions I have for my future within the footballing industry, while providing me with key skills and experiences I can use to meet those goals. As far as highlights go, the coaching opportunities the degree opened for me, and the skillset I was able to continually enhance while completing my bachelors, have been crucial in my coaching pathway over these last few years. I was also so fortunate to make some amazing friends, regardless of the fact we didn’t get to spend a lot of time on campus together. These are some of the people I know I look forward to crossing paths with again, and I hope to be able to stay on top of their journeys while they can follow mine."