Adrian van der Ploeg
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Whilst studying Sports Science with Management at Loughborough, Adrian volunteered as both a Rugby Coach and an S&C Coach with the Men's Basketball Programme. Using these experiences, and the valuble experience of a placement with Locker 27 in Addlestone, Adrian has landed himself a job as an Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach with Loughborough Sport!
Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests and background):
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa & moved over to England with my family just before I was 12. I have been here since then & never looked back.
Hobby & interests-wise, it’s a bit of a range! I played rugby throughout my years at Loughborough & love most sports. Of the more quirky ones, I enjoy scuba diving, where I am really lucky to be a qualified Rescue Diver. In terms of everyday interests, it is whittled down to brewing & drinking coffee, as well as having my mind blown by anything to do with outer space.
What Sports volunteering did you get involved in whilst at Loughborough?
In my second year I volunteered as a rugby coach with Robert Bakewell Hall. Alongside several other guys in the rugby club. That was a really valuable few months as we saw a lot of lads play in the IMS All Stars game.
In my final year, I volunteered as a strength & conditioning assistant with Men’s Basketball. That, alongside my experience on placement at Locker 27 in Addlestone, is what ultimately kick-started my professional career. On reflection, I am incredibly grateful for those opportunities.
What was your experience volunteering like whilst at Loughborough?
I had a great time as both a rugby coach & a volunteer S&C coach. The latter was much more relevant to my development now, but coaching in general has facilitated the development of a lot of key characteristics that have got me to where I am now.
How do you think being involved in sports volunteering has helped you develop and progress (Personally and professionally)?
The ability to coach & deliver in front of larger groups of people is probably the biggest skill that has crossed over into my work, both on a professional and personal level. On top of that, the ability to adapt to the people & differing personalities you have in front of you.
What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to gain the most out of their university experience & prepare for their career?
In the industry of S&C, you absolutely NEED to get hands on coaching experience as soon as you can. Put yourself out there- message local gyms, sports clubs and S&C coaches seeking opportunities to volunteer. The worst that can happen is that you get told ‘no’. Best case, you get a load of coaching experience & potentially a mentor that guides your development both from a practical & theoretical level.