Wintec grad nabs top trainer job at prestigious school
06-Apr-2018 7:20 AM
Todd Barker’s domain is still the gym but he’s traded working with big strong rugby players, to working with some of New Zealand’s up-and-coming sports stars at St Peter’s School in Cambridge.
It’s a refreshing change for Todd who, after 10 years working for the Waikato Rugby Union, is now the Strength and Conditioning Coach at St Peter’s.
In his new role, he looks after 330 students - that’s a quarter of the school’s students participating in its elite sporting programme.
Todd and his team - which includes a number of Wintec postgraduate and Masters students - ensure that these young athletes are in optimal physical condition to excel in their chosen sport.
“After focusing on rugby for the last decade, I’m really enjoying working with so many different sporting codes at St Peter’s as well as working with elite young athletes and coaches. Our students include a large number of New Zealand representatives and world champions who represent all the usual sports as well as some more unique sports such as lacrosse, equestrian, rock climbing and barefoot skiing,” says Todd.
St Peter’s has the largest strength and conditioning programme of its kind in New Zealand and aims to have one of the best sporting programmes in the country.
From his past work experience at the Waikato Rugby Union, Todd is used to working in high pressure environments and is well equipped for his new role.
Todd first graduated from Wintec with a Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Science in 2008 and while working fulltime at the union, decided to study a Master of Science (Sport and Exercise Science) at Wintec.
With young twin daughters at home, he soon found that studying, working fulltime and parenting was too much of a juggle. Still keen to further his education, Todd switched from studying a Masters to a Postgraduate Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science, which gave him the work-life balance he needed.
“I still want to complete my Masters at some stage and I felt like the diploma was a good step towards that long-term goal. The research I did during my diploma really opened my eyes to the latest developments in sports science and reinforced how important it is to keep up-to-date with research,” says Todd.
The best thing about studying at Wintec: “I’m passionate about sport and it was awesome to study with a like-minded group of people and tutors who all love sport as much as I do.”
As you’d imagine from someone who is immersed in sports on a daily basis, Todd is an avid sportsman himself. He played high school rugby, was a former competitive badminton player and now spends his spare time catching waves.
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