Athlete & General Assistant
Lee Valley Athletics Centre

info Issues viewing the video?

James W

00:00:03 My name’s James W. I’m a general assistant here at the Lee Valley Athletic Centre. I deal with all the kids coaching and the academy and the Star Track which is various games for young athletes aged 8 to 14 in the neighbouring area. If I can pass some skills even if they’re on the basic level that start these kids off on, on their journey through athletics then I’ve done my job.

00:00:28 I basically trained here to start off with and then applied for a job because it was more convenient for me. Ever since then I just kept on moving up and getting more and more responsibility here at Lee Valley. I’m a fulltime athlete so being able to work within that environment is, is ideal for me. My main event is decathlon which up until this year I, I was doing fulltime six days a week but due to various injuries that I had I’ve actually decided to change to (unintelligible) 400 hurdles from this year on, with next year on I should say.

00:01:01 When you put a lot of time and effort into being committed into a sport the moment you get an injury it’s hard to come back from it and it’s been a tough season but I’m sure by the end of it I’ll come out of, out of the whole season and the whole experience a much better athlete just from having that experience. My, my passion for sport was always, has always been there. My athletics come to the forefront when, when my cousin actually asked me to go down to the track with him because he didn’t wanna go by himself. I went down at the age of ten and kinda never left.

00:01:33 The big turning points in my life were probably when I gained my first international at the age of eighteen. I wasn’t just playing at the sport anymore, I was actually putting more into it and more and more commitment into this, this, this discipline. You have one competition where you win the national championships at the age of 18 and you thinking, oh, actually I might be quite good at this.

00:01:56 Mental attitude is very much part of this. It’s at the forefront I suppose. If you don’t have the right mental attitude you, you’ll never make it as a, as a top decathlete because you’ve got ten disciplines to master effectively and you either thrive on it or you let it knock you down. And I suppose I throve on it really ’cause I’ve been doing athletics for the last eight years always in and out of the top five of the UK. So, I think it’s going well.

00:02:26 It puts a strain in all areas of your life I suppose because everything is centred around athletics. Going home after a hard training session you don’t really wanna sit down and have that in-depth conversation with your parents or your, your sister or even your girlfriend, you just wanna just relax. In terms of actual social life and going out and, you know, going to the pub it’s something I think twice about because I’ve got to go training the next day so I’ve got to be at my best. I wouldn’t change it ’cause I’ve committed myself to athletics and, and no matter what I’m gonna continue doing it.

00:03:01 I used to work at Sainsbury’s beforehand and I worked there for nine years and I, I would come training on a Thursday morning and I would stay here till one o’clock. I’d be physically drained from training for four hours in the morning and take that to work life. You’ve got nothing to give to work. My mum and my dad have both been incredibly supportive with me, with whatever I chose to do. When I turned around and said I didn’t want to go to university because I wanna concentrate on athletics and I wanna get as far as I can, they, they both kind of agreed that that was what was best for me.

00:03:37 My mum’s followed me everywhere I’ve gone. So, I think there’s only about two or three competitions she’s missed. And to have that support is, is incredible. I’ve set myself goals and targets for the next two years and if I achieve those, hopefully, fingers crossed, you end up at the Commonwealth Games. I’ve never been to a major games. If I actually did manage to qualify and go to the Commonwealth Games that would be a big jump up in class and a big test of, of my mental attitude as well. ENDS

James W is an Athlete and a General Assistant at Lee Valley Athletics Centre. Before getting this job he worked at Sainsbury’s for nine years. Managing without financial support is a big problem for aspiring young athletes. James hopes to compete in the 400m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games.

More information about Sports coaches, instructors and officials

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

61%  male 
39%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Sports coaches, instructors and officials work with amateur and professional sportsmen and women to enhance performance, encourage greater participation in sport, supervise recreational activities such as canoeing and mountaineering, and organise and officiate at sporting events according to established rules.
There are no formal academic requirements although individuals must have experience in their sport and the relevant coaching and refereeing qualifications. Applicants to coaching courses must normally be over 18 years old and hold a first-aid certificate. Some courses encompass coaching awards within broader programmes of study. NVQs/SVQs in coaching are available in the context of certain sports. Background checks including a CRB check are required for those working with children.
  • Coaches teams or individuals by demonstrating techniques and directing training and exercise sessions;
  • Controls team selection and discipline and recruits ancillary staff such as coaches or physiotherapists;
  • Monitors and analyses technique and performance, and determines how future improvements can be made;
  • Deals with administrative aspects such as arranging matches, contests or appearances for athlete or team, and organising required transport and accommodation;
  • Provides information and develops facilities to encourage greater participation in sport, and to enhance the standards of participants;
  • Understands health and safety aspects of various activities and ensures any statutory requirements are met;
  • Inspects and maintains specialised clothing and equipment;
  • Manages the playing areas and competitors, starts race, competition or match and controls its progress according to established rules.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Sport & recreation 46301
Education 31189
Employment activities 5162
Gambling 4653
Other personal service 4395
Public admin. & defence 2914
Services to buildings 2776
Security, etc 2155
Health 1125
Food & beverage services 1089
Employment status

From personal careers advice to finding work, see our round-up of
useful websites to help you on your way

Explore more videos by: