GameChanger Performance: Lead Physical Performance Coach
Adam graduated from Loughborough with an MSc degree in Exercise Physiology in 2014. Since leaving the University he has worked for Leicester City Football Club and now GameChanger Performance. Here he shares how his postgraduate journey at Loughborough led to experience with Leicester City FC.
Firstly, I knew it would be imperative to hold a Master’s degree if I wanted to be a practitioner in the field of Sports Science. From scouting profiles on LinkedIn and knowing of people who were employed by professional sports organisations, I saw the majority held a Masters degree. Knowing that, I then had to find a taught Master’s program in the subject area I wanted to pursue a career in, which at that time was Physiology, and how it can be applied to improve human sports performance. With Loughborough University being renowned across the world for their Sports Science courses, it was a no-brainer when I saw they taught Exercise Physiology as a Master’s program.
Before attending Loughborough University, I was already inspired knowing that Sports Science practitioners across the world are Loughborough alumni. Loughborough University’s name alone carries weight in the Sports Science industry and will automatically allow you to stand out.
However, more importantly for me and for my career progression was the opportunity to undertake applied work while studying. If Loughborough University sports teams or external sport organisations required support via work experience or placements, these opportunities came direct to our degree program. For example, UK Sport were looking for volunteers to perform Sport Science testing for GB Canoeing and Skeleton on the talent identification program. This advert was put up in one of our lectures and UK Sport took numerous students on to support their program.
Furthermore, prior to starting my MSc in Exercise Physiology I had arranged to volunteer my time at Leicester City Football Club Academy, on the provision I undertook my research project with them. I was fortunate to have two lecturers agree to oversee my research project with Leicester City, which then allowed me to also volunteer my time there and gain practical experience as Sports Science practitioner.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
The one piece of advice I would give, is if any applied work experience or placements are offered to students on the course, whoever or wherever it might be, take the opportunity. Employers will not only be looking at your degree and where you obtained it from, but also what experience you have.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
I didn’t take part in any extra-curricular activities organised by Loughborough University themselves, this was because my time was spent volunteering with Leicester City Football Club or UK Sport. However, I couldn’t have undertaken these experience without the support of Loughborough University, which definitely enhanced my experience and enabled me to get the most out of a full-time Master’s program.
My favourite part would have to be academic since I lived at home and didn’t partake in too many social activities (although I’ve heard positive things from other students!). The laboratory practical sessions were my favourite part. We were given a range of laboratory sessions which upskilled us to work in the applied setting.
Powerbase gym is one of the best strength and conditioning facilities in the country. However, be prepared to get up close and personal when lifting your weights as everyone goes to Powerbase. Alternatively, there is a second gym facility at Hollywell Park, which is probably less busy!
Three months before I was due to finish my Master’s, I was offered a full-time position as a Youth Development Phase Sport Scientist at Leicester City Football Club, providing Sport Science support for the U12-U16 age groups. Just under two years later, I was promoted to Senior Professional Development Sport Scientist and supported the U23’s. In January 2018 I moved to St. George’s Park, the home of England Football, where I am employed by GameChanger Performance as the Lead Physical Performance Coach.
My current role at GameChanger Performance involves leading the delivery of Physical Performance support, to the Professional Football Association’s residential rehabilitation program. Injured players come to St. George’s Park for an intensive four-day rehabilitation, where I conduct testing to build a player physical profile, deliver pitch-based and off-field conditioning sessions, and also Strength and Conditioning training in the gym. Players can attend three of these four-day weeks during a season with the aim of accelerating their rehabilitation from injury.
I love the practical delivery of my job, particularly the pitch-based conditioning and strength and conditioning in the gym. It’s unfortunate the players I work with are injured, however it’s rewarding knowing that I’ve helped them to get back to playing football quicker.
My aim is to continue working in the industry. As of yet I haven’t worked within Olympic sport and is something I may look to challenge myself with in the future.
I was fortunate to be at Leicester City Football Club when the First Team won the Premier League. Although not a proud moment for me personally, working within that environment and seeing first hand what the players and staff had achieved is something I will never forget.