Alisha MacDonald
Alisha MacDonald
October 10, 2019

A Non-Athletes Role in Sports at UNB

The Sport High Performance Gym is located on the Kinesiology building | Photo by M. Nazareth Araújo

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) offers a wide range of opportunities for students, especially when it comes to athletics. UNB offers intramurals, club sports and varsity sports. Although not everyone can be or wants to be an athlete, there are still ways for students to be involved with sports here at UNB.  

With so many different teams on campus the coaches and staff obviously will need help. Helping out a sports team is a great way to boost your skill set, improve your education and enhance a team. 

Nash Brewer, a third-year Kinesiology student says there are lots of different opportunities “especially for people that like sports but maybe aren’t a varsity athlete but want to have that connection with sports at UNB”.

Here at UNB there are many different roles that can connect students to athletes and give a chance to take what students are learning in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations. 

An example of one opportunity is volunteering at the Sport High Performance Gym to get a feel for working with athletes while learning from upper year students.

“As volunteers we’re more shadowing the people doing their practicums. Like working with the athletes helping them run through different training exercises and helping them with their form” said Brewer.

Volunteer positions like this are open to almost anyone. This is a great way to connect yourself with student-athletes and see how they train. There’s opportunity at the SHPG whether you’re interested in working with the athletes or thinking about a profession in health and fitness.

Students interested in fields such as Strength and Conditioning, Athletic Therapy, Nutrition, or Sport Psychology would benefit from experience at the high-performance gym.

Emma Mackenzie, a third-year Kinesiology student, is using her love of soccer combined with her positive experience volunteering to further her education and get involved with UNB athletics.  

“Last year I volunteered at the high-performance gym which lead to my practicum this year. I’m assigned a specific team so it’s more individualized. I have more freedom to figure out what I’m doing and get more of an idea of the strength and conditioning aspect of sports”.

Brewer is using sports as a way to test different career paths. 

Students interested in fields such as Strength and Conditioning, Athletic Therapy, Nutrition, or Sport Psychology would benefit from experience at the high-performance gym | Photo by Maria Nazareth Araújo


“Right now, I’m still in that process of seeing if it’s something I want to follow or not but it’s pretty chill. You just go and hangout with people and learn” said Brewer.

But, if working with athletes directly isn’t your thing that’s ok. There’s plenty of ways to help the Reds behind the scenes. 

Third-year Recreation and Sport management student, Matthew Smith, is a great example of how an ex-athlete found a way to get involved.

“I played pretty high-level hockey growing up and when I got to UNB I didn’t have that outlet so I asked the video coach if I could get involved and he invited me in to work with the coaches” said Smith.

Smith would analyze video and give his feedback to the coach. Which is a pretty big deal to have a university-level coach willing to listen your analyses. 

“I feel like part of a bigger community. I feel definitely more attached to the school then if I had not done that in the first place” he said.

This is just another of many ways to be involved with UNB Sports. There’s also options like statistics, marketing and communication, and referring.

Brianna McQuillan, a fourth-year Recreation and Sport Management student, is the student-athletic director for the women’s hockey team.  Brianna’s main job is to promote the team. 

“My goal after my degree is to get into sport marketing so any opportunities that I can get to help develop my skills are opportunities I like to grab” said McQuillan.

Each student’s experience is based on what they know and what they want to learn.

Reaching out to UNB Reds creates an opportunity to apply what you learn in class to real-life situations. Mackenzie says, “you can sit in a class and learn this stuff but going out and being a part of a team, I just think you learn so much more when you apply what you learn”.

So, get involved! Email the coach of the team or the director of athletics. Volunteering is a chance to give students an opening to enhance their learning experience and connection to UNB. 

Coaches are always looking for help and students need to start approaching teams because you never know what type of position may be available.

Smith says, “I think it’s one of the best experiences you can get because they throw you right in there and it’s a pretty professional environment; you really get to learn the ins and outs”.

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