Let’s be clear, after you have graduated with your Sport/Exercise/Human Movement Science degree you are not very employable. In fact, it is quite likely you are less employable than most people who have their six week PT qualification.
Sure, your potential to coach elite level athletes is higher, but that’s all it is, potential. And employers want ‘actual’.
Below is a list of some things you need to do before you graduate.
1) Get your ASCA Level 1
One, it shows your prospective employers that you weren’t a passive student but actively sought out additional learning.
Two, with a lot of universities focusing on the ‘health’ side of exercise this provides some evidence that you have an appreciation of the ‘sport’/’high performance’ aspects of exercise.
The third, final and no less important point is that this will probably be your first chance to build your ‘S&C network’. And we all should know how important that is.
Other certificates to consider: weightlifting, gymnastics, track & field, powerlifting, injury strapping.
2) Be the ‘Head S&C’
Volunteer at a school or club.
Practice planning a session, practice having to scrap that plan and make something up on the run.
Practice making decisions.
Practice communicating with athletes and coaches and parents and administrators.
Practice writing budgets and practice getting rejected.
Practice writing programs that are not only specific to your athletes and their sport, but are specific to the equipment you have available.
Practice understanding that knowing the map doesn’t mean you know the territory.
3) Do personal training
PT has three major benefits.
The first is that you get to practice building relationships with people you are training.
The second is is you'll have to 'switch on', be the energiser and the motivator when you have to. Regardless how early it is or how tired you feel.
MORE: For Athletes Only
The third benefit that you can make more money per hour than you’ll be able earn as an S&C coach for the next few years.
4) Add 5kg of Muscle
This is not about the 5kg, though you’ll almost certainly look more like an S&C coach, but rather about the process.
5) Lose 5kg of Fat
Just as you’re going to work with athletes that need to gain muscle, you’re going to work with athletes that are going to need to lose fat.
Understand what it’s like to measure calories or have a food diary or turn down a temptation.
6) Bench & clean your body weight, 12 pull ups
Hopefully you’re already training on a regular basis so these numbers should be a cinch.
If not, start now and keep going till you hit these.
7) Plan, train for and compete in an endurance event
Triathlon, duathlon, 10km… The event doesn’t matter, the process does.
Remember, it’s not only about ‘strength’.
PS If you pick up an injury, you’ve given yourself another ‘learning opportunity’.
8) Compete (for as long as you can)
It doesn’t matter what the sport is, nor what level it is, as long as you train for it, get nervous at the start and there is an emotional reaction at the end.
If you want to work with athletes you need to understand what it’s like to compete.
9) Touch your toes
Flexibility may be one of the least appreciated physical components.
Test yourself, set goals, train and then retest.
This will help you more than any journal or book will.
Some movements to consider: weightlifting-style squat, splits, overhead squat, cossack squat, shoulder finger-touch test, etc.
10) Do gym classes
Think: yoga, pilates, Bikram, spin class, it doesn’t matter. Just sign up for a few weeks.
It is important that you know what’s out there, it’s proposed benefits and it’s actual effectiveness.
Of course, you can ignore this and hope that just having a degree is sufficient.