Gareth Edwards – Development Specialist
In 1964, Tokyo became the first Asian city to host the Olympic games. 57 years later, after a year-long postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympics are coming back to Tokyo this summer. Although it’s been decided that the games will take place with no spectators, I’m sure people all over the world will be cheering on athletes from home, in the same sporting camaraderie we’ve seen in recent weeks.
In this blog I discuss what makes a great athlete, the team behind the scenes, and the road to success. I’ll also highlight our range of sport qualifications, designed to inspire and engage students who would like to embark on a sporting career.
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 nutritionists, 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 athletes to perform in if it wasn’t for event organisers, sponsors and 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, so much in fact that I apologise to the sports scientists, designers, engineers, marketing staff and anyone else that I have neglected to add. I can assure you it is through lack of space rather than lack of respect and credit I give to your role!
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. There wouldn’t be elite athletes without school, local and grassroots sports facilities and their dedicated staff. An activity leader at an after-school club needs to know what sports and activities are appropriate for the children and how to keep it fun and inclusive so that they not only come back for more, but 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 that want to improve its facilities. A leisure assistant needs to know how deliver an excellent customer experience so that participation in sport and physical activity is a continual pleasure.
Whatever their level of education there is a role in sport for everyone, whether 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.
Here at OCR we offer a wide range of sports and physical education qualifications to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to move into further education or employment. You can find full details on our website:
We are currently redeveloping our Cambridge Nationals for first teaching in September 2022. You can read more about the changes and download resources, including mapping guides that explain the differences between the current and new qualifications and switching guides that compare them with the equivalent BTECs.
Although we can’t all be Olympians, you can be sure that we have a qualification that will help support learners on their journey in the sector, whether in elite sport, fitness, coaching or the leisure industry. And who knows, perhaps they may even help a future Team GB or Paralympic GB member break even more records!
If you have any questions you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_PhysEd. You can also sign up to receive email updates and receive information about resources and support.
Gareth joined OCR in 2005 and has been a Development Specialist since 2014. As part of this role he developed the 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 and attends as many live sports events as he can including football, rugby, ice hockey and athletics.