Chair of Korfball and Physiology Placement Student
Hannah is in the second year of her MSc in Physiology and Nutrition at Loughborough after completing her undergraduate degree at Birmingham. Since coming to Loughborough she became the founder of the Korfball club, which is now a part of the Athletic Union. Alongside this she has been undertaking a part time physiology placement, working with the triathlon club and commercial services
Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests and background):
I am a current 2nd year MSc student studying Physiology and Nutrition of Sport and Exercise. Previously, I completed my BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Birmingham but was drawn to Loughborough for my master’s as I knew about the amazing opportunities it could provide me for a career in sport. As you can probably tell, I have a passion for sport. When I realised that I was not good enough at any of the sports I played to get to the Olympics myself, it became my goal to still get there but by supporting athletes instead, through a career as a Sports Physiologist.
I have played many a sport in my time but I currently am focussed on a sport called Korfball, which not many people have heard of! Korfball originates from the Netherlands with a team being made up of 4 boys and 4 girls, making it one of the only truly mixed-gendered sports. The team is split into an attacking and defending division (2 boys and 2 girls in each) and all players have the opportunity to attack and defend as the divisions swap over every 2 goals. The overall aim of Korfball is to shoot the ball into the korf (dutch for basket), but to do this, the attacker must be ‘free’ from their defender by being more than an arm’s distance away. Korfball is played on an indoor court that is split into two halves. Each post is positioned away from the edge of the court, allowing play of the ball all around the post. The easiest way to get an idea of what Korfball is like is to watch it, I would highly recommend!
How did you first get involved in volunteering within sport at Loughborough?
At the start of my MSc, I was successful in obtaining a role as a Physiology Placement Student within Loughborough Sport. I took on this role alongside my MSc, which involves me leading the Physiology support for the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre and supporting the commercial service of Loughborough Physiology. I was also interested in continuing playing Korfball but realised that Loughborough did not have an AU club. As a result, I (along with massive help from the AU Team and another student interested in starting the club) set up the AU Korfball Club at Loughborough and have been Chair since it started in February 2022.
Both of these roles exposed me to the CVA offer at Loughborough and how many more volunteering opportunities there were for me to get involved in and make the most of!
During your years at Loughborough what have you got involved in through volunteering within sport?
My main volunteering roles at Loughborough have been as a Physiology Placement Student with Triathlon and Founder/Club Chair of AU Korfball. Throughout my placement with Triathlon, I have developed the skills I require to move into a career in Sports Physiology and have had some amazing learning opportunities such as going on camp to Portugal with the squad for 2 years in a row. My role starting up and as Club Chair for Korfball has been an extremely rewarding experience. To know that I have contributed to everyone at the club starting a new sport and enjoying it so much is amazing, and I have enjoyed working with the committee this year to help the club have an extremely successful year! I was honoured to receive the Ann Wilson award at AU Colours for my work in setting up Korfball and I am excited to see the club progress and get even better in years to come.
Through opportunities that the CVA advertised, I was able to volunteer at the Kitting Out held on campus before the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games last summer. Being able to play a part in a valuable experience for all the athletes who represented Team England was very fulfilling and highlights the amazing opportunities the CVA offers out to students at Loughborough.
What has your experience volunteering been like whilst at Loughborough?
The main words that stick out for me are independent and supported. Any volunteering opportunity I have had within Loughborough has encouraged me to take on the role in my own way, be proactive and I have always felt that my suggestions and opinions have been valued. Despite having this high level of independence, there has never been a time where I haven’t felt supported within a role, and I always knew who I could talk to for any advice and help.
How has being involved with Loughborough Sport helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?
Volunteering with Loughborough Sport has been essential for me to develop my knowledge, skills and experiences as a Physiologist to support my career ambitions. As a placement student, I was treated as another member of staff and was able to interact and engage in professional environments. This really built the confidence I have in my ‘hard’ skills required to be a but also my ‘soft’ skills to work as an effective practitioner within Performance Support. As I finish my MSc in September, I have been successful in obtaining a job role with Loughborough Sport, which highlights how much this experience being involved with Loughborough Sport has developed me into a successful Physiologist and suitable job candidate.
What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to get involved in volunteering & gain the most out of their university experiences?
Make the most of all the opportunities available and don’t be afraid to try something a bit different! Sometimes giving things a go that worry you at the start end up being the best experiences and you learn so much from them!
Finally, what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
I find volunteering an extremely rewarding experience as you feel like you’re having a real impact in allowing other people to learn, develop and have fun! It also provides an amazing opportunity to learn about yourself and develop personal skills that you can use in all aspects of life. Lastly, you meet some great people volunteering who make the experience so much more fun and you can learn so much from. I would recommend volunteering to anyone, no matter how big or small, during their time at university!