High Performance Manager, Darren Roberts has taken Lydia Chadwick under his wing. Despite assignment deadlines and lectures, Lydia an Edge Hill University student, tells us what it’s like to apply what she has studied in to the real world of atheletes.
Hi I am Lydia, originally from Northumberland and now living in Ormskirk, currently in my third and final year of Applied Sport Science. I plan to move to Edinburgh in September and complete a Masters in Sports Performance Enhancement, to further enhance my knowledge of the science used in high performance sport.
Playing rugby union for the University and for a Championship North One team; Firwood Waterloo Ladies, led to a chance meeting with Rebekah Wilson, Great Britain Olympic bobsleigh brakewoman, where she introduced me to Darren Roberts.
From this, Darren very kindly took me on placement with him from last September to April this year, to learn all about the strength and conditioning world with the general public to high performance athletes.
Since starting my placement, Darren has passed on a vast amount of knowledge about dealing with athletes, who mostly have an injury or are in rehabilitation. This is in mannerisms as well as in the gym, learning that if an athlete has a broken leg they still must train with the same high level of intensity as normal and adapt to that injury.
The exposure to a variety of extreme sports, such as motocross, kitesurfing and Cirque Du Soleil, is a great opportunity to understand the different sports and their demands. In a strength and conditioning aspect, Darren has taught me the different styles of coaching, various new skills and techniques in the gym and how to create a program, ensuring progression and rehabilitation of the injury and the patient’s overall strength. When analysing the effect of the injury, it has been beneficial to learn about the baseline strength testing, using a pressure cuff, enabling an easy and accessible method to test strength between limbs. Darren has taken me to Liverpool John Moore’s University, where sport science testing was carried out on elite athletes, which was enjoyable as I could apply my knowledge learnt at university to a real-life setting.
Whilst working with Darren, we have seen many athletes with various severity of trauma injuries. This has highlighted the importance of the support network around an athlete; such as physiotherapists, surgeons, coach, strength and conditioning coach, etc. In one case where a broken femur has occurred, an Exogen was applied; a great learning curve for me to understand new medical technology. Many ACL (a major knee ligament) rehab cases have come into the clinic and as this is such a common injury in many sports and athletes, it is really fascinating to learn about the exercises and the temporal progression of these exercises whilst an athlete is in rehabilitation.
It has been great to learn the different ways to recover from an injury and being exposed to the various physiotherapy techniques Harris & Ross has available, such as hydrotherapy and massage, it allows a wider scope for progression for a diverse range of patients with their different injuries. As well as this, we have regularly used the Isokinetic Dynamometer (IKD), which has been extremely useful as it is a widely utilised piece of equipment in the sport science world, to examine muscle function in a specific area.
University has been a great experience which I thoroughly enjoy (despite the hard work), however it has not prepared me for the ‘real world’ which I will enter upon graduation. Darren has and continues to teach me the skills and knowledge, which will ensure I am more than equipped when working with elite athletes in either a sport science or a strength and conditioning setting. This placement has hugely advanced my knowledge and ability to coach athletes, to provide training programmes, making the experience invaluable and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
To discuss our High Performance Management service further, just click on the ‘Request an Appointment’ tab on the right side of the page and we’d be happy to discuss, or you can contact us over the phone.