Nick Read completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science in 2014. He now works for KiwiSport as a Rugby League Officer for the Waikato District.
Can you tell us about your current role?
I am directly responsible for the accessibility, development, and growth of Rugby League in the Waikato, primarily working with youth aged 5-18.
The region I cover stretches from South Turangi to the Coromandel Coast, up to Te Kauwhata, so my job can be challenging in terms of logistics, planning, and the development of sustainable rugby league clubs/modules.
The bigger picture in Rugby League is not limited to developing better players, but more importantly to develop better people. Thus, my position covers a large spectrum of roles and responsibilities, with Rugby League often being used as a vehicle to drive the holistic development of youth.
My general responsibilities include:
- Planning and administration
- Project management
- Practical delivery (skills & drills) to youth aged 5-18 from beginner to sub-elite
- Workshops/presentations – nutrition, strength & conditioning, recovery, player welfare
- Development and support of Rugby League initiatives
- The variety of my job role is what makes this such an exciting career
How did your experience at the Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance help you find your first position after graduation?
I learnt much about physiology and anatomy throughout my degree, however my most important experience was the change in my thought processes.
Gradually my approach to projects/ideas became more methodical, rational and the processes between explained with justification. These are important tools when yoru role is governed by funding and you’re answerable to the community.
Having completed a Bachelors Degree in Sports and Exercise Science also provided me with credentials that gave me an edge over some of the other applicants.
Do you use any of your graduate training in your job, and if so, how?
Numerous components covered in my training in sports science can be used to contribute to Rugby League performance. Having sound knowledge in a variety of areas allows me to confidently deliver education workshops about nutrition, strength and conditioning, recovery, and player welfare.
On a typical day (or week) in this position, what do you do?
Conference call, reports, event planning, administration tasks, club session practical delivery (skills and drills)
School skill delivery, administration tasks
School delivery, representative delivery (skills and drills), Rugby League Board meeting
Meeting/proposals to stakeholders and interested parties about future events, school delivery, after school session.
Any tasks that need to be completed for representative duties (planning, content creation). Support zonal staff on any projects they may be co-ordinating. Day varies each week
Deliver sessions to Mini-Mod & Talent identification.
Off (1-2 times per month attend trial/tournament).
What are the toughest problems you have to deal with?
The toughest problem I face is getting Rugby League into schools … Rugby League in the Waikato is a predominantly a club-based sport as a result of Rugby Union being offered first. Often I am refused entry into secondary schools for fear of competing over the same players.
The size of our region, which must be taken into account during the planning process to reduce travel time and unnecessary expense.
Limited funding – I am one of two Rugby League Development Officers in our region, myself and David McMeeken (SportsForce) cover all bases of Rugby League. Every other operator is a volunteer, thus coordinating projects and upskilling volunteers can often be difficult.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Watching youth develop and grow holistically through Rugby League. Often when delivering the educational workshops involved in our development programmes, youth become leaders because our aim is to allow players to become more self-aware.
My own learning continues to grow. We are fortunate to be in partnership with the Brisbane Broncos NRL club, who send their coaching/recruitment staff over for coaching workshops.
What would you look for if you were in the position to hire new graduates from Wintec?
- Volunteer work
- Achieved qualifications and competencies
- Personal branding – how their skill set would complement the team
- Goals – What personal long term outcomes they are hoping to achieve
Can you please tell me about your experience at Wintec?
I had a very positive experience at Wintec and continue to be a great advocate. Aside from meeting likeminded people, with whom I am still very close friends; I was most impressed by Wintec staff.
The staff from the Centre for Sports Science and Human Performance are some of the best in their respective fields. They each have a great depth of knowledge and also an ability to break this down for their audience. The class size during tutorials made learning much more accessible and personal.
If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?
Possibly look to study Sports Management as an elective. Aside from that, the remainder of my degree was an enjoyable learning experience.
If there was one key message that you would say to someone starting out in Sport Science what would it be?
If you’re looking for a career in Sport that is fun, enjoyable, and rewarding, the end result is all worth it.