Sport and Health Sciences at Brighton

Harry with members of Chelsea FC Women

Sport science graduate careers – Harry McCulloch

Harry McCulloch graduate from the University of Brighton with a BSc in Sport Science in 2014.

Since graduating he’s completed two internships, worked in professional rugby and has now made a career at the top of Women’s football in England.

We caught up with him to learn about his career to date and his time as a Brighton student.

Where I work

The Chelsea team on the pitchClub Chelsea F.C. Women
Job title Women’s 1st Team Movement coach.
Job role Primarily my role is to design and implement player movement programmes to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. I also support physios with return to play programmes for injured players.

My career to date

Before studying at Brighton I had no experience working in sport, having been a gym instructor working with general population. I had my eyes set on becoming a strength and conditioning coach but the prospect of attaining a job in elite sport seemed like a significant challenge.

A placement on a Golf Sport Science project helped give me vital experience working with athletes for the first time. The education and support I received whilst studying at the University of Brighton was the perfect foundation to help put me on the path to achieving my goal.

I went on to intern for London Welsh in the RFU Championship where the team won the British and Irish cup and subsequently at Surrey Sports Park working with the University of Surrey’s TASS athletes and supporting the Surrey Storm netball and Surrey Scorchers basketball franchises.

I was conscious I still needed more coaching hours so took a role with Chelsea Women’s U18s before stepping up to work with the 1st team who I’m now in my fifth season with.

Why I chose Brighton

I chose to study at Brighton for a combination of factors the first however where the facilities. I remember seeing the performance gym, altitude and heat chambers and being impressed with the range of possibilities for studying there.

I wanted to be by the sea if possible and my brother had studied at Brighton and gave it a glowing report.

How practical experiences at uni help in the real world 

From using force plates and isokinetic dynamometers to motion capture and analysis software it’s all contributed to being able to turn a hand to almost anything that’s come my way since.

But not just the hard skills like anatomy and physiology, and statistics modules but soft skills such as group coaching, working with a lead S&C or having to lead a group myself such as organising my dissertation research project.

I have been able to transfer those skills to almost all the places I’ve worked since.

University of Brighton staff

No amount of studying can make up for the role of a good tutor – most importantly the knowledge and enthusiasm of the staff.

I can’t overstate the importance of having people like Rob Harley and Flo Pietzsch with a wealth of experience to draw from to help start my journey.

Making contacts at uni

There are people who were on my course who have gone on to do amazing things whether that be working in elite sport or for themselves or major gym equipment manufacturers for instance.

I’ve been able to keep in touch and even collaborate with those people leading to job opportunities and a full CV.

What I would have done differently at uni

I would have picked up more coaching hours!

Being slightly older I was quite studious and I didn’t skip many lectures and made the most of the face to face time with lecturers which I can’t recommend enough. But I feel I could have pushed to work with more teams in and outside of uni.

Early on in your career it’s so important to get as much time working with different sports as possible if you want to be a coach full time.

My advice if you’re considering studying sport science

Do it! I feel it was a perfect foundation for me to start the journey to becoming an S&C coach.

Really make the most of it. Immerse yourself in it both professionally and socially.

Bug the tutors because three years will fly by and you’ll find it harder to hassle them for their knowledge when you’ve left.

Meet loads of people too. It’s one big networking event so will pay off with possible job prospects in future and you’re almost certain to make friends for life.

Learn more about studying sport and exercise at Brighton. 

Harry and the team warming up

Kerry Burnett • 11/04/2024

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