Sports Coaching

Foundation Degree

Our Warrington Campus is a unique place to study for your Foundation Degree. We work with local schools to help students to see where knowledge gained on this programme can be used in ‘real’ environments and across a range of sports. In addition to this, for a number of years we have been the full-time training base for the Warrington Wolves Rugby League team, and this has afforded opportunities for some of our students to gain genuine insight and experience of a professional sports environment.

Warrington Campus Open Day

Come to our Open Day on Saturday 22nd October to find out more about this course.

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Campus Warrington Campus
Course Foundation Degree
Length Full time: 2 Years; Part time: 5 Years
Start date September 2016

Sportscoach UK, the lead body in coaching, has identified that of the 1.2 million coaches currently working in the UK, 80% are volunteers. The UK Action Plan for Coaching set the target of working towards coaching as a profession between 2006 and 2016. In order to achieve this, the education and training of coaches will play a vital role. According to SkillsActive, Sportscoach UK's view is that Foundation Degrees will recognise the importance of the vocational nature of coaching, widen opportunities and provide a collaborative approach to coach education.

Why study Sports Coaching at our Warrington Campus?

The Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching is designed for individuals already working, or wishing to start working, in the area of Sports Coaching. It is a flexible programme for students wishing to study part time or full time.

The full- and part-time approach combines face-to-face tuition at the University with periods of work-based learning. Work based learning is an important element of the programme and modules are designed so that you are able to use knowledge and skills developed and used within your place of work or via work experience.

The Sports Coaching programme recognises the need to be appropriately qualified in order to obtain meaningful work related opportunities, and students are prepared for professional recognition (by 'First for Sport'). If you already possess relevant awards and have the appropriate experience you may wish to take up a more prescriptive academic route through the programme.

Where individuals need to undertake coaching industry qualifications (UKCC awards), or engage in the process of professionally updating, they will be provided with the opportunity to gain places on appropriate awards/workshops. Under these circumstances, students may be required to make a financial contribution towards the process of training, assessment and professional registration associated with such an undertaking.  The University endeavors to provide the most appropriate CPD opportunities at minimum cost to the students and this is reviewed on an annual basis.


The course comprises a series of modules which develop and assess key practical and professional skills, (i.e. research and study skills, communication and IT skills), along with those that develop knowledge and understanding relevant to the workplace, but which also serve to prepare students to engage in further academic study should they seek to progress to Year 3 of our BA (Hons) Sports Coaching (Top Up) programme.

Work based learning is seen as crucial preparation for the industry and features as an integral part of the course programme. Students are required to be actively involved in the negotiation and securing of extended placements in the industry which they must undertake for a period of 10 weeks (between January and May) of their second academic year. Guided reflection is encouraged through tutors and/or mentors in the workplace, in order that students are able to learn from their experience in both an applied and academic sense.

Our Students Say

'I'm really enjoying my sports coaching programme. The step up from College to University can be a challenge, but the tutors are friendly and the sessions are often interactive, so you take more in.'

Anne Murphy (Year 1 FdSc Sports Coaching)


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Programme Structure

Level 4 (Year 1)


Academic Preparation and Development

This module will introduce students to appropriate Continuous Professional Development (CPD), through the development of appropriate study skills. It is anticipated that this will maximise success, both in their chosen programme and in the workplace.

Students will be introduced to key transferable skills such as communication, problem solving, numeracy and IT proficiency, and will be encouraged to reflect on personal challenges and strengths in this respect. The module will introduce students to personal development planning, through the use of the PORTAL based e-portfolio, as well as the concept of life-long learning.

Practical Sports Coaching Skills

This module builds upon students' knowledge from UKCC level 1 coaching awards. It refines and develops the students' ability to plan, deliver and reflect upon the aims and content of coaching sessions. Through this process students will analyse their coaching methods and move towards the development of their own coaching philosophy.  In addition, they have the opportunity to gain some real world practical experiences as this module currently has links with local primary schools. This link allows the students to develop their own coaching skills through the delivery of coaching sessions to some of the local primary school children.

The Sports Experience

This module is designed to introduce and develop an understanding of a selection of sports from within the various categories of games (invasion, net/wall and striking/fielding). It enables students to acquire a breadth of understanding necessary to provide the basis for further individual personal developments in each of these categories. By introducing the generic principles of effective games play, skill development, tactics and an application of the nature and purpose of rules as they apply to each selected game, students are provided with cooperative and competitive experiences, which will offer an insight into how games are learned. Through this process, students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the distinctive nature of different games activities, identify key techniques intrinsic to games play and demonstrate an understanding of the key coaching points required to acquire and develop them.

