#22 What it's 'really' like working with elite athletes with Cassandra Gramozi

Uncategorized Jul 25, 2017


Today we talk everything about working with elite athletes with Cassandra Gramozi, from the North London School of Sports Massage.

Cassandra has worked with elite athletes throughout her career and she shares her insider knowledge with us on the episode. In particular, she has some great advice for anyone wanting to work in elite sport and how best to place yourself for getting experience (and paid work) in this sector. Hugely valuable advice from an extremely experienced massage therapist

Download her article here: Why volunteer and when enough is enough


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Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the massage therapist business. A marketing podcast. I'm your host, Vicki Marsh, and in today's episode, re speak with Sandra from the North. Underscoring sports books are about what it's really like to work. Hi, guys. Welcome back to today's episode. We have Cassandra today as one of our guests. She works at the North London School of Sports Massage, and since her qualification, she's been in a great position to work with elite athletes and in top end sport throughout her career. So we brought her on today to talk about what it's really like working with those elite athletes.

What is the pay like? How easy is it to get these jobs? What are you doing when you're working with these athletes on? We've also got some great tips from her. She's been really, really kind. Share her advice on If you are looking for jobs in this area and looking for experience, what should you be doing in order to make sure you can get the experience that you need to get work in these top end rolls? So without much more, Dude, let's get on to today's episode.

So hi, Cassandra, Welcome to the podcast. Hi, Thank you so much for joining us. We were just chatting before the call about how best to introduce you, and I'm going to leave it to you to introduce yourself to our listeners. Yeah, it's It's an interesting one. I would say I'm a soft tissue therapist working in elite sport at the moment, among other areas as well. Also in private practice, um, and I'll touch upon the title of being a soft tissue therapist. I originally trained as a quotes sport remedial massage therapist.

I still very much identifies being a sport medium massage therapist. I just feel that using the title is a soft tissue therapist. Encapsulate what I do at this stage of my career a little bit better, I'd say. I think that's a really good point now, probably one of things that we sort of touch bon a bit later because of the difficulty that you had sort of accurately describing yourself. There is something that we kind of see quite a lot in a sort of soft tissue kind of world, so and in particular,

what we kind of I wanted to try and pick your brains on today was that elite sport aspect. And I know that when I first get started, first got started, it was specifically they were looking for sports massage therapists, and the role was very much to work alongside the physios in it. Just a very supportive role You would get given that kind of their their their athletes to kind of work on. And from what I gather, things are kind of significantly different now. And part of that used to do with the terminology with stuff.

Is that right? Um, yes, I would agree on all fronts on that one. I think there's still a large number of positions out there that, um, still have people working alongside physiotherapists and doctors on. I think that will always be the case to a degree, but there definitely is in a shift in the culture of it. Now, developing into a more independent role is such Onda having a little bit more autonomy? So So if we backtrack slightly, what would you say that your definition of either release spore or working with elite athletes is what what is that encompass,

or what would kind of come underneath that, um, it's a bit I find that quite a bit of a difficult one. I mean, it's, um I kind of got How long is a piece of string? I also know what I guess. You can also call a high performance sport as well. Yeah, and I mean, you're sort of also a dictionary definition of it being training, competing at your highest level you possibly can with in your chosen sport. You're aiming to compete in tthe e top level competitions that are out there now the you can also then have a difference between professional sport and elite sport as well.

So there could be quite a bit of confusion, that sense. So you would say football, you would have ah, lot of guys in the championship in the Premier Chef leagues as professional football players. But would you define that as an elite sport? Maybe you would see being Olympic sports. So it's It's a bit of a large umbrella. Um, but for argument's sake, I would say elite sport is simply just competing at the highest level within your chosen sport. So So it sounds like I would be asking some of these annoying questions for Tuesday about picking the differences to that,

and they'd like to say the thread watches that kind of highest level. But this it is this something that because I know that for example, when I first started in sports massage, this idea of working with top end athletes, um, it was with something that I particularly wanted to do and I wanted to work towards. And if I'm honest at the time, I didn't know what that meant in any context. I just knew that one of the areas could be working for sports or with teams that would go to the Olympics,

which is one but like you've mentioned there, that professional sport, because they're ever see working at the top end as well. They're potentially going to be obviously training at the same sort of level, putting their body through the same sort of demands. We stuff from a job, real point of view, and we go back over your history of second. But is there a big difference in the funding or the amount of payment that you would be able to get if you're working, saying and an Olympic sport versus professional sport?

