A Coach's Journey To The Elite Level - With James Collingwood!

My journey began by playing competitive sport in just about every sport I could growing up.  This included rugby, cricket, hockey, squash and athletics. Being ultra-competitive I was always looking for ways to get better in the sports I was playing and this helped me in choosing to do a Sport Science degree (BSc) at Brighton University.  Whilst studying at University I developed an in depth knowledge of the bodies anatomy and physiology and how training and nutrition can impact performance.  This was a great learning experience and helped to develop my researching and academic writing skills.  One area in particular that interested me was the field of strength and conditioning.  At the time it was a relatively un-heard of title for training in the UK with most people putting this area under the umbrella term of 'sport science' yet in America, Russia, Eastern Europe and China this was an already well established field with a huge emphasis.

By wanting to learn more about strength and conditioning I enrolled on a Masters degree (MSc) in strength and conditioning at Middlesex University.  At the time there was only two universities offering strength and conditioning masters in Britain and since then the field has rapidly expanded. The masters’ course covered many topics including advanced strength and conditioning techniques such as Olympic lifting and plyometrics and how to incorporate these techniques by programming effectively and by periodising programs. Whilst undergoing my masters I began gathering experience working with athletes at every opportunity that became available.  Working at establishments such as Harrow School as a strength and conditioning intern helped me to grow as a coach.  Every strength and conditioning coach should have both a detailed scientific knowledge and a strong ability to coach athletes and clients alike.  This course also provided me with accreditation with both the UK Strength and Conditioning Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Since starting my masters I have worked with athletes from a variety of sports ranging from professional football, rugby union, cricket, boxing, basketball, tennis and athletics.  By working with a range of athletes I have become more versatile at working in different scenarios, different time constraints and learning to improvise when and where needed to deliver the session content required.  Whilst gaining this experience I have also completed a number of courses to continue my professional development.  I have completed the NASM Performance and Corrective Exercise Specialist courses, attended the Athletes Performance phase 1 mentorship and become a Precision Nutrition Certified Coach.  All of this has enabled me to keep my knowledge of training, coaching and nutrition up to date and to achieve great results with the clients and athletes I currently train.

I am passionate about transforming people's lives and helping people to reach their goals whether performance on body composition is what really motivates me.  My training philosophy is to combine strength training with conditioning and place a large emphasis on mobility to achieve the best results.  By training hard and working hard on improving eating habits specific to the client’s goal I feel that no goal is unobtainable.   As I work in both the performance and fitness industry it has allowed me a unique insight into a variety of training techniques and to work with some incredible trainers and coaches.  The strength training and hypertrophy training methods used by athletes and their coaches has a fantastic crossover with clients looking to gain muscle and has helped many to reach new personal bests.  I believe that the strength and conditioning industry and the fitness industry have a lot to learn from each other and that in the future the two will work closely side by side for the greater good to both.

On a personal level I currently play Rugby Union in north London and recently completed the Tough Guy Nettle Warrior 2013. I regularly use strength training including the use of Olympic Lifts in my programs to increase my strength and power which are both important variables in Rugby Union.

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