Professional Development for Sports Coaches

This module will provide an opportunity for students to undertake a sport - specific coaching award and attend "good practice" coaching workshops that will help them to meet the minimum industry standards for deployment as a coach.  As well as developing transferable skills in sport coaching, the completion of a vocational, externally awarded qualification can add value to a students' university education and is an important aspect of their personal development planning.

This module also aims to provide a sound preparation for the sports coaching work placement that students will undertake as part of the Learning at Work module at Level 5 of their programme.

Anatomy and Physiology

This module is intended to provide core knowledge and understanding of anatomy and exercise physiology which students can apply to their professional activities in areas of fitness and health, and sports coaching. It is designed to prepare students who have little or no background in the discipline, but also to challenge and stimulate students who already have some experience, knowledge and application, for further study and vocational application. This module is in the physical activity strand of the Foundation Degrees and is essential for the basic "product knowledge", namely the physical systems of the human body that support the activities which students' future clients might undertake. An understanding of the effects of exercise on the body is important in establishing safe and effective activity/coaching sessions.

Psychology for Sport and Exercise

Coaches and fitness industry professionals are fundamentally concerned with increasing sport/exercise participation generally and more specifically with helping their participants/clients to maintain their involvement and maximise their enjoyment and potential. An understanding of what motivates people generally, and individuals specifically, is key to being able to ensure that they remain motivated and committed to coaching/exercise programmes. This module aims to develop such an understanding in students and to develop their ability to consider how positive/adaptive behaviours can be maintained, whilst negative/maladaptive behaviours may be challenged and motivation re-discovered.

Introduction to Events Management

This module examines the events operations cycle and its effective management in the context of the events industry. This will include the business operations cycle and transformation process in the context of events management; promotion, merchandising and sales techniques; budgeting, cash flow, profit and loss and break even; demand management; capacity management; facility location, design, layout and management; risk assessment, health and safety and other legal issues; managing quality. A specific aim is to identify and begin to develop the skills necessary in the events management and related industries.


Level 5 (Year 2)

Research Skills for Sport and Physical Activity

This module will enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the management, monitoring and evaluation of processes and people within the workplace. This module enables students to demonstrate their ability to undertake an individual investigation with direct relevance to their professional practice.

Sport Policy and Agencies

This module provides students with an opportunity to understand the structure of this industry, the role of organisations within it, the background and significance of findings of the recent coaching Task Force, the proposals of the UK Action Plan for Coaching (2006) and the influence of these on Goverment and organisational policy.

Positive Communication and Counselling Skills

One of the primary aims of the Sports Coach/fitness industry professional is to promote positive change in the behaviour and attitudes of people and organisations and facilitate opportunities for people to participate, perform and excel in sport. Thus, a desirable competence of the sports coaching/fitness industry professional is the ability to listen and communicate effectively. This module is designed to introduce, explore and develop students' awareness of, and practice of, counselling, interpersonal and reflective skills that can be utilised by individuals in their respective professions in the future.

Pedagogy for Sports Coaches

This module aims to develop an understanding of the key pedagogical concepts and theories that can be used to inform an enhance sports coaching practice.  Students will be expected to apply this understanding to the process of planning, delivery and evaluation of coaching sessions.  As such, students should leave with enhanced planning and delivery skills within the practical coaching environment and an improved ability to reflect upon coaching behaviour and locate these reflections within a broad pedagogical theoretical framework.

Learning at Work (Sports Coaching) II

This module will provide an opportunity for students from the Foundation degree in Sports Coaching to undertake a level 2 National Governing Body award (United Kingdom Coaching Certificate) or alternatively a range of industry relevant continuing professional development short courses (e.g. sports coach UK workshops) of an equivalent standard in terms of learning hours. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for a student to gain work-based learning that involves coaching independently during a programme, and employment as a coach on completion without holding a relevant level 2 National Governing Body awards and/or additional industry related qualifications. The UKCC is the benchmark for all coaches and is an endorsement of sport specific coach education.   

Students will then undertake coaching-related work-based learning for academic credit. The purpose of the work-based learning is to provide a context in which students examine their own abilities, qualities, behaviours and professional development within the working environment. It enables them to link theory and practice by relating what they have learnt in undertaking a relevant vocational qualification(s) to work that they can undertake for an employer. The distinctive features of this module are an emphasis on explicit links between skills, knowledge and qualities developed by students through the vocational qualification and work-based learning.