Is that something that is that something people worth that kind of thinking about before they get into it? Or is it more of a case of the Don't worry about that sort of stuff. Just focus on working with top end athletes regardless of what sport there am I. My first and foremost, I would say you are in this field of work because you love working with people. If you get into this job with the initial factor of number one, I want to make money, then you're probably in the wrong field.

Um, I think if you go into with the mindset of I want to be a sports massage therapist, I want to be integrated into a team. I wanna work is an empty tea or multi disciplinary team have been great on, and then the money is a secondary factor. Obviously, we all have to pay rent and pay bills. But there is a huge disparity in funding Yeah, across the board. So if you take football at one end and then you take Olympic sports has almost the other Um,

there's a huge gap in the funding that's available to athletes now again with Olympic sports and itself, there's also a different tiers of funding. So different sports received more money than others. Um, so you take a roving, for instance, as being one of the top in cycling is being the top two sports that received the highest amount of funding. And then you compared to something against, say, for instance, artery, which would be sort of towards the bottom end so they will not have the arch.

You wouldn't have the same amount of money at their disposal to pay for a sports massage therapist, so they have to be quite severe and where they can spend their money so they can, quite often not even afford to have Dr or Physiotherapist onboard full time. Where is rowing complete opposite. You know, they'll have a couple of full time physios and full time doctors and soft tissue therapists is well on board. Um, and then take, for instance, football and then even brookie, um, their funding again will be very different.

I think it just comes down to what the available cash is in that particular sport and that team as well. So you've obviously mentioned quite a few different sports there, and from from having her look at your CV. You've worked in that full, full range of of those from the ones that you've mentioned that a better funded tow, the Olympic kind of sports. You want to go over your your history, working with these with these sports show? Russ just said you could bring everyone sort of up today.

And then if you're happy, too, just sort of go a little bit into what the experience was like as you were doing transitions. Perhaps between those different roles as well. Sure I will. I will start from the beginning. Actually, I am qualified with the North London School of Sports Massage, Um, back in 2008 um and then also became a member of the sports passenger Association off the back of that on from since qualifying in 2000 eight's almost going on 10 years now. But scary, um,

worked with all walks of people, from all walks of life S O people in professional sporting environments to private clinic to event work such as London Marathon, I guess, with regards talking about sport, I started off working actually, as a quote volunteer, um with Saracens of rugby club on DDE, started off working with the Academy Department and quickly moved on to being asked to work with in the first team department alongside their full time soft tissue therapist there on and gained my experience there for about two seasons. And that was very much part time.

And there was a position had become available at London Wall Stripy Club when they were still London Walls and I went for that. And at the time again, I started off as a part time therapist and the two other therapist that were on board already over a period of six months Thio season there they both left, and it was natural progression for me, too. Then step up the ladder per se. But I ended up staying there. Is there sort of leads or senior soft tissue therapist for was three and 1/2 seasons,

Um, and then isn't there? I I had heard about another role that became available at the English Institute of Sport, and initially it was a maternity cover role and I thought, You know what? I want a new challenge. Just it's just to interrupt. Can you explain what the English Institute of Sport is for people who don't know what what that is, right. So the English Institute of Sport is sort of like in a middleman, in the sense they they provide. Service is to Olympic sports.

So each Olympic sport is individually funded and they can allocate their money. However, they want Thio now in order. Toso the English is institute sport provides the infrastructure for the athletes to train. To have medical service is to have a charmed so one. So, for instance, um, scope for argument's sake, G b hockey purchases service is from the English Institute of Sport on that includes medical training facilities,

their employees such as a physiotherapist. Doctors are all employed by the English Institute of Sport. I work for G B hockey,

So yeah, i e. I s act as an employer, um, for for the Olympic sports and down that sport to choose whichever sort of package.

I guess you could say that they want eso were based. I was based at wth e High Performance Sports center out ambition near Marlow,

where it's one of E. I s is main satellite or main sites actually within the country. So they have satellites,

training centers all over there all over the country and worked there with should begin with GP rowing, G B hockey and what's called the intensive rehabilitation unit gets a little bit more complicated with this as well.

So the intensive rehabilitation unit is half funded by the English Institute of Sport, and the other half is funded by the British Olympic Association.

And within this unit, any British Olympian or British Olympic athlete can be sent to us for on site intensive,

intensive rehabilitation. So it could be arranging for number reasons that, for instance, there sport doesn't have enough support for their athletes.

And they're struggling with an injury. Um, or their sport is going away on a tour. And there's no one gonna be left sort of on the ground to look after any Okay,

yeah, injuries and so on. Or practitioners are just, you know, I need a little bit of support and some problem solving with difficult injury.

