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The buzz and the fever might not have been quite on a par with that surrounding London 2012, but with Team GB celebrating their most successful Olympics ever and Paralympics GB having their most successful Paralympics in 30 years, it wasn’t far off! Our athletes have shown once again that with hard work, determination, perseverance, pride and passion, they can compete with or, in at least 27 Olympic instances and 64 Paralympic instances, prove themselves to be the best in the world. Now, considering this blog is written by someone whose job it is to design and develop qualifications in Sport and Physical Activity, you might expect the rest of it to tell you all about how it’s qualifications that make the athletes who they are, that the study of the inner workings of the human body gives them the winning edge; that knowing the components of fitness makes them bigger, stronger and faster than their competitors; and that an awareness of how technology can improve performance makes them champions...and you’d be right, that is what I’m going to talk about. However, it’s not necessarily the athletes that need to know these things.
Who makes an athlete?
The best athletes in the world are the best because of the team of people around them, as well as their own natural ability and dedication. They are the best because of their coaches, their physios, their dieticians, their psychologists, their biomechanists, even the support staff that maintain their training facilities. And the list doesn’t stop there. The athletes wouldn’t have these staff if it wasn’t for the National Governing Bodies and UK Sport working to secure and distribute funding to pay for the training and facilities; there wouldn’t be competitions for them to perform in if it wasn’t for event organisers, sponsors and the volunteers that help to run them; the athletes wouldn’t be the role models and inspirations that they are if it wasn’t for the media...it goes on and on and on, so much in fact that I apologise to the sports scientists, designers, engineers, marketing staff and anyone else that I have neglected to add. It is through lack of space on the page rather than lack of respect and credit I give to your role I can assure you!
These are the people that need the skills, knowledge and understanding that qualifications in the sector can provide. When an athlete complains of a ‘niggle’, or a ‘tweak’ or some minor discomfort, it is down to the physio to identify what the cause is, how serious it is and how best to treat it without disrupting the athletes training too much. When they are building up to a competition, it is their coach that needs to adapt their training programme to work on any potential areas of weakness and to avoid overtraining and stop the athlete from burning out.
And this isn’t only the case at the top levels of performance; an activity leader at an after-school club needs to know what sports and activities are appropriate for the children participating and how to keep it fun and inclusive so that they come back for more and start to develop a lifelong love for sport; a Sports Development Officer at a local council needs to know how to handle a bid for funding from a grass roots sports club who want to improve their facilities; and a Leisure Assistant will need to know how deliver an excellent customer experience so that participation in sport and physical activity is a continual pleasure.
The road to success
Whatever level of education someone has achieved; there is a role in sport that they can play, whether it is as a volunteer steward, an assistant coach, head physiotherapist, sport development officer or leisure centre manager. And the opportunities to progress and build a successful and rewarding career after entering the sector are immense.
With GCSEs and A Levels in Physical Education, Cambridge Nationals in Sports Studies and Sports Science and Cambridge Technicals in Sport and Physical Activity, you can be sure that we have a qualification that will help support learners on their journey in the sector, whether directly into employment or Higher Education...and who knows, maybe even helping a future Team GB or Paralympic GB member break even more records!
If you have any questions you can always get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @OCR_PhysEd
Gareth Edwards - Development Specialist
Gareth joined OCR in December 2005 and took on his most recent role of Development Specialist in July 2014. As part of this role Gareth has designed and developed the new Level 2 and Level 3 Cambridge Technicals in Sport and Physical Activity and in Health and Social Care. This involves employer, university and centre engagement to establish the content of the qualification and then commissioning the writing of and quality assuring the units, the assessment and the teaching and delivery resources as well as dipping his finger in and writing some of the content, assessment and resources himself.
In his spare time Gareth manages and coaches a local Under 9’s football team; attends as many live sports events as he can including football, rugby, ice hockey and athletics; keeping himself relatively fit and healthy and spending time with his family.