Emma Malcolm

Sport Coaching BSc (Hons)

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  • Year of study: First (in 2023/24)
  • Length of course: Three years

The University of Northampton has already provided me with many experiences to assist me into my future career. The support system is easily accessible and provides great advice, and the on-campus facilities are amazing. Also, the University provides great links to companies and sports clubs for volunteering, training, and work experience.

My main career goal is to become a competitive swimming coach. I already hold my Level 1 Assistant Coaching in Swimming and am looking to progress onto my Level 2. I’m able to continue with my own competitive swimming career by being on the Elite Athlete Scholarship scheme with the University’s Applied Sports Scientist, and training with Andy Sharp (Head Coach at Northampton Swimming Club).

Studying Sport Coaching is expanding my theoretical knowledge about coaching practice in sports. I’m able to work with the other students on my course and gain skills from them to build my confidence in new sports, learning new skills, and coaching practices. This will really help me to develop, as I can apply these within my placements and volunteering to provide valuable training and lessons.

The skills and knowledge gained on my degree that I feel will be most useful in my future career are how to plan, ask questions and provide feedback – these were areas I’d never been confident in prior to beginning my course. Planning is necessary in the sports industry and will enable me to create effective training sessions which athletes will benefit from, and asking questions will help me understand the level athletes are at and how I can support them with their best interests in mind. Finally, feedback is always key after a session or competition, and I can now provide useful and supportive feedback to athletes to develop their careers and skills in their chosen sport.

In the second year of my course, I’ll have the opportunity to complete a work placement which will provide me with additional sport-related experience to apply to my studies. I’ll be able to draw on the skills and coaching practices that I’ve learnt to develop my own coaching style, providing me with the fundamentals to begin my career after graduation.

My tip to get the most benefit from a placement would be to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can to contact employers, lecturers, and sports teams. Don’t be afraid to ask for volunteering hours, placements, or contacts to gain those experiences, as establishing the connections early will open so many doors for you.

Alongside my studies, I’ve joined the swim team to continue to compete and develop my own swimming career. Being able to continue with swimming provides me with a larger social network and I’ve gained more confidence and physical strength, as well as a stronger mindset. Being coached by Andy has enabled me to experience a variety of set structures and coaching techniques, and I can draw on these and use this knowledge to develop my own coaching style.

The advice I’d give to undergraduates interested in this career path would be to build your network early, use all available opportunities, and don’t forget to get out of your comfort zone.

My experience of UON so far has been friendly, inspiring, knowledgeable, and supportive.