Applied Physiology:  Growth, Training and Development in Young People

This module addresses issues related to the growth, maturation and development of children and young adults from a largely physiological perspective.  It develops an understanding of long term athletic development, considering implications for those engaged in delivering and co - ordinating the delivery of sports opportunities, aimed at improving both participation levels and performance.  The module is also designed to apply underpinning physiology in the development of training/conditioning programmes in accordance with principles of periodisation and appropriate planning and goal setting.

Event Planning, Management and Evaluation

This module aims to identify and evaluate the key elements in the events planning process including; project planning; effective communication, teamwork and decision making; risk assessment; financial management; facility layout, design and management; sponsorship, sales, merchandising, pricing and ticketing; managing quality events; legal issues - licensing, health and safety; Total Quality Management; customer service quality; determining and measuring quality provision.

Students work in groups to plan and deliver a relevant event and produce a critical appraisal of various elements of an actual event, from concept to legacy.

Our Students Say

'It's a great programme at Warrington. I really liked the handball award that we did this year, as I'd already got my junior leaders at College and could build on that. It's definitely good for my CV and will help me when I look for a placement next year.' 

Amy Wright (Year 1 FdSc Sports Coaching)

Formative assessment features quite strongly at the start of the programme. This has been done purposefully in order to develop students' academic skills and confidence and to encourage the development of more independent and autonomous learning subsequently. Summative assessment attempts to feature application of academic knowledge and understanding to the workplace as much as is possible.

A variety of assessment methods will be used within the programme and tasks will typically feature short objective/multi-choice tests, essays and structured reports, oral presentations, video analysis and reflective learning logs.

At Level 5 (Year 2) there will be a greater emphasis on the development of cognitive and transferable skills and the use of academic literature to inform work related practice. Case studies, portfolios, seminar, group projects and fieldwork will feature.


Watch Sports Coaching Assessments taking place


Our Students Say

"I really like the open, interactive type of sessions we do and the way the staff try to 'accompany you' on your journey, rather than talk at you. I really feel part of the course!"

Gareth Evans (FdSc Sports Coaching YR 1)

The programme content and development of a skills base is mapped against the SkillsActive framework for Foundation Degrees. The intention is to develop high quality graduates who will possess the intermediate Higher Education Skills identified as requirements for employment by the industry. In short, graduates of the FdSc Sports Coaching programme will have the requisite skills, knowledge and understanding to gain, maintain and purposefully develop a career in Sports Coaching.

In addition to this the programme lays the platform for engagement in further study at Level 6 (year 3) of our BA (Hons) Sports Coaching (Top up) degree programme. Strong candidates who have accumulated a volume of relevant experience in the industry may be well equipped for application to study a PGCE from this point on.


Our Students Say

"It's a great course, not just traditional style lectures, we interact with one another and the tutors. Its a small campus and we work in small groups generally. Its more friendly that way, makes me feel more supported and I'm finding it genuinely interesting, learning about aspects of coaching, like psychology, that I didn't really think about before."

Myles Fortnum (FdSc Sports Coaching YR 2)

UCAS points: 240 UCAS points from A levels or equivalent.
GCE A Level:

Typical offer - CCC


BTEC Extended Diploma: MMM

BTEC Level 3 Diploma: DD



International Baccalaureate: 24 points
QAA: Access to HE Diploma
Extra Information: Advanced GNVQ
NVQ Level 3

Appropriate modern apprenticeship, work experience, and free-standing qualifications that form part of the post-16 qualifications framework will also be considered.

Substantive work experience may be considered in place of formal qualifications. Mature students (21 years of age or over) without evidence of the above qualifications but with relevant experience, will be required to demonstrate enthusiasm and aptitude for higher level study. In some cases potential students will be invited to do so by attending an informal initial interview.

Candidates for part-time study should ideally demonstrate a minimum of six hours per week employment/volunteering in an appropriate sports coaching setting, and have the written support of their manager for the integration of their studies with their workplace activities.

All offers of a place are subject to the appropriate completion of an enhanced criminal records bureau disclosure that will be organised at the start of the academic year. This may also need to be repeated at appropriate periods during the course of study and continued programme registration is subject to this process.


Our Students Say

"I'm in year three now - on the TOP UP programme. It is harder, but we work in ways that make me feel supported by each other and by the staff. I transferred into year 2 from another programme and I'm really glad I did. It's a great course on a small and friendly campus and I've made some great mates."

Jacob Edwards (yr 3: BA Hons Sports Coaching TOP-UP)