Like many great opportunities, it was through a chance meeting that we now welcome Ben to the team. Specialising in Performance, Strength and Conditioning Coaching, he has a special interest in working with young people and athletes.
We seek to partner with other movement specialists, educators and coaches. People who are more than your average personal trainers (PTs). People who bring something unique that enhances what we deliver so we continue to evolve as a centre of excellence in rehabilitation, strength and performance.
As we welcome Ben to the team, we invited him to introduce himself. So here he is, in his own words...
My desire to be involved in health, fitness and sport began after completing my GCSE’s. I knew that I was extremely passionate about many sports and was made aware of the possible avenues that would allow me to remain within sport even without being an athlete. I undertook a 2-year BTEC in Sport Science at Bedford College were Tom Davies (yes, Tom who is also part of The MAT Clinic and akarmalife team!) and other lecturers introduced me and progressed me through different approaches to how, as a support staff, we could constantly make improvements for all populations including elite athletes. I was particularly interested in the sports performance module, in which we would coach our peers in different sports and training methods. This stuck out to me as I enjoyed leading and engaging with peers, clients, athletes and understanding how I could be the best coach for them.
Having begun my career in health, fitness, and sport at Bedford College, I moved onto higher education at Nottingham Trent University. I undertook a 3-year course in Sport and Exercise Science, and further progressed my understanding of nutrition, biomechanics, anatomy & physiology and psychology. During my first year on the degree I was able to participate in a sports masseuse course that would allow me to develop my understanding of how Sports Massage can help with recovery and readiness for events. Whilst I made great improvements in my education through this degree, I understood that one of the best ways to learn and progress as a coach in this industry was to gain exposure working with different types of athletes. I was able during my second year of studying to gain some voluntary work, working with Nottingham Forest Football Club within the youth system. I worked closely alongside the Sport scientists and Strength & Conditioning coaches there to understand how I adapt to be able to coach children aged between 6-18 years old.
I was able to make further headway in my exposure as a support coach in sport by gaining a full placement year working at Forest with the first team. During my time there I worked with some of the founding fathers of Sport Science in football and the elite football players that were involved. Some of the standout players that I was able to work with and coach include Matty Cash (Poland, Aston Villa), Lewis Grabban (Nottingham Forest), Ben Brereton Diaz (Chile, Blackburn Rovers), Diogo Goncalves (Portugal, Benfica), and Michael Dawson (England, Tottenham Hotspur). This year further progressed my ability as a coach to work with both young and older athletes and how I can be the most suitable coach for the individual and their sports.
After graduating from Nottingham Trent University, I moved to Loughborough University to undertake a 1-year master’s degree in Strength & Conditioning. Once again desiring to be involved as a coach, I gained a placement year working with Team GB Swimmers in their rescheduled final year of preparation before the Tokyo Olympics. Some of the standout Swimmers I worked with during my team with British Swimming include Adam Peaty, James Wilby, Molly Renshaw, Abbie Wood and many other young up and coming swimmers within the British swimming scheme. This gave opportunity diversified my coaching style further to understand the difference between a sport like football, where performance is expected once if not twice a week, and an Olympic sport, where preparations can last up to 4 years. Further expanding my knowledge and skill as a coach to some of the world’s best swimmers. During this degree I was able to complete my Personal Trainer qualifications as well, further progressing my understanding and knowledge of coaching within the health, fitness, and performance industry.
After finishing my masters, I moved on to my first full time employment at a prestigious all girls school in Brighton called Roedean School. This school is notorious for its sporting endeavours and was the first school in the world to teach females how to play cricket. Within this role, I was responsible for building a Strength and Conditioning culture to young female students and integrating ‘gym’ into the physical literacy programming. Whilst my previous experience allowed me to work with some of the best in their respective sports, Roedean provided me an opportunity to work with young athletes, and students that were intrigued to begin their fitness journeys. Further expanding my knowledge, practices, and understanding of how important it is to be a suitable coach and trainer for the individual rather than using a blanket philosophy.
Coincidence then intervened via a chance meeting with Stuart whilst requiring some external support with an injury. Having spent some time with Stuart, we were able to discuss my career aspirations and goals, alongside my philosophy and ethics when it came to being a performance coach and sports therapist. It was clear to see that akarmalife, The MAT Clinic, and the Strength & Rehab Centre would provide me an opportunity to pursue my interest areas while enabling members to have access to my expertise.
I am supporting, Tom, Tasha, and Stuart in the continual improvement of the Strength & Rehab Centre, and supporting Olena, and Stuart in pushing the business further to allow new and current members to have a high-class service, facilities, and experience that they value.
I look forward to meeting many members in the coming months. Please feel free to ask any questions in relation to my experience and how that experience can be tailored to suit yourself or any friends and family members that may benefit from my expertise.