Nicole Hagan graduated from the BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning course in 2019 which has benefitted her in many ways from gaining work experience to her everyday life and hobbies. She undertook a range of coaching placements whilst studying, which she says is crucial for students wishing to stand out in the field of Sports.
“In my first and second year of studies, I got involved with coaching the University sports teams which was so helpful to me. In my third year, I secured a placement working with Glamorgan Cricket youth and found myself an opportunity coaching the Welsh Netball Under 17’s team in the lead up to their European Netball competition. I am now leading the Strength and Conditioning programs for Welsh Badminton.”
At USW, our Sports courses have practical elements embedded into the course structure to give students a real understanding of what they learn in their lectures. To Nicole, this was very beneficial when completing her placements.
“These sessions give us all the skills we need to take to our placements. If you don’t practice coaching, you’ll never be good at it no matter how much you read about it in a textbook.
In my opinion, if you genuinely want to be a coach you need to take every placement opportunity as possible as long as it benefits you. Paid jobs in this industry are scarce so you need to have as much experience and a decent CV before you leave university to stand out. You have to remember that you're competing against hundreds of people in the UK who want the same thing as you.”
Alongside her coaching, Nicole also gets involved in sporting activities and has found a love for the sport Aussie Rules, a form of Australian football, and has competed in the National University League.
“I started playing just under two years ago when I was looking for an alternative to Gaelic Football. I saw there was an Aussie Rules team in Cardiff, and I loved the intensity of the game. I got stuck in straight away and took as many opportunities as I could - that year I travelled to Denmark, Cork and various UK locations to play Aussie Rules.
I have represented Wales twice in the Sport for the EuroCup Tournament which is the biggest tournament held annually against European Nations in a different location every year somewhere in Europe. I also got selected to play for Great Britain for the European Cup, which was hosted in London, October 2019.
My Strength and Conditioning knowledge has allowed me to create training programs for myself and my teammates to improve our physical qualities and I also based my university assignments on Aussie Rules which has really helped my knowledge of the Sport.”
She has now been selected to represent Great Britain once again this summer for the International Cup 2020 which is taking place in the Sunshine Coast, Australia and is completing her master’s degree in Strength and Conditioning coaching here at USW.
Find out more about studying Sport at USW.