Insights from an IFA finalist
Nathan Riches is now in his final year of his degree at Loughborough and with the IFA. Nathan reflects on his time with us and gives some sound advice for those starting with the programme this coming September.
You are now in your last season with the IFA and finishing your Degree in Loughborough, how have you been able to manage the busy schedule of the programme?
I found it quite hard to balance my studies and futsal at first, because my training started at 7am most days, and my lectures would start at 9am, and then training again in the evenings. However, I quickly realised it was essential to keep on top of my studies otherwise I would fail due to my lack of application. For example, I made sure before an evening training session I would spend at least half an hour of my own time studying; it’s about finding the right balance that suits you.
How important has Futsal been to help you during this journey?
Futsal was and still is very important because it maintains motivation and is a good distraction from everyday challenges.
What have you taken from being on the IFA programme not only as a player, but also as a person and student?
The IFA helped me build relationships on and off the court. There is no coincidence in the correlation between my social life and futsal life, as the same people are included in both, which I personally really like. The student aspect is something I enjoy because it keeps me grounded and makes me think about my future.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to start my Master’s degree in Loughborough, but that depends on my final year grade. Then I want to go into a job related to my studies. However, I also enjoy the idea of working abroad and learning about new cultures and languages so I would probably go down that route if I don’t do a Masters.
To someone that is reading your words and that is thinking of coming to this programme, what would be your advice?
My advice to anyone joining the IFA, would be to concentrate on having a good daily routine, like having a good sleeping pattern, eating correctly etc. It sounds so simple but when you come to Loughborough there is a lot to take in and a lot of aspects to focus on so you need to be organised. If you start to become lazy, you get into bad habits, and you don’t have your parents here to nag you to do the right thing and all the decisions are made by you – so make the right ones. Also, the IFA is a big family, so if you need help ask for it. If you are feeling low, speak to anyone because they will listen and help as much as they can and cater to your needs – don’t be afraid to speak out. Other than that, just enjoy it.