Placements prepare James for sporting life after graduation

BA (Hons) Sport Coaching and Development student, James Stainton’s determination to learn has led him to completing numerous work placements, building confidence and preparing him for life after graduation.

Finding a passion

James enjoys learning about the impact coaches have on performance. He says: “I’ve liked meeting professionals and listening to their stories and insights on the barriers they have faced and overcome.” 

And he has been able to do that on his work placements, including at Burton Albion Football Club, where he helped with their testing. This work consisted of conducting tests at key times throughout training sessions, for instance pre- and post-sessions included measuring weight, agility and specific ability associated with their sport. He is hoping that all of the skills he has developed will help him start a career in the military as a trainer.

James says: “The lecturers helped to create placement opportunities, which was great in building my confidence as they trusted me to represent the University.”

He has also completed two seven-week work placements coaching the Ladies Woodlands Hockey Club and a coaching role for the University of Derby Girls Development Football Team. The Football Club was so impressed with James’s support that they asked him to continue his role, which he now does voluntarily. 

Looking to improve

James’s placements have given him an insight into how the slightest adjustment in key areas can make all the difference, such as the positioning of goalkeepers. He says: “This meant I was constantly observing, ready to adapt, if necessary, for example whether the activity was too easy for the participants."

“My favourite part of my work placements was to watch the professional coaching teams. This allowed me to see how I need to improve my techniques and consider other possible outcomes from situations. As well as learning to adapt to coaching different sports. These experiences have helped me understand and mentally prepare for work after my degree.”

As well as the work placements, James has also supported the teaching team to run demonstrations for visitors. He says: “All of these opportunities have helped to prepare me for life after graduation by creating circumstances or situations where I have used certain skills that are needed in a workplace environment. The university also has links and connections with organisations that you can build relationships with to help build knowledge and experience.”

A goal keeper kicking a ball

Willing and determined

James had found the idea of coming to university daunting before he made the move to Derby. He comes from a small village and he was also worried that he may struggle due to his dyslexia. He says his decision to come the University of Derby was based on the level of support right from the start.

“The lecturers are there to guide and help you,” he says. “I’ve found you just need willingness and determination to learn and making the decision to study is something I will never regret."

“The support from the lecturers is superb, especially if you are willing to ask questions. They guide you to the answers but encourage you to think independently too, which aids your learning."

"University is an environment where whatever you put in is what you’ll get out, so take every opportunity that is available to you. You will not regret it.”