A group of students taking a unique sports training course at a high school in Flintshire have returned from a trip to a renowned Finnish sports institute which offers Olympic-level education and training for elite athletes.
Pat Carney, Ryan Price, Jack Fairlamb, all 12th graders, and Jess Ding and James Taylor, 13th graders, are all studying Flint High School’s LLS Sports Industry program and spent two weeks at Kisakalio Sports Institute, Finland, benefiting from sports science, lectures on sports nutrition and physiotherapy led by sports science experts.
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In addition to the academic aspect of the trip, the students had the opportunity to experience the local culture. They also coached the local community, including Ukrainian children who were staying at the Institute.
Jess and James have just completed the course with a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Development, Coaching and Fitness, which is equivalent to three A Level qualifications.
Andy Skeoch, LLS Lead Tutor North Wales said: “The trip to Kisakalio Sports Institute was a fantastic experience which really benefited the coaching skills of the students; providing sessions for children who do not speak English was a real challenge to overcome.
“The lectures helped to develop their knowledge and understanding for their theoretical work. They also learned new sports, including Finnish baseball, ground ball, curling, ice hockey and paddle ball.
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“The Grade 12 students are all excellent coaches and are considering going down this path with college being an option. We are very proud of all of our students and wish them every success in the future.”
After completing the LLS course, Jess will head to the University of Derby in September after receiving a scholarship to play badminton. She hopes to continue playing for Wales and improve her game while studying strength and conditioning. James is considering a business management apprenticeship.
The trip to the Kisakalio Sports Institute will take place every year with Erasmus funding to financially support the students and make the trip accessible. Students are selected from the 28 LLS centers based on their good academic performance, completion of a significant number of hours of work experience, and contribution to their community.