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Student story

Blake West

20 July 2023

Ngāi Tahu

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


(Ngāi Tahu)

Bachelor of Sport Coaching with an endorsement in Strength and Conditioning

Strength and Condition Coach, Canterbury Rugby Football Union

Founder and Personal Trainer, Iconic Fitness

A keen rugby player and aspiring coach, Blake focused on Strength and Conditioning towards his degree in Sport Coaching at UC. It's a field he plans to specialise in as he continues to develop 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 made a dream start by landing an internship with the Crusaders Academy. This position gave him the opportunity to work with players at a senior level, which was a huge boost to his practical experience.

"The work involved being on the floor in the professional gym to help with technique, spotting and exercise changing. I also did 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 contributed towards my degree, but I far exceeded the internship hours required, and then it was 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. It worked out so well that Blake signed up for a second year at the Academy.

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

"I liked 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 enjoyed the friendliness of the people there. The lecturers are great and the facilities are fantastic."

After graduating from UC, Blake went onto running strength and conditioning programmes for both Christchurch Boys and Burnside High Schools rugby divisions.

He is now the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the U19 Squad, and has also founded his own corporate training business Iconic Fitness, for coaching work outside of sport with his newfound interest in business.

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 with a number of endorsement options for the Bachelor of Sport Coaching — like I did 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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