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IUSCA Feature Placement: University of Colorado

Sam Thomas, a master’s student studying Advanced Coaching in Strength and Conditioning at the University of South Wales, recently undertook a placement at the University of Colorado in the USA.

Sam was selected by the IUSCA, as part of our USA Volunteer Placement program, after demonstrating a strong work ethic and commitment to his person development.

The placement consisted of two months in Boulder, Colorado, where Sam worked alongside elite level coaches and athletes within the CU Buffs sports department.

“My personal highlight was meeting and working alongside some of the best in the industry, in the incredible facilities they have over in Colorado. I was so welcomed into the staff, and the athletes were such a pleasure to coach.” said Sam.

Sam found the experience extremely beneficial and learnt a huge amount about the real-world of S&C, “being able to mix with a variety of students and sports was very valuable to me. I was forced out of my comfort zone, and through this I developed incredibly. I feel a lot more comfortable with a wide range of athletes and sports, which will aid me throughout my career.”

Being able to experience different sports was also a personal highlight for Sam, “having not experienced any basketball training in the UK, going out to the US showed (1), the intensity of training within basketball, and its holistic approach to physical qualities, and (2), the dedication and desire of athletes to move on to the next level. The love for basketball out there is incredible.”

The IUSCA Volunteer Placement’s provide a unique and rewarding experience for students, that offer an unrivalled opportunity for CV and career development. “This experience will contribute to my future career as I have now experienced a High-level Division I college environment, which can be one of the best training environments in the world.

Developing alongside some of the best coaches in the industry, as well as working with future/current NBA, NFL, WNBA and NVA athletes, showed how high performance and relationship-building should be the priority at an elite level.

This learning experience will shape my career and has opened my eyes to the extent of how well a Strength and Conditioning programme can be implemented, and how that can affect every other aspect of a sport teams’ performance.”

Steve Englehart, Director of Sports Performance at CU was delighted with how well Sam performed during the placement, "Sam was great. He really stepped up and contributed to our program. It was great to see him develop during his time with us, and I think Sam will have a great career within the profession.”

A further benefit of these placements being overseas is that students are able to experience and learn from another culture. This can mean sharing in the celebration of American traditions, such as Independence Day, or by making lifelong friends with people in another part of the world.

“I really enjoyed exploring Boulder, and seeing what Colorado had to offer. I was able to hike the Chautauqua Flatirons, which is not only an incredible sight to see from the ground, but it was amazing from the top! I was also able to hike around the Red Rocks. Being around such staggering sights everywhere you go was an unreal experience.

I was also able to experience a Colorado Rockies Baseball game, which was very enjoyable, the camaraderie of a baseball game is great. We were also lucky enough to be in Denver at the time that the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup (NHL). There was a massive buzz around the place, and it brought everyone together in celebration.

Lastly, we were able to celebrate the Fourth of July at one of the other intern’s lake house. It was a pleasure to be welcomed into their celebrations, and we were able to watch all the firework displays from their boat which was a personal highlight of mine.

I will genuinely miss the day-to-day life in Boulder, it is such a beautiful town, and I hope to be back out there soon.”

To find out more about IUSCA Placements, please click on the link below or email



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