Forest Sports Education
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Higher National Certificate in Sport and Exercise Science

The Higher National Certificate is the first year of your degree programme. This year students are provided with an introduction to various topics to give them the knowledge and skill set to complete work on the second and third years.

At University, the year is split into two semesters. During each semester (15 weeks), you will study four different units. During the first semester, students will study the following:

FUNDAMENTALS OF SPORT AND EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY: The aims of this unit are to illustrate how psychological concepts underpin involvement in sport and exercise and to demonstrate their impact on human behaviour. Students will explore the innate characteristics which are seen as the basis for sport and exercise behaviour. Students will also develop an appreciation of how the social environment within which sport and exercise takes place influences the outcome of their participation.

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY: This unit will explore the structure and function of the skeleton, osteology and the anatomy of bones and bone growth, types of joint, their structure and their contribution to range of movement. Students will examine the structure of the musculoskeletal system and begin to understand the complexities involved in effective performance. This unit will explore the structure and function of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and their role in exercise, the changes that take place and the effect of environmental factors on their effectiveness. 

COACHING PRACTICE AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT: The aim of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge and understanding of coaching practice and the skill development associated with athlete performance. Students will engage in researching the impact of different coaching practices, working in various environments, utilising resources, developing skills and planning effective sessions. They will gain an understanding of the importance of developing sessions dependent on the group’s demographics. 

 PROFESSIONAL SKILLS: The aim of this unit is to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the skills and techniques necessary to carry out Sport and Exercise Science-related research. Research in Sport and Exercise Science has global significance and is essential in influencing the development of high-quality participation and performance and, fundamentally, promoting the health and wellbeing of individuals all over the world. Developing the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct research is, therefore, essential in order to promote sports participation and performance and develop healthier nations. 

During the second semester, students will study the following units: 

NUTRITION: This unit aims to equip the student with the knowledge, skills and competencies to understand the nutritional composition of food and the effects of nutritional choices on the health of a person. Students will gain knowledge of the importance of eating a balanced diet and the dangers associated with the consumption of a poor diet. They will focus on diet prescription for specific populations and gain an understanding of labelling systems and the pitfalls that can be associated with them.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, LIFESTYLE AND HEALTH: On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to use appropriate tools to assess the lifestyle of a range of individuals and design, implement and review lifestyle enhancement programmes. They will be able to reassess the lifestyle of a selected individual following completion of the programme and review the effectiveness of the programme in facilitating behaviour change. Throughout the unit, students will develop skills such as communication, interpretation and analysis which are crucial for gaining employment within the sport and fitness industry and developing academic competence. 

FITNESS, TRAINING, TESTING: Fitness is essential to achieving success in sport and is vital for reaching the elite level. Elite athletes are capable of achieving amazing tasks like sprinting the final 100 metres in a 10,000-metre race, or sprinting the full length of a football pitch in the 90th minute of a game – something which can only be achieved by reaching optimal levels of fitness. Within this unit, students will explore fitness testing and how results can be used to inform fitness training programmes for each individual athlete. By the end of the unit, students will perform a vairety of fitness tests and develop a training programme which will be delivered to one of their peers.

COMMUNITY COACHING: This unit challenges students to understand the different cultures and contexts in which sports coaches work, and to understand the role of policy and national governing body initiatives in shaping the pedagogic practice of coaches in the community. Students successfully completing this unit will be able to describe the political landscape of their local coaching environments and understand the challenges and mechanisms for adapting and redesigning sports activities and games to achieve wider outcomes for participants, governing bodies and sporting organisations.