Sports Science

What Is a Sports Science Degree?

The sports industry is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. It might seem like sports are pretty straightforward, the coaches and athletes go out and coach and play the game. Through legal and illegal ways, athletes have developed into freakishly strong players, however, raising the bar on competition and the ability to play at the amateur and professional levels.

Sports science studies the science of sport, understanding the complexities of the biomechanics, physiology, psychology and nutrition behind some of the world’s best athletes. This enables scientists to research ways for the athletes to achieve optimal performance safely, without the use of illegal substances or running the risk of damaging their bodies during play.

A sports science degree is beneficial to students who wish to enter into the research side of athletics, as well as those who dream of playing and coaching sports professionally. Understanding the science behind the athlete brings everyone to their “A” game, and a sports science degree provides the anatomical and psychological answers to some of sports most perplexing problems.

Sports Science Job Opportunities

Students who want to coach should definitely pursue their sports science degree. Athletic coaches are the voice behind the players, helping each athlete realise his or her full potential. These coaches must understand both the physical and psychological demand of sports. Coaches might work as volunteers, locally or – most likely the ultimate goal – coaching professional athletes. Volunteers, naturally, do not make a salary. Local coaches earn salaries ranging from £15,000 to £25,000. Coaches working for professional athletics have the potential to earn £30,000 to £35,000; experienced coaches at the highest professional level can earn more than £100,000.

Graduating students who wish to work in fitness might consider becoming a sports therapist. Sports therapists, or trainers as they are sometimes called, work directly with the athletes in developing the ideal training and fitness programme. Sports therapists also treat sporting injuries, working with the athlete from the onset of the injury through to complete recovery of physical fitness. Sports therapists might work in the clinical environment, in educational institutions or with professional teams. Depending on experience, sports therapists earn anywhere from £16,000 to £28,000, with those lucky enough to work with professional athletes earning up to £35,000.

Athletics is as much mental as it is physical, and a sports science degree also enables students to become sports and exercise psychologists. Sports and exercise psychologists work with athletes at the mental level, ensuring the behaviours and mental processes remain positive to the athletes and their individual or team goals. Athletics takes as much of a mental toll on athletes as they do physically, and sports and exercise psychologists work with coaches and athletes to strengthen the mental muscles. Sports and exercise psychologists earn a bit more than their physical therapist counterparts, with salaries starting at £27,000, and going as high as £55,000 for experienced psychologists. Psychological consultants to professional athletes can charge £800 to £1,000 per day in consultancy fees.

Sports Science Curriculum

Sports science curriculum includes learning and utilising research and data analysis skills, oral and written communication skills, problem-solving skills, and the study of the human body, psychology and diet and nutrition. Students will work individually and in teams on a number of projects designed to teach them how to aid athletes and their coaches in achieving the highest athletic performance possible.

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