Bella Daniels on the EUBC committee
This Girl Can - Bella Daniels (alumnae and former S&C placement student) Interview
As part of This Girl Can month, we caught up with former S&C placement student and University of Exeter alumnae Bella Daniels, who came back to deliver a guest lecture as part of the sports science S&C module. Read more to get an insight into Bella’s journey in S&C so far…
What do you enjoy most about working in S&C?
Mainly how variable it is! Every day is really different and you are definitely kept on your toes, whether that be working with different sports, preparing for weekly matches and working with athletes to overcome challenges e.g. injuries.
What is your current role and how did you get to this?
My current job title is Head of Athletic Development/Strength and Conditioning at Haileybury College. Initially, I found out about a role on offer at Haileybury through an alumni connection. The experience I gained at University of Exeter from the S&C placement and the skill set I developed from my SportsScience degree put me in a good position to apply for the role and work in the field of S&C.
If you could give one piece of advice to a current student wanting to get into S&C what would it be?
Take the initiative to do things alongside your degree whilst at University. It is possible to manage alongside your degree and social life! There is no harm in reaching out to people in the industry you want to go into to try and gain any experience you can.
What were the most useful things you learnt as part of your S&C placement with the performance team here at Exeter?
Everything! It made me realise this was the job I wanted to do post University so helped with decision making. I think learning from a variety of experienced coaches was valuable and I’m still in contact with them now. Being supported and assessed throughout the placement made it much easier to progress e.g. being observed when coaching and getting feedback. The variety of experiences I had on the placement and being part of a high performance environment was great. This included being involved with TASS athletes, coaching raw basic skills with young tennis players, leading on coaching with the cricket development squad and programming for the boat club.
What do you enjoy about working with student-athletes?
It's nice to work with athletes who have a variety of goals. We have some pupils wanting to push to perform, with others it's more about education to make an impact on longevity, wellbeing, ability to look after themselves and stay injury free. Being in a school setting you have to maximise the sessions you have but also make the gym a place to relax and enjoy, without being a stressful environment.
In the future how do you think more women can be encouraged to pursue a career in S&C?
It’s definitely becoming less of a divide. Don't be phased by it, see everyone as equal, if you are passionate about it, you will overcome any barriers there are.
If you could meet one influential woman involved in sport, who would it be and why?
Really difficult to pick one but I think I’d go for Emma Radacanu. She is so young but able to perform at such a high level, showing great maturity and composure. This is really inspirational to see.
From an Exeter perspective, I’d choose LagiTuima. It’s been great to watch her go through her journey from training in the gym together at Exeter and then seeing her at Harlequins when I was doing some shadowing to get some work experience there.
Bella Daniels (alumnae and former S&C placement student)
Date: 20 February 2023