Students work as sports scientists for Basketball England

July 2021

Image for press release - Writtle University College Sports students Zachary Churn and Grace Gunn on Basketball England courts

Writtle University College's Zachary Churn and Grace Gunn enjoyed an exciting opportunity. This summer, the two BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise students worked as sports scientists at Basketball England's First Team England 3x3 Basketball Training Camp.

Grace and Zach supported Lecturer Mark Williams, who attended the camp in his capacity as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Basketball England.

Mark said: "At Writtle University College we place a high value on the combination of practical experience and the application of theory. Both Zach and Grace were fully deserving of this opportunity. They are highly motivated students and benefited from placing science into practice in a professional setting."

The event took place at the National Performance Centre in Manchester and allowed both students to work directly with elite athletes. 

Grace said: "The camp was very professional with a friendly and positive environment for players to bond. I was excited to meet the players that would be representing GB."

Grace and Zach's responsibilities included assisting with initial fitness testing and helping to interpret data.

The students also conducted COVID tests, prepared equipment, worked the shot clock, carried out baseline SCAT-5 testing and saw professional athletes in training. Grace said: "I am a basketball coach myself, so was good to see different drills and skills being used and the different coaching styles that I could adopt".

They also assisted Mark with jump testing, using forceplates to calculate the players' jump heights and any imbalances between their left and right sides.

"The whole experience provided insights on the processes involved when coaching and building relationships with elite athletes," said Zach. "The environment within the camp was welcoming and positive, the players and staff were really supportive of one another. Being surrounded by staff and players who are passionate about sport made the experience exciting".

Grace and Zach will both return to Writtle University College in 2021 to complete their undergraduate degrees. They plan to continue making the most of the hands-on experience and academic support offered to them by the university and encourage other students to do the same.

Zach said: "Take full advantage of the resources available to you. The lecturers are there to support your academic journey, do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions. It is your degree so make the most of the opportunities provided and, most of all, enjoy the learning process."

For more information on sport courses at Writtle University College, visit