Focus on... Richard Smith
Loughborough University has created an environment that attracts top sportspeople to come here, not only to train but also to study for a degree. But managing the demands of academic study alongside those of being an elite athlete can be a tall order.
How to successfully manage a degree and sport can be illustrated in the case of Loughborough University graduate and England & Great Britain hockey international Richard Smith.
Richard has been studying for an MSc in Business Analysis and Management at Loughborough University. While he was developing as a player at Loughborough, he also successfully completed an undergraduate degree in Maths and Sports Science, achieving a 2.1.
Loughborough has not only given me the opportunity to develop my academic career and work opportunities, they have also supported my sporting ambitions to play for Team GB in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A number of key factors put in place by the University are helping Richard achieve in his studies and on the hockey pitch. These include scholarship funding and flexible study offered to elite level athletes.
Richard also accesses support from the English Institute of Sport (EIS). The EIS High Performance Centre based at the University provides a full range of support services including physiology, physiotherapy, medicine, strength and conditioning and Performance LifestyleTM, which looks after the personal and professional development of all athletes on World Class Programmes.
“My student and sporting experience at Loughborough has been of the highest calibre,” says Richard. “Loughborough has not only given me the opportunity to develop my academic career and work opportunities, they have also supported my sporting ambitions to play for Team GB in the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
“My undergraduate degree offered me the opportunity to shape my career using my maths and problem solving skills, but also continue my interest in sport. Now I’m doing an MSc in business analysis and management and getting opportunities to utilise my learning with work experience that I have undertaken in the sports and business sectors.”
Richard helped England to win a silver medal at the 2010 Hockey Champions Trophy. He has also played in a World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, and scored on his Great Britain debut playing against Argentina.
But his playing highlight so far was winning the 2009 European Championships in his first major senior tournament. England won the gold medal by beating the then world and Olympic champions Germany.
Not only has Richard benefitted from his time at Loughborough, but in return he regularly gives something back to the University. This includes being a performance sport mentor, supporting new students across different sports on how they in turn can combine a dual career.
You can follow Richard’s preparations leading up to 2012, including reports on hockey tournaments such as the London Cup in July, via his Twitter feed at @RS_Smudge.