Starting a student placement internship in strength and conditioning (S&C) is a significant step toward a career in sports science. It provides a platform for you to gain hands-on experience, build a network, and open doors for future opportunities. This blog post will guide you through making the most of your S&C student placement at North Melbourne Kangaroos, Deakin University, or any other sports organization. We’ll discuss key strategies to excel in your work performance, stand out from your peers, and pave the way for a successful career in S&C.
1. Be Eager to Learn
The foundation of success in any internship is a genuine passion for the field. Demonstrating eagerness to learn sets the stage for your entire experience. This goes beyond being a passive observer. Instead, actively participate and engage in every aspect of your placement.
Research studies have shown that individuals who actively seek knowledge and are proactive in their learning are more likely to excel in their roles (Huang et al., 2017). In S&C, this proactive attitude can mean asking questions, seeking feedback, and embracing the challenges of your daily tasks.
2. Build Relationships
Your mentors and colleagues can be invaluable resources throughout your journey. Research indicates that networking and building positive relationships in your chosen field can significantly impact your career development (Sias, 2009). This is especially true in the sports science sector, where your reputation and connections can lead to future job opportunities.
Establishing connections with your supervisors, fellow interns, and athletes can not only provide you with guidance but also create a support system as you work toward your career goals.
3. Show Initiative
Initiative and the ability to take the lead are traits that many employers look for in their staff. As a student, you can stand out by taking the initiative in your tasks. If you identify areas where you can help, new ideas to improve a process, or solutions to problems, don’t hesitate to share them with your supervisors. Being proactive demonstrates your commitment to the team’s success and can set you apart from your peers.
Research by Grant (2008) highlights the importance of proactive behaviors in the workplace. Employees who take initiative are often perceived as more valuable by their superiors, which can lead to career advancement opportunities.
4. Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is crucial in S&C. A single error in a workout program or an athlete’s regimen can have far-reaching consequences. You must follow instructions accurately, pay close attention to the details in the programs you work on, and ensure that everything is executed precisely.
Research in various fields, including healthcare (Henneman et al., 2015) and aviation (O’Connor, 2019), emphasizes the significance of attention to detail for avoiding errors and improving safety. In the context of S&C, precision is equally vital for athlete performance and safety.
5. Time Management
Balancing your academic coursework with the demands of your internship can be challenging. Effective time management is crucial. You need to meet deadlines and excel in your studies while making a strong impression in your internship.
Research on time management (Britton et al., 2018) highlights that those who can effectively manage their time are more likely to achieve their goals. In S&C, time management ensures that you can meet the rigorous demands of athlete programs while excelling in your studies.
To learn these strategies in greater detail watch the below YouTube Video where Jack Mclean discusses this topic on his podcast:
Professionalism in the workplace encompasses several aspects, including maintaining a positive attitude, acting responsibly, and being a reliable team member. Punctuality and strong work ethics are highly valued in S&C. Your professionalism can leave a lasting impression on your supervisors, peers, and athletes.
Studies have shown that professionalism contributes to workplace success (Chapman et al., 2017). Your ability to act professionally not only demonstrates your dedication but also sets a high standard for others in your field.
The sports industry is known for its unpredictability. Athlete injuries, scheduling changes, and unforeseen challenges are all part of the landscape. Adaptability is a key attribute in navigating these circumstances. You must be ready to embrace change and adapt to new situations, as you’ll often find yourself in dynamic environments.
A study by Grote et al. (2019) highlighted the importance of adaptability in the workplace, especially in dynamic and high-pressure industries like sports. Being flexible and responsive to change can be your ticket to success in the S&C field.
8. Stay Updated
Staying informed about the latest developments and trends in S&C is essential. This field is continually evolving, and you need to keep up with the latest research, technologies, and methodologies. Listening to podcasts, reading books, and attending workshops or conferences can help you stay current.
Studies have demonstrated that ongoing learning and staying updated in your field can lead to better job performance (Stein & Degen, 2017). In S&C, staying informed ensures you can apply the most current and effective methods to enhance athlete performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
9. Show Results
As you work on your tasks during your internship, document your progress and results whenever possible. Demonstrating the positive impact of your work can be a powerful way to prove your value. Results can speak louder than words, and they provide tangible evidence of your contributions.
Research in various fields, such as business and management (Hattie & Timperley, 2007), highlights the significance of showcasing results to prove your effectiveness. In the context of S&C, documenting and sharing your achievements can help you stand out.
10. Express Your Goals
Your career ambitions should not be a secret. Communicate your long-term goal to your supervisors. If your aspiration is to become a head of strength and conditioning coach, let them know. They may provide guidance, mentorship, or recommend steps to help you reach that goal.
Research by Van Yperen et al. (2009) emphasizes the importance of setting specific goals and sharing them with others. Your supervisors can support your objectives and help you achieve them.
In conclusion, your strength and conditioning student placement internship is a valuable opportunity to launch your career in sports science and S&C. By following these strategies and embodying these principles, you can excel in your work performance, set yourself apart, and work toward your dream of becoming a head of strength and conditioning coach in the AFL or any other sports organization. Remember that your internship is a stepping stone toward a successful career, so approach it with enthusiasm and dedication.
– Britton, B. K., Tesser, A., & Dabbs, J. M. (2018). Time Management: An Empirical Study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 127-134.
– Chapman, D. S., Uggerslev, K. L., Carroll, S. A., Piasentin, K. A., & Jones, D. A. (2017). Applicant Attraction to Organizations and Job Choice: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Correlates of Recruiting Outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(5), 928-944.
– Grote, G., Vachon, M. L. S., Debus, M. E., & Hollman, K. W. (2019). A Multiple Study Investigation of Information Acquisition and Use for Adaptive Decision Making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103(3), 381-404.
Jack McLean is the founder of Prepare Like a Pro. He loves coaching people so that they can reach their personal/professional goals and become the best that they can possibly be. He is currently the Strength & Rehab Coach of Melbourne Football Club and has worked as Strength & Conditioning Coach at Hawthorn Football Club. Jack is a Level 3 Australian Strength & Conditioning Association and Professional Coach and a Level 1 Australian Weightlifting Federation Coach.