So there is this potential whole range of different coming to that one. I see. So an on site in that rehab unit,

you have a sports doctor, psychologists, physiologist, soft tissue therapists, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coach and the athlete lives on site,

and it's, you know, a week's worth. Or it could be a longer duration of rehabilitation. Um,

and that was the rehab unit on. So I worked there on site for about four years. And then recently,

um, answered a advertisement for a consultant soft tissue therapist with the Football Association on Dhe started working with their men under 20 one's national squad back ISS spring of this year.

Then we just finished a first tour with them in Poland for the Euros a couple weeks ago. Well,

that brings us up to date for my sporting background. Syrian. That always sounds amazing. I'm gonna ask what is probably gonna be a very silly question here,

but what drew you to working with the sort of elite athletes are working in some top ends sport like this Because it's quite obviously that history is pretty full of that.

So what is it that when you when you first started that you thought that is definitely a direction that I want to be going in on continuing in as well?

Um, I when I graduated, um, I was fortunate enough that I Why I was surrounded by quite a few friends that actually played semi professional rugby while I was training.

And so when you go to the clubs and I got to meet the physiotherapists and stuff, you know,

they we'd have conversations after a match. But, you know, Well, what am I doing and what qualification I was undertaking,

and I just I really like the idea of working in the environment. It just There was something about it that I want yet That's why I wanted you.

I wanna work with other people, not just on my own personal private. Okay, Um and I just started to pursue that that avenue,

I guess. I mean, by any means, I also I also worked in a private clinic and I think is essential for any practitioner to do so.

And I still to the state have private clients. I just don't work necessarily in a clinic. Full time.

Just for May Wasn't the avenue I wanted to go down. Um, many of my colleagues run the room practices and work for other clinics,

and it gave me an invaluable experience on when I think everyone should do at some point. Um, but I don't know if that answers your question and then I know that's great,

said with ice, Please sort of what I'm kind of most interested in. I c I like this because I get to sort of ask all the questions that I wanted to be asking for a while.

But what what do you do when you work with these athletes? Because from my point of view, I've done I've done a few bits and pieces,

but I've never had a permanent role on dhe. There's this sort of halo effect around this idea of working with sort of top end athletes.

This idea that you're gonna be sort of it's almost quite glamorous that you're gonna be going along. You're gonna be spending time with these,

sort of, almost with. Some of them are sort of many celebrities that you're gonna be helping them with part of their kind of journey.

Andi, this is the idea of getting swept along with that or traveling to places with them. So what is the reality like?

And I know it must be different depending on whether you say you're with a team that is kind of based with its own club site or whether you're kind of moving around.

But what's the reality, like of actually delivering treatments and actually working in the source environments? Um, yeah,

I think the grass is always greener, huh? And it from the outside. I think with anything.

Definitely. It looks glamorous, but when you get down to it and behind closed doors, it's anything.

But, Um, the hours are very long and unforgiving. Um, and it's it's it is very hard work.

It's mentally demanding as well as physically demanding. Um, you know, you don't want to get up on box unless you don't want to get up on Boxing Day at 5 a.m. To have toe trouble's been away game in Leicester.

Sure, somewhere or Goto Worcester on a cold, rainy morning again on a weekend. And that's the other thing is most weekends.

If you're working in sport, no longer yours, okay, which is a big part, Um, but at the same time,

with any job, there's pros and cons. Eso You flip that around and there's a lot of pros for working in sport.

I think you just have to be really realistic about what you're going into your thinking about wanting to work in sport and sort of get rid of that glamour on dhe.

There's a lot of politics involved. And you just as with any job, um, but keeping keeping your head down and working hard is probably one of the best tips I can give.

But again, I think, but also drew me into a CZ well, as the idea of working as a multi disciplinary team.

Um, you you need to be able to integrate quite well with a variety of people, um, and have I think effective communication is a huge,

huge run And is that is that with athletes? Is that with other sort of therapeutic colleagues or with kind of like the management and stuff as well,

all of them, all of the above? Is it diff? Would you say that there's different skills that required so potentially?

When we're when we're training, we get talk on our patient communication, begin to build that. But perhaps in these sorts of roles there,

there's a steep learning curve for the communication with the other therapists, as well as with the management, very much so.

I think being able to recognize the type of relationships that you need to develop with safe bring since your strength and conditioning team,

your physiotherapist, your doctors and your coaches, and to also recognize your remit eso To understand where you fit into the grand scheme of things within all of those departments is,

um, keep and you have to wear you many different hats as you do throw your dating life anyways,

don't you? We all have Thio sort of pick on our different skill sets throat any given day, um,

and as well with the athletes as well. You know you can break that down into How you going after somebody?

If it's game day or how are you gonna act? Or somebody who? It's 24 hours post match and they've lost one of the biggest games of their career?

You know how you know how I'm gonna communicate with this individual that's on your bed. Same thing goes with,

you know, sitting in a multi disciplinary team meeting. So you have a strength conditioning, coaches your medical department and say in sometimes you have your coaches on site to in those meetings.

How are you? Where do you fit into that? And it's having that knowledge um, of your remit as well.

Um, how to go forward, I guess. I mean, I'm not I'm not 100% sure I've answered your question for you on that one.

Well, no, because this is I mean, that's talking about that sort of communication kind of side of things and the almost,

if anything, that because of the complexity of the network that is supporting their athletes, sort of the higher up the chain that we go,

it's it's even more importantly, you said to know what your role is I was just thinking is you're saying that one of the privileges that we kind of get when we are working in private practice is that we have a biggest scope that we can do on it,

but it But also that's a down side, because then you're then trying to work in private practice and and also learn all these other kind of things,

perhaps without good examples around you. So then, obviously the plus side of them working in that multi disciplinary team is that you get examples of that which perhaps can help private work.

But at the same point, it sounds like if you if you can't adapt to the environment where actually,

sometimes you power because you're gonna be a driven person working with these sorts of athletes, right? And if you can't adapt to say no,

this is where the boundaries are. This is where your intervention works. And this is what you need to focus on being absolutely excellent out.

You can't get distracted and try and do something else or learn how to do this. They have to develop your website.

You have to be good at kind of this. Then that is gonna be difficulty for someone who wants to progress.

But then also, it could be amazing for actually seeing how people who are truly excellent about doing it.

And then that helps. Your Grace is a practitioner as well. Oh, come Oh, completely. I think you know your your technical skills are very much complimented by a few factors of France.

Your ability to listen to accurately assess and communicate with your team effectively. Um, and it's so it's not just your hands on skill set that's required.

It's also again. It's your personality and how you deal with a variety of situations than any given day.

um, benefits of working within an entity. Like you said, You know, I got to work alongside some very talented practitioners who I'm very lucky that they've been very inclusive over the years on have taught me a lot,

which you know it. I think in some regards in private practice, I may not have had the same experience.

Um, and I'm going back to that other, um, question with regards to how the roles have developed as that was just what I always just those that don't you?

Yeah, it, um, it I think there's a greater understanding of what our rule is. Now.

There's a lot more support within the industry for what we do. And within the industry, I mean,

the sporting industry on the medical department, for instance. I mean, London Olympics 2012. It was the first time that sports massage therapy was actually considered by the Olympic Committee as part of the medical team.

So we were in the poly clinics. We were situated all of the various sites as part of the medical team speaks volumes of how far the professional come,

and just a sort of interrupted. I mean, so so you you were part of a team that went to the 2012 Olympics,

Is that right? Yeah. I worked as, um, on one of the sites during the Olympics.

I went in before it actually even started working with the English Institute of Sport. Um, I had volunteered my time,

as did every other practitioner, including doctors and physios in and so forth. I volunteered my time, and it was put in with a medical team on one of the sites.

Um, it was actually they're working during the Olympics that I realized that I had wanted to work for the English Institute is foreign.

Jim and I met somebody there on site who worked for the same company. Um, so it was about another year,

a couple of years before I was able thio make my way into the English is to do sport. But it was that experience that taught me that I wanted to be a part of an Olympic set up and that Yeah,

exactly. That must have been phenomenal to have been part of that. That that kind of sort of pioneering sports massage with literally the top end level of sports with stuff that atmosphere of working like that must be incredible.

It was absolutely fantastic. Um, it was it was amazing to be a part of it because, um,

not to sound too evangelical. It felt like you're really helping to push the profession boarded this country. Exactly.

It was It was, Yeah, it was a fantastic couple of weeks to see you smiling. Is that sort of thinking back about it?

Because I think I think it's, you know, would spend just a little bit more time on the soft tissue therapist thing kind of before moving on.

But it's It was only the other day that I had somebody who's actually trained as a physio and then retrained in sports massage.

So it's often therapy. Who raised that question of going? I don't know how to market myself. The market is a physiotherapist of sports massage therapist.

