Popular defender Blair Adams has successfully completed a Sports Journalism course at Staffordshire University, with support from Notts County FC and the PFA.The 24 year old, from South Shields, has been studying his Sports Journalism course for the last couple of years alongside his playing duties here at Notts County FC.
The curtains close on yet another football season today and so too comes the end of my Sports Journalism degree.
I wanted to take the opportunity to provide a bit of insight on studying for a degree while playing football professionally and also pay thanks to those that have helped me along the way.
As footballer’s we have plenty of time on our hands after training, and upon signing a 2-year contract for Notts County in 2014, I felt it was the right time to start putting it to good use.
The course has given me practice in different styles of sports writing, such as live match reports and the difference between the writing in local and national newspapers. It has also provided a taster in broadcasting techniques for TV and Radio, but most of my experience has come while completing work placements.
One of the best aspects of completing this degree has been meeting and working with new people, and the enthusiasm and willingness they have shown towards me to pass on their knowledge. I have been fortunate to be able to work with the media team at Notts County, while also utilising the local media outlets that cover the club.
I spent time with the Nottingham Post, where I enjoyed writing a weekly column that covered all things Notts County and had to tend with the pressures of meeting their deadlines.
More recently, I have worked with Colin Fray at BBC Radio Nottingham, who has shown me how their sports programmes run on a daily basis, and helped me edit my own radio packages that I have later submitted to the University.
They have both been a fantastic help, and I have learned a lot from each of them.
Admittedly, there have been times where I have been well out of my comfort zone. I recall on one of my first days working with Leigh Curtis at the Nottingham Post, I interviewed local boxer Leigh Wood, and found myself stuttering as I struggled to think of things to ask him.
It’s funny, I have no problem performing in front of a few thousand fans on a Saturday but on a phone call to interview another athlete my mind went blank! It comes naturally with a bit of practice though and after a conducting a few interviews since, I feel a lot more comfortable.
I have found that getting my head down to complete a little bit of work has helped me switch off from the football when I’ve needed to, which I feel in turn, has helped me when I’ve got back on the field. In this profession, it’s vital you overcome setbacks quickly and in these last two years I feel I’ve improved hugely in that department.
Whatever happens this summer, I will have a degree in the bag and another career I know I’ll be interested in taking up once my career is finished. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.