4th March 2021
As part of #NCW2021, we caught up with Karl Hodges, Sports Scientist at the Stoke City Football Club Academy to hear about his educational background and what it takes to be successful in this kind of role.
Q. How long have you worked Stoke City FC?
A. I have been working at Stoke City F.C for around 6 years now in the role of Academy Sports Scientist.
Q. Did you go to College and University?
A. I studied a BTEC National Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science at college and went on to study Sport and Exercise Science (Human Performance) at Brunel University. To further develop my skills and development, which is very important in any career path, I am now studying a MSc in Strength and Conditioning at Salford University.
Q. What did you want to do as a career when you were younger?
A. I always wanted to be a professional footballer, then when I realised I wasn’t good enough it had to be something within football.
Q. Tell us about your work history – has your career changed much along the way?
A. I have had many jobs in the past ranging from kitchen porter and sous chef at local pubs and restaurants, to working behind the bar. During my studies, I have also had other jobs including removals, working in a music studio and selling merchandise at sports events. All of these roles have given me a strong work ethic, developed basic skills like punctuality and developed my desire to learn. Organisation skills in whatever industry you choose to work in will always be a useful, transferrable skill.
Q. What additional training /qualifications have you gained to improve your career prospects or to specialise?
A. I completed a coaching badge in football when I was younger and I am looking to complete more so I can further my knowledge within football.
Q. What is a typical day like for you at the Academy?
A. My first meeting is at 8:15, in which we discuss injured or modified players with physios and strength and conditioning coaches. Then at 8:30 I have another meeting with coaches to discuss what is planned in the training session and give my advice on how that should look. At 9:00 I assist the S+C coaches in the gym.
Prehab starts at 10:15, which consists of prepping the players for the session ahead depending on what type of session is planned. Training starts at 10:30
Straight after training there is another group in the gym. Then it is a case of downloading the GPS data and seeing if we got what we wanted out of the session.
Any other sessions like Bike sessions take place at 2pm
After there is meetings with coaches again to plan next day and go through the GPS data.
So my role is full of different elements, all of which are really enjoyable.
Q. What would your advice be to anyone wanting a career in this area?
A. Our role is to create footballers, that is the main goal and so you need to be focussed and on target with the information you provide. We are support staff to coaches and players, and it is important to know that us as sport scientist are not going to reinvent the wheel, just keep the players on the pitch and help with the demands of the game. This is a really rewarding career, so my advice would be to work hard at college/university and to undertake work experience to build on your basic skills in the workplace.
Find out more about the Sports courses we offer at NSCG.