SPS Sports Performance Services


SPS Course Information

Additional Information

1 - CPD
2 - Jobs
3 - Register on the find a practitioner database
4 - Scope of Profession
5 - Qualifications explained
6 - Educational pathways
7 - Application forms

8- Course Information

1 - CPD

There are a wide range of CPD courses available to you, regardless of whether you are an SPS graduate or not, including Dry Needling, Strapping & Taping, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Techniques and Specific Stretch. For further information on CPD courses run by SPS, please click here

If there is a particular course you would be interested in attending and it is not shown on our list, please contact us, as we would like to help you meet your current training needs.

Additionally, if you are interested in having a private CPD course run for your staff or a group of colleagues, please contact us to discuss this further.

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2- Jobs
See the Classified page for both voluntary and paid job opportunities.These are updated regularly.

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3 - Register on the Find a Practitioner database

If you are a SPS graduate and would like your details entered into the Find a Practitioner section of the web-site, please complete the short form on the Add Yourself to the Pracitioner List page and we will include your details once we have verified your qualification status. This means that people looking for a sports massage therapist will be able to view your details and contact you directly.

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4 - Scope of Profession

As a qualified practitioner, it will be important that you understand Scope of Profession and develop your own Scope of Practice.  To assist you in doing this, we have defined Scope of Profession.

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5 - Qualifications explained

It can be very difficult for students to choose the appropriate education programme to meet their needs with so many different courses, awards, qualifications and providers to choose from.  The information provided below will try to explain the different routes.  However, if you are still confused then please contact us 029 2048 9999 or email admin@spslearn.co.uk for a personal chat which can often help to clarify the most appropriate route for you.

There are currently five different educational pathways in the UK through which you could study sports, massage & soft tissue therapy.  Each offers a different outcome in terms of recognition, accreditation and level of study.   To decide which is best for you try answering the following 5 questions?

1. Do I want to practice professionally?

2. What entry requirements will be asked for?

3. How much will the course cost?

4. Where do I want to study?

5. How flexible is the course?

1. If professional practice is the aim either as a self employed practitioner or being employed then your course needs to be recognised by the appropriate Professional Association (PA).  Visit our 'associations' link to see the range of professioanl bodies in the UK for massage & softt tissue therapists.   You can approach any of these and others not listed to gain membership that suits your specific needs.

2. All professional courses will only accept over 18's (below this age you are likely to not be insureable), some will have entry requirements which are older so check before applying.  In addition some will insist on your attending an 'introduction or foundation' course which can greatly add to the cost and is not necessary.  SPS will accept students with no previous experience provided they are over 18 and prepared to work hard!  Students whose first language is not english should check their level of both spoken & written english is acceptable before applying.

3. Course costs vary tremendously you will need to look at the length of the course in terms of hours or days, whether the course is an accredited one with a PA and whether your education is part of a wider area of study in order to compare costs.  Also is your chosen course funded through any of the government schemes.  SPS offers excellent flexibility with regards to funding your course over a period of time.  Often it is better in the long term to pay your course fees in installments even where funding is offered as added interest can greatly add to the cost even when provided through government schemes.  

4. Choosing a location/venue closest to your home is often the most cost effective when looking at travel and accommodation.  However, take care not to choose a course because its closest and then find it is not accredited by a PA or not elligible for insurance purposes.  Sometimes courses at a distance offer better value either because accommodation/food is included or the course offers access to a PA.  SPS has residential options of study as well as access to PA's.

5. Courses are often part-time unless they are studied as part of a larger full time study option.  When commencing studies you want to know how easy it would be to 'catch-up' any aspect missed through illness, other commitment or unforeseen personal problem?  Once commenced what time scale do you have to complete the studies and what will happen to your fees if you defer or drop out of the programme?  SPS offers flexible 'catch-up' options over a period of two years form the start of any course.  This might mean being able to defer at no additional cost, receiving one to one help and teaching, joining another group to cover any topics or work missed.  Discuss your particular needs with us if you know in advance that you have time restraints and / or commitments that clash with your chosen study option.

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6. - Educational pathways

Education in the UK is accessed through a number of different pathways and frameworks.  Choosing one is based on several desired outcomes, which usually include - level of award/qualification, employment prospects, cost, recognition or accreditation.

The sport, massage & soft tissue industry is very diverse in its study options and does not 'fit' the traditional educational pathways easily.  This has led to many industry accredited and insured courses of study being outside recognised frameworks.

The following information is provided to help in your decision making process:

  • Who provides the course and how is it quality assured?  Look for Professional Association (PA) & Industry recognition
  • Over what duration is the course studied days/weeks or months? Minimum of 6 months duration unless 'prior learning credit' - regulated professionals physiotherapists, Nurses, Doctors, Osteopaths, Chiropractors etc
  • How many hours of taught or 'face' time will I receive? Minimum of 150 is desirable unless 'prior learning credits'
  • Will I be able to join a professional association when I successfully complete my course? Check the PA entrance requirements
  • What level is my course? Professional practice employment usually request Level 4 or equivalent
  • What do employers look for? Insurance, we recommend Graybrook,  membership of a PA and relevant experience

 These questions are answered through looking at the 5 different pathways

1. Private provider whose education is not in an education framework, but is industry and PA recognised

2. Private provider whose education is not in an education framework, awarded by a government awarding body

3. Colleges, awarding body & private provider whose education is in the Qualifications & Credit Framework (QCF)

4. University provider whose education is in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)

5. Private provider whose education is neither recognised by a PA or an educational framework

 To further help you decide on the best pathway for you and explain why ''industry'' often favours PA accredited courses and private providers education over qualification framework awards:

Private providers offer ''practical work- related'' courses aimed at employment.  Their education is delivered over a minimum period of time from experienced practitioners who work within the industry and who understand the needs of the community they serve.  Taught or 'face' time is often longer and fully supported with opportunities to revisit, discuss and gain experience outside of the classroom.

Framework qualifications (QCF) are often fewer hours and do not all offer access to a PA.  They may however be funded for those who have never studied past A Level previously and offer an introduction to more advanced or industry recognised study.

FHEQ courses are usually a part of a degree or higher qualification.  The degree will be funded if Higher Education has not previously been undertaken.  However, the element within a degree may not be industry or PA recognised and is a costly