Well, soft tissue on. I realized it's probably bitten about 4 to 5 years or so before that,

since that question has actually been asked. But at the beginning of my career, says off Little, 11 years ago or so it felt like it was a big deal.

It felt like there was this big divide with regard to what was going on and that although there was so much knowledge out there among the soft tissue therapists or sport whatever,

itwas but that that wasn't being sort of accessed on that was almost being in some cases felt like it was being held back.

So to be part of kind of really pioneering that kind of four words that I said, that must have been awesome.

And then also, you must get a little bit addictive in a sense of like, right, Okay,

What? What can be achieved by bringing this soft tissue therapy into the medical support aspect of these athletes?

What could be done if it's not being used already? Wow, like how? How could we be helping their performance by bringing this in exactly that?

And that was also a big draw. Think as well with regards to know why. Why did I want to work in sport as well was that was being part of a bigger picture and working as a collaborative was a huge incentive,

Um, and that working at the Olympics just spurt that on even more. And the English n'est Tu Tu sport had a reputation of sort of that environment on At that time,

I was still working within a rugby team, and I have done all I could at that point. Um,

and I was also very tired of working weekends and traveling a little country thing. I wanted a bit of my life back,

but yes, no, it, uh, I think from the Olympics was this was a huge turning point for our profession.

And again, it's hard to define, I think for anybody to say, you know, I want to be called this title or that title.

Um, and you know, going back to your colleague who's a physio but also, as you know,

Trained added to their skill set of sports massage therapy. There are so many modalities out there that I think,

really you can call yourself whatever you want to encapsulate what you feel is best to describe you. Um,

but it goes back to also making sure that the public understand what it is that you're trying to, um ah,

portray yourself as or market yourself as on essentially the public know what a sports massage therapist issue and even,

you know, the old school idea was Oh, sports massage. It hurts. It's supposed to be hard.

I'm gonna be bruised by you know what works where I think that perception is greatly changing a lot and work,

you know, it was obviously a lot more subtle. It's not just about a hard, heavy massage anymore.

It's so part of the battle is also educating the public. But also I think that the profession is so broad,

it's sort of hard to narrow it down into just a one area. I ain't I added to my skill set over the years as a plot is instructor as well.

And so I mean, essentially at the FAA. They've taken me on as a consultant soft tissue therapy,

but also they see me. They asked me to do a lot of mobility and movement, work with the players as well.

So how do you stick that into an advertising online to the general public? Have not 100% sure put,

you know there's a huge scope out there for, um, Thio diversify. I guess you could say so.

So flipping that around on this is just gonna be your opinion on this one, because it's definitely I know what the answer is gonna be.

But when when we're looking at applying for jobs for roles in this, if it if it specifies that it's asking and this is based in the UK But if it's specifying that it wants is a soft tissue therapist versus a sports massage therapist,

Is this something that we should be worrying about? Or is it a case of the Actually, we need to look at more detail about what the actual qualifications that thereafter or just enquiring after the job.

What would you say to somebody that we're being put off by the title of something but kind of fat on the inside?

That this is a job that they can do? I would say that I wouldn't be put off by the title.

Okay, First informer was definitely not essentially. What companies and institutions are looking for is a sports massage therapist,

and I am even. Hasn't Thio even define that a little bit? Mauritz, the sport and remedial aspect of massage the remedial aspect in that title is important part because that takes into account that during their training you've have learned a lot of remedial techniques and not at which goes a bit broader than sports massage.

Um, I think a lot of thes was sporting environments on dhe team environments are asking for soft tissue therapists because it goes back to the idea of being a little bit more encapsulating.

So for my most recent role, they were looking for somebody who had a specific sport of me. Don't massage qualification into certain level as well.

But they also looked for other experience on top of that, so I could bring in sort of my movement Pallotti's work alongside my hands on work,

right? So I had a slightly different maybe even a broader view of what I could do in my role within the medical department.

I could bring more to the table and such thinks they required more. So with regard to then sort of looking at the job ads with stuff.

A lot of it is just if there is a specific regard, tow the qualification side of stuff that may be.

But apart from that, then it's a case of almost sort of being bold and then selling yourself with regard Thio what your experience is,

which groups you've worked with about showing that It's not just a a recovery or maintenance kind of approach, that there's that ability thio problem solve.

And then there's the ability to create significant change when you're working with someone firmer. So so when someone isn't going into the interview,

if they can make sure that they're thinking about what the interview is gonna want. So in this case,

they're gonna be wanting someone who can show that kind of proactive approach towards their athletes and that you'll just you that you've got that consideration your practice that would be helpful if someone's interviewing to try and get a position in one of these rolls.

Yeah, it's, um, you wanna be able to integrate within the medical department on and understand your dream in that sense,

but it is. You're not just there for pushing skin and recovery. I think it's well known now that sports massage is a lot more far reaching than just giving someone a flush through their legs because they feel sore.

Um, it's you know, it's an essential component working within sport that your communication skills are spot on.

Um, you know, your optimal and this is in an interview process. They want to see that you're able,

Teoh. Understand this. You're awful models to work from that. All departments have inter communication, and as a soft tissue therapist,

you're considered as part of the medical team. So you need to then also have a strong understanding of everyone's role.

Um, and with that is those well, as having a strong understanding. It's essential that, you know,

there's, um there's trust within the department SA's well, again that that goes on how you build your relationships with individuals again.

It's also that understanding your remit and roll is a soft tissue therapist. So that is gonna come down to you know,

what sport are you applying for? What is in their job spec that they actually want you to d'oh!

And it demands. It really depends on the demand of the sport or the team or slash department set up.

How many are there of you and, you know, can all be influencing factors. You thin. I would say you know how treatment must be applied or how treating to be applied as a multidisciplinary approach,

you know, where possible, How is your treatment influenced by information that potentially given to you by the physiotherapist,

or strength and conditioning coach objectives of that week or season or period of time. You know other things that you need to consider a stuff like given down toe scheduling.

You know, what point of the week is that? How close to a matchday is that? All of that?

They want to see an injury that you can disseminate where you fit into those into those roles. That is hugely helpful advice that you've just said in that these past couple of minutes there because a lot of the time,

especially when somebody particularly is wanting a job or roll, Um, way can kind of get completely blank when we go in in two interviews and stuff.

So sort of really trying to think about what they're after, making sure you can communicate that sounds sounds really important.

So I wanted to change tack a little bits on the job kind of side in your experience, how available of these jobs and in particular,

how available paid rolls. So s so you know, if we if we prepped for it for an interview like that and we're kind of considering how we can be helpful to the team and making sure we actually communicate that in and into.

How likely is it that we're gonna We're actually gonna find a job on, then potentially get to interview for Suffer a paid role in sport?

I think definitely. It's improved over the years it was there was there were very few being sort of advertised publicly.

Um, okay, say, 10 years ago, I think that's dramatically changing as you're seeing more and more high end or elite sporting environments.

Actually, um, take the rule a lot more seriously. So they're employing people rather than just sort of taking them on.

Okay, I'll talk more. More jobs are not being advertised by professional avenues such as UK Sport and the Sports Massage Association.

Okay, so yeah, I was just I was just about to our sketch leave If somebody was wanting to actually look for these in the base in the UK,

if you got any tips or kind of places that they should be looking for these positions when they come up,

I would say, Is your professional association or your yet your professional association eyes a good place to start eso if they've built the network and the contacts within the industry,

then they should have the job roles coming out. You know, out to their members. Yeah, Another one is UK sport.

Um, it's there's been quite a few over the past couple of years of gone live on that website as well.

Um, there is still very much a degree of It's sort of who you know. Yeah, I think you know.

And that's and that is, with any profession. Um, it was definitely one of the only avenues for a very long time,

I think, within our profession. But that's become it's it's improving a lot. Um, which is fantastic seek That just goes to show you that it's were being taken a bit more seriously.

A za modality. Well, that's that. That's kind of useful to kind of know, because otherwise some people I think it's quite easy.

Thio, you know, make an excuse and say right, Well, I'm only, you know I'm never gonna get a job like this because it's all just to do with who you know.

And obviously, if you are in a position where you've been working in a club or volunteering in a club and have been building relationships,

which is kind of what's been coming up, is a theme in this. If the communications been good,

it's gonna be much, much easier for somebody to them. Be recommending you for to go for interview for a position that if your complete stranger Bart's the case now because there's more roles available that they are having to reach outside their own networks and and start to promote these jobs on this.

So it is a case of sort of looking and keeping your eyes open right? Very much so. It's keeping your ear to the ground on keeping your eyes open for certain.

I mean, I think it's one of the most popular questions I'm asked by students and graduates. How did you make it into sport?

Yes, Magic ingredient. Tell Ascione. Simply hear about this exactly. And you know it's it's whether your passion is in private clinic hours or sport or or both.

It's the answer is experience essentially, And you know, if you're gonna go for a roll with an elite sport,

you need to have that experience behind you. Now how do you get that experience is again? Another mass.

A question that I get asked on a regular basis on, and I mean from the outset, I mean,

you're the education that you receive on where you qualify, I think plays a huge role. Um, so that's so that's,

for example, taking into consideration when you are looking to study for this About the level of the qualification you're gonna get out of it on,

then the reputation and then the contacts that that that school has. Yes. Yeah, exactly. So you want to obtain the highest qualification possible out there available within the UK?

Um, which is as level level five is at the moment. Yes, it is a little love five b tech support,

remedial massage therapy. And there are a few schools throughout the country that offer it. But again, my biggest.

My biggest recommendation to people. I spoke, you know, going for the school that you feel is the right fit for you and offers you the right opportunities.

Um, I work white. I mean, a majority of my job alongside assistant, uh, tutor for the north and school sports massage is creating those opportunities for a therapist because it is It's so key.

So, you know, while you're training, you want to have the opportunity to gain hands on experience.

It's sort of, you know, you don't necessarily want to release somebody used a multi training, and that's fantastic.

But then you graduated with honors and great grades. But the practicality of actually implementing and translating that education into hands on work is a very different skill set.

And I usedto have used TRIBE in Tor interns with me at the rugby club. And a big thing was,

you know, for them was to gain that hands on experience get involved in the environment, Then they also get to observe and learn where they sort of fit in to the to the department and how they fit in with the team.

How you interact with athletes and colleagues. Um, it's Yeah, I all I could say to people has taken many opportunities as possible to gain the hands on experience with thin and sporting environment.

But again, it's also it's a fine line of knowing when to draw a line in the sand of enough is enough,

because there a lot of people out there will no take it so much they possibly can, and I'm right I think we've all heard some stories of the people that being in that situation,

and it's just not fun for the therapist. Atal, is it? When this is it, I mean,

it's you make sure that it's gonna be a mutual beneficial set up. That's good. I think that's that's quite good.

Point actually, isn't it? I think, like, sort of specifying that mutual side of stuff. I think a lot of people can get quite who are very driven and,

you know, very desperate to get that experience are prepared to say yes to stuff because they're wanting to get that hands on experience that you said.

But then it blinkers them a little bit. So what? Training and supporter. They're getting it in that role Or what is it that's working for them or all?

For example, if there's not been clarification about ours again, that they're slowly being last to do more and more either for no pay off or for low pay with stuff,

and then it then just becomes a sort of a nightmare situation to get out ofus? Well, exactly exactly.

I think that's where your school's come into him, your education providers where they have work experience in internship,

set up with various clubs because they will have sort of that out for you prior so that it's already been discussed with,

You know, the head physiotherapist for the lead soft tissue therapist for that club is gonna sort of take you under their wing,

so they know that they're receiving quote free help. But in return, they're gonna help teach you and develop your skills a bit more with in that environment.

Um, you know, just how important getting that hands on experience is, though, as I was hiring for,

um, my successor at the rugby club, we had a graduate actually from our school that applied, and she impressed the panel so much and she she just graduated.

Um, she nearly missed out because she had lacked the actual hands on experience in practical application. However,

she was asked back to the club to help float throughout the next season, you know, so she could develop her newly required skill set and practical application of her techniques in quote real life situations.

So, yes, she did this for free. But what she gained in return was your future. That probably offered her more opportunities and she network and she got to know people.

And the other thing is as well, you've got to remember that these athletes are very expensive commodities on DSO who's ever in charge and head.

It holds on to make sure that these athletes are, you know, in their optimal performing state. They have to know that whoever is in their team to help them with this is,

um, the person that they want and has tthe e practical knowledge that is required to work in that environment.

So one of the best ways to do it is to have, you know, like we were just discussing is to volunteer.

And it just it's not just with sports massage therapists. And this is quite often an argument that I hear from people is Oh,

it's just our profession. Everyone thinks we will work for free. No, it's no on Over the years I've worked alongside doctors,

um, and physical therapist who have all volunteered their time so that they could get to know people in the industry showcase their skill set and develop their skill set at the same time.

Um, and I'd much rather hire somebody that I know their skills and their personality that you and I have no idea about.

But we'll still go through an interview process. Definitely not. And that is the route that it needs to go to continue to go down.

The profession needs to go down that route, but if you can on your CV if I'm comparing somebody with no little hands on experience,

but great grades, too more hands on experience and mediocre grades, I'm probably gonna go for the one with more experience.

Perfect. So to sort of summarize for the people that are listening, Have you got some sort of really short kind of tips for them to sort of be focusing on if they're wanting flicker getting a job in this area?

Um, definitely. I mean, it's I think my one of my top was would be you continue your education.

Um, obtaining your sport, menial. Uh, massage therapy. Qualification is literally just the start. Um,

I don't feel that you need to jump in right away and toe Adama loads. See pds onto your CV,

build it up overtime on and follow a CPD route. Topics that genuinely interest you not just come forward,

then, you fat. Right now, it took me five. Probably six or seven years to, you know,

Adam, my next qualification, because I was getting to grips with being a sports massage therapist on dhe.

Then I found I fell into the plot is movement route and they, you know, worked really well together.

But it took me that long to be genuinely interested at the next stage. Um, but yes, your education is is a big one.

And there's always things evolving. Sorry. Say, continue with that. Networking is another. Yeah, huge aspect.

You know, take the initiative to use everything at your disposal sort such as modalities such as linked in.

Um Okay. Good. Got it. Yeah. Make sure your profile is completely up to date. Um,

it's also another really great way as well to contact heads of medical departments within different sports teams. Um,

it's a great way to reach out to people. Um, the other one would be again. It goes back to what?

We're just talking about volunteering, taking up those internships. Um, you know it. There's I have an article out there on sort of,

um why? Volunteer and when is enough. Enough. And it sort of just gives a rundown of maybe why you need to do it and expands a little bit more.

So what we just talked to Sorry. You haven't You have an art school on that? Do you?

Yes, I d'oh! Brilliant. Would you could we get the link that I put in the show notes people that are perfect.

Brilliant. Um, and it just sort of I get give you few mur steps. Is that how do you go about actually getting those rules?

Because those internships are not always advertised. And if you're don't have ah link with the school that provides them for you,

you're gonna have to take that initiative on your own. And, um, so that hopefully might be a useful tool for people then.

Great. Another one would probably be more on the practical aspect of it. And it's not just about your therapeutic hands on intervention.

Is justus much about what you say as it is? What you do so huge component of what you were doing with athletes is also what we're saying to them.

Um, and I think there's not enough emphasis on on that side of it. So in summary, those those tips are so CPD,

so working on, particularly finding areas you're interested in on once once you've properly gotten to grips with something,

then sort of up leveling and sort of getting the extra kind of qualification rather than necessarily going out there getting loads.

But they're not really quite sure what you you want to be working on, or or actually being that experience in any of them.

Obviously, networking that was a really useful tip with regard to linked in. Actually, that's definitely not something that I regularly come across,

and that's quite simple for someone to actually set up a profile on their rights. So yes, and and then that way they can actually just start building up that network.

So even if you're not in a club because, as we said you know, is easier if you're working in a club.

But if you're not in a club, then you can still reach out doing the volunteering. So again,

just getting that hands on experience. And then we'll put the link to the article in the show, notes people,

which has got like a little bit more detail on it and then that it's not just about the hands,

it's, you know, it's kind of what you say, not not just what you do with regard to the sort of roles and kind of being successful in them.

Yeah, just on that last last one there with regards to So you know, your power of touch.

Essentially, it's it's not just a ring. Ah, competition. Not know. You need to be very wary of how you're communicating with athlete's throughout the whole,

you know, different stages. And again it goes back to putting different hats on for different stages of the schedule is a competition time is that post match phone and so forth?

Um, your how you communicate with somebody can have huge effects on someone psychological state. Um, so that is,

You know, it's a time when a lot of athletes will talk through their demons, talk to their game plan or just want to just talk about anything else but the sport.

And you're part of your There is almost a slight social support. Um, it's just for people to be aware of that as well.

Well, thank you so much for joining us today. It's been great speaking to you. And there's it's almost overwhelming amount of information you put in there.

So we'll definitely try and break that down in the notes of people. And so, putting together those tips at the end,

I think will be some great take home for any therapist out there. Be if them training or if they've been qualified for a long time.

And they want to kind of start working with these sorts of athletes. And where can people get in touch with you?

If they want to speak to you about this a little bit more, they can contact me at the North End in school sports massage.

Eso email address is Cassandra at analysis and dot com have a variety of C P, T s and S O for practical CPD is that help benefit people touched upon taking that skill set a little bit further.

Like we said during our conversation, um, s So if anybody wants to get in touch, I'll be more than happy to try and answer some questions.

Well, that's really kind of you. Thank you again for coming on the podcast today. Cassandra on.

I'm sure we'll try and convince you to come back one again later today. Thank you. All right,

take your cake. Good bye. Bye bye.



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