Working with performance athletes has inspired Paul to push his studies further

Paul Fleming has strong ambitions to become a Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation Coach. The chance to work with performance athletes from Team Derby has allowed him to enrol onto our MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Science course, which has been part-funded due to this opportunity.

Internship part-funds Paul's degree

Paul started his undergraduate studies here at the University of Derby on our BSc (Hons) Sport Therapy and Rehabilitation course. He was inspired to further his studies due to the academic enthusiasm for their specialist areas and the support they are willing to provide. He states, “they encourage me to keep pushing myself through difficult moments, which helps me to reflect on my own practices and ways of working to better myself as an academic and practitioner.”

During his undergraduate course, Paul undertook a work placement with Team Derby in the strength and conditioning area and grew to form good relationships with the staff and academics of his course, the Strength and Conditioning Team and Team Derby. This led Paul to take the physiology pathway for his postgraduate studies, along with a strength and conditioning internship on offer with Team Derby. “The internship is extremely advantageous as it allows me to complete my required 150 hours of work experience, and my course is part-funded because of it.”

A group of male Team Derby rugby players in a scrum.

Preparing talented athletes

Whilst gaining hands-on, practical experience via his strength and conditioning internship, Paul has been involved with preparing the University’s performance teams and Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) sports scholars for their games and competitions throughout the year. As well as running sessions (with supervision), to ensure they are getting the support they need from the University.

Paul's developing his programming knowledge through the responsibility of writing programmes for seven athletes and developing coaching skills via online sessions, and meetings with athletes and the Strength and Conditioning Team during the pandemic.

When asked what opportunities the MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Science has offered him, Paul replied:

“The course allows me to gain more skills in areas surrounding sport and exercise which will inevitably make me a more well-rounded practitioner. Team Derby have also given me the opportunity to work with Derby County Community Trust and other sporting organisations that the university has links with (including Derby County FC and Derby County Cricket Club). It will also give me the necessary experience to gain UKSCA accreditation, as well as membership to a number of other professional organisations which all come with a number of additional benefits.”

Future plans

After finishing his masters, Paul would like to go into further education and complete a PhD, whilst gaining employment as a Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation coach, either within an elite sports setting or a clinic.