Four Action Steps for Healthcare Students Wanting to Work in Football
Hey everyone! My name is Andy Seraphin, and I am a strength coach and physical therapy student who aspires to work in professional football in the future. Although I am certainly a few years off of achieving my goal, I have put together a few actionable steps that I believe can help students gain valuable experience in sport, while still in school.
- Get Strength and Conditioning Experience
Every member of a sport performance staff needs a solid understanding of strength and conditioning principles to succeed. There is no better time to learn the basics of strength training than as a healthcare student. I recommend taking as many courses as possible in physiology and sport performance, and earning a personal training or strength coaching certification. Afterwards, reach out to as many strength and conditioning facilities near you to see if there are any employment or internship opportunities. If none come your way, no worries- you can still gain valuable experience by training friends and family for free!
- Get Experience in Sport Rehabilitation
If you aim to assist in the rehabilitation of athletes as an athletic trainer or physio, you need to get as much exposure to sport rehabilitation as possible. Generally speaking, practicing clinicians are happy to have students shadow or volunteer (especially if they have a strength training background). When it comes to volunteering, I recommend reaching out to facilities that have relationships with professional or youth teams. Be active while shadowing, and ask questions that reflect your current level of knowledge in sport performance. Furthermore, if your academic program has clinical internships, try to have at least one of them be within a sport performance setting.
- Find a Club to Volunteer For
After getting exposure to both rehabilitation and strength and conditioning, I recommend finding a football club near you where you can volunteer. You can serve as an intern for the rehabilitation, performance, or sport science departments. When finding a football club, you will likely have a few options. You can reach out to your university team, local grassroots youth clubs, youth academies, or professional clubs. Most clubs have the contact info for their athletic trainers, physios, and performance coaches listed on their website. If not, I recommend reaching out to them via Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Also, try making a map or list of all clubs in your area, and reaching out to every single one of them. If you don’t hear back, don’t get discouraged. You only need one club to say yes for you to get a solid start.
- Networking, Networking, Networking
Networking is key to advancing in any field, and the sport performance world is no different. Be sure to establish solid relationships with your peers, professors, and any practicing clinicians you encounter along your journey. In today’s age of social media, you can follow and connect with many of our field’s leaders with just a few clicks. Also, try and attend as many conferences as you can involving football and sport performance and network there as well.
That’s all for now! If you have any questions about any of the topics I discussed, feel free to reach out to me via email, Instagram, or twitter. If you’re a student, just know that we’re all in this together, and although our end goal is difficult to achieve, there’s a ton to learn on our journey J