What you will study
People who work, or who have an aspiration to work, in sport and fitness environments, whether as teachers, coaches or instructors will always require a level of underpinning scientific knowledge to get the best out of their athletes/participants. It is this underpinning knowledge that allows them to make effective decisions in the planning and monitoring of injury risk reduction, performance gains, technical adjustments etc. with the person’s wants and needs at the centre of every decision.
The module content draws on Côté and Gilbert’s (2009) definition of effective coaching which introduces that coaches require underpinning ‘professional, interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge’. This underpinning professional knowledge will be covered in four of the six study topics by providing applied anatomy and physiology, athlete monitoring and biomechanics, and strength and conditioning content. Following this, you’ll work through a final study topic that covers the softer skills of coaching (inter- and intra-personal knowledge), applying these to coaching contexts and possible athlete outcomes. This module will therefore allow you to develop a solid grounding in physiology, athlete monitoring, biomechanics, strength and conditioning training methodologies and effective coaching, allowing reflective application to various populations/contexts throughout. Ultimately, this module will allow you to become a more effective coach, meeting the needs of your clients/athletes/participants in the sport and fitness environments you choose to work in.
Study Topic 1 (3 weeks): Exploring science and coaching
You’ll be introduced to sport and exercise science as a discipline and begin to explore how this can be applied to coaching in various sport and fitness settings. The study topic will guide you through the science of coaching, what makes a coach effective and how coaches learn. Within this, a multi-disciplinary approach to working with an athlete will be introduced: i.e. a coach drawing on many different areas of sport and exercise science to influence the training and behaviours of athletes.
Study Topic 2 (5 weeks): Understanding the body in action
This study topic will explore the different systems in the body used in sport and fitness settings with a view to understanding the production and control of human movement. For example, the nervous, muscular, skeletal and cardiorespiratory systems.
Study Topic 3 (5 weeks): Monitoring people and performance in sport and fitness
This study topic will include ‘Athlete monitoring’ – from multiple aspects: e.g. athlete work load (training, practice, competition, etc.), hydration, fuelling, body composition, recovery, biomechanical analysis (including movement and force analysis), linking to performance increases and injury frequency/risk reduction.
Study Topic 4 (5 weeks): Strength and conditioning in action
Following on from study topics 2 and 3, it’s important that you develop your underpinning knowledge of how the body can produce and control movement, and how we can monitor the athlete, to be able to increase levels of performance through strength and conditioning. This study topic will guide you through various training approaches to meet the needs of each individual, be that a sports athlete or a fitness client. It will consider strength, endurance, and power/speed training as well as exploring periodisation for various contexts.
Study Topic 5 (two options from a choice of three – 4 weeks total):
a) The child athlete
b) The ageing athlete
c) Environmental physiology
The three options allow you to focus your attention to working with and developing young people in sport and fitness, or working with older people in sport and fitness, or alternatively to develop your understanding of how varying environments can impact upon human performance and physiology of people you may be supporting. For each of these contextualised scenarios, you’ll consider the individual needs in potential scenarios. You’ll draw on your reflections and study through previous study topics in this module to be able to plan, programme, monitor and adapt training/coaching to meet these individual needs under the context of these three options.
Study Topic 6 (3 weeks): Sport and exercise science in practice
The content will draw together the previous five study topics for you to critique and build on the softer skills of coaching in a sport and fitness environment. This final study topic will help optimise the development of coaches’ competencies by encouraging self-reflection on all aspects of applying sport and exercise science to coaching.
This module will also build on the academic skills that you’ve developed at OU level 1.
You will learn
When you complete your studies for this module, you’ll have knowledge and understanding of how to:
- explain how movement is produced, controlled and sustained during sport and fitness activities
- analyse an individual’s technique and monitor the impact of their training loads, nutrition, hydration, and sleep on performance
- apply principles of strength and conditioning to programme interventions that meet the needs of individuals in sport and fitness settings
- discuss the considerations required to coach younger or older people in sport and fitness contexts, or those in extreme environments
- critically evaluate your understanding and knowledge of the coaching process to meet the needs of individuals more effectively.
When you complete this module, you’ll be able to:
- collect and analyse information to plan a progressive training programme
- recognise the value of sport and exercise sciences and associated subjects in the disciplines of sports coaching and exercise instruction
- reflect on the impact of your (or another’s) coaching on various individuals or groups in sport and fitness settings.
The aim of the programme is to enable you to develop as a creative, imaginative and reflective learner as a foundation for employment, professional and further academic study in the field of sport and fitness. The module aims to develop knowledge and skills that are relevant to professional roles in sport and fitness and thus incorporates work-related learning and applied case studies.