The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
RGU Sport’s got talent
A typical day working as a coach at RGU Sport can be a long one – particularly when you’ve got a number of training programmes to supervise and students to work with. Everything being equal, my day usually starts with waking up at 5am – an ungodly hour for most working people.
First things first, I’ll see to my dogs – Alfie and Willow. Once they’re happy, it’s time to focus on myself. It is important for me to get into the proper mindset ahead of a busy day, so over breakfast I take some time to watch the news or read a book, before getting into work.
On most days, I arrive at RGU Sport – based at Robert Gordon University’s Garthdee campus – for about 6am. This gives me half an hour to get programmes set up ahead of the first session of the day, which runs from 6.308am. This is the meat of my job and I enjoy every second of it. These sessions are with RGU’s sport scholars – incredible athletes from across the university, who each have their own dedicated training schedule and support from RGU and RGU Sport. This is also when I get to work with athletes from our talented athletes programme – which was created in 2011 to provide services to non-scholars and help bridge the gap to becoming a high-performance athlete.
These early morning sessions can see us running new, regular or special rehab programmes, and I’m there to help each individual along the way and push them on.
After the session is over at 8am, I usually have an hour to check my emails and catch up on work. This can be a pretty busy period, as I can get inquiries relating to the day-to-day workings of RGU Sport, ones to do with our special programmes, or messages from other colleagues across the university.
Once it reaches 9am, I get to dive into another exciting aspect of the job. In recent years, I have started working a lot closer with the applied sport and exercise science team in RGU’s School of Health Sciences, and from 9am-12pm, I lecture 3rd-year students on strength and conditioning.
It is a fantastic opportunity to help shape the future of coaching by passing on my experience to these younger minds.
Once lunchtime rolls around, I take a little time to enjoy myself. Being a coach, I have to set a good example, so I usually make myself some sort of meat dish with vegetables and some good carbohydrates. But I do have a bit of a soft spot for Mexican food and every couple of weeks will pop down to get a burrito or nachos from the street food stall on University Street.
After lunch, I have a few hours to do a variety of things, depending on the day. One of the first things in my mind is looking at the progress of our scholars and TAP athletes. I can review how they’ve been getting on, their objectives and potentially take some time to create new training regimes for them. Some of the young people we coach have gone on to become medal and title winners at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and various sportspecific championships, so it is vital we keep encouraging them to the next level. There are some times when I’m pulled in to deal with booking issues, or to help out members of the public using the equipment or taking part in challenges at the gym.
However, the main thing I try to use this time for is to work towards my degree. I’m studying towards a Masters in strength and conditioning, and much of my spare time at the moment is being spent on this. So, if I have a spare few hours in the office, I’ll open up an academic journal or two and get slightly closer to finishing my thesis.
Once it gets to 5.30pm, I am back in the gym to work with another set of Some of the great facilities at RGU Sport
athletes for their training session, similar to how I started the day. It brings a real sense of symmetry to these days, when I start and end with working on these bespoke programmes and coaching, which is my lifeblood.
The final training session of the day finishes at 7pm. Once everyone leaves, I take some moments to look over how they did and save their progress on their programmes. Depending on the day of the week, I’ll either head straight home at this point, or I’ll go to my judo club and get my own training in.
When I do get home, my evening is much the same as many other people’s might be. I have my dinner, spend time with my girlfriend and my dogs and take some time to relax after a fulfilling day. Usually, I’ll also do some more work on my thesis, before eventually heading to bed around 11pm, all set to begin the process again the next day.