Our guide to sports studies
Alistair Stafford

Our guide to sports studies

First published date October 30 2013 Amended date November 19 2013

Do you have a burning passion for a particular sport? Perhaps you’re a sports fanatic looking to take your involvement in a sport to a new level?  Whether you’re an enthusiastic parent looking to secure coaching badges to help run your child’s sports team, a sporting novice hoping to try their hand at a new pastime, or someone taking the first steps in pursuing a career in the sports industry, they’ll be a sports course for you.


What to expect

It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself the next Sir Alex Ferguson or just want to be involved in your nearby sports team, having sports coaches in your local area is vital to ensure the small clubs in your community stay running. Shockingly, nearly half of the 1.1million sports coaches in the UK aren’t formally qualified in their sport, so may lack the skills required to coach our budding sports stars successfully.

Each sports course does vary depending on the discipline you’re study. For sports courses where you’re participating, a beginner’s course will teach you the technique and skills required to compete in the sport. The coaching courses tend to include some simple coaching drills and may also include some basic first aid training, with the course usually leading to a UKCC accredited qualification from the governing body of the sport you’re focused on.

Sports courses for both coaching and participating are available in a huge range of sports, ranging from archery to kayaking to skiing, so there’s bound to be one to suit what you’re keen to do.


But I’m too old to learn...

Think you’ve missed out on learning a sport because you didn’t during your school years? You may believe it’s only children that take swimming lessons or learn to cycle but an increasing number of adults are now trying out the sports they didn’t grasp during their childhood. With statistics showing that more 20% of British adults are unable to swim and nearly one in ten having never been taught to ride a bike, you won’t be alone if you’re struggling getting the hang of the basics.

Not only that, but once you’re able to swim and cycle, you’ll then be able to go on and teach your own children what to do on two wheels and in the water. When it comes to coaching, the average age of a sports coach in the UK is 38, but with a sizeable chunk of Britain’s coaching population in their pension years, it’s never too late to get involved.


Why get back in to sport?

As well as the obvious health benefits that regular participation in sport brings, like the reduction of body fat and improved stamina, there are plenty of other positives that sport can bring.

Frequent exercise through sport won’t just rapidly boost your fitness, it is also said to help with your mental happiness and prevent anxiety problems.  Competitive matches will improve your social skills as you develop friendships with the players you’re facing, plus improve your level of concentration (even after a long day of work!).

For you budding coaches, the sessions you’re leading won’t only keep you active, but they’ll develop your confidence and communication skills as you have to explain the sports drills to the listening athletes.


Stat attack

Think you do enough in sport? These stats will show whether you’re involved as much as the rest of the country:

Ø  Around 40% of men and 31% of women in England participate moderate intensity level sport at least once a week

Ø  Approximately 15.3million adults spend at least 30 minutes a week involved in moderate intensity level sport

Ø  People are twice as likely to have high levels of happiness if they participate in sport daily

Ø  Exercising for just 15 minutes a day can extend your life expectancy by up to three years

Ø  Nearly two million adults spend at least one hour a week volunteering in sport

Source: Sport and recreation alliance


What next?

Whatever type of sports course you’re planning to enrol on, it can be used as a good starting point to further develop your sporting skills. If you want to stay playing sport, progressing from beginner sessions to advanced classes will boost your ability, while those hoping to progress through their coaching badges can progress through the various qualification levels.

For those looking to make a full time career in the sports industry, a wide range of sports studies degrees are available, providing you with additional coaching qualifications plus a better understanding of the theory behind performance sport.

If you’re still unsure what you want to do next and are looking for more sporting inspiration, our Pinterest page has plenty of sporty stories and pictures to grab your imagination.

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