The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

RGU Sport’s got tal­ent

- Sports · Lifestyle · Healthy Living · Robert M. Gordon


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.

 ??  ?? John Psyl­las at RGU Sport in Aberdeen
John Psyl­las at RGU Sport in Aberdeen
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