Blake West

'Thanks to the partnership with UC, the Crusaders Academy came and talked to us about the internship...'

  • Blake West

Studying towards a Bachelor of Sport Coaching with an endorsement in Strength and Conditioning

A keen rugby player and aspiring coach, Blake is focusing on Strength and Conditioning as he works towards his degree in Sport Coaching at UC. It's a field he plans to specialise in as he develops his coaching career.

'I want to become a high-performance strength and conditioning coach with an industry-specific business,' he says.

For Blake, coaching is all about being hands-on and he has made a dream start on his plan by landing an internship with the Crusaders Academy. This position gives him the opportunity to work with players at a senior level, which is a huge boost to his practical experience.

'The work involves being on the floor in the professional gym to help with technique, spotting and exercise changing. I also do on-field conditioning, and speed, strength and conditioning testing and monitoring, as well as programme development.’

Blake first heard about the Crusaders Academy internship through the new community partnership between UC and the Crusaders.

‘Thanks to the partnership with UC, the Crusaders Academy came and talked to us about the internship opportunity. It does contribute towards my degree, but I have far exceeded the internship hours required, and now it is all done independently.'

The Academy role then led to Blake being asked to be an intern coach with the Canterbury ITM Cup squad as well.

‘On game day I help out with the ITM squad, with the changing room set-up, warm-up session and on the bench during the game.'

It’s working out so well that Blake has signed up to continue for a second year at the Academy.

'I like the practical nature of the Sport Coaching degree at UC, and the way it can be directly applied to training and coaching,' he says. 'I also enjoy the friendliness of the people here. The lecturers are great and the facilities are fantastic.'

Blake notes that three years at university can fly by, so it is important to maximise that time, especially with a view to preparing for working life afterwards.

'Apply yourself as much as possible as the time goes very fast. Work out what specific areas you enjoy and work towards focusing on these more, especially now there are a number of endorsement options for the Bachelor of Sport Coaching — like I am doing with Strength and Conditioning. Network as much as you can with coaches and various people in the industry. The opportunities this degree gives for that are invaluable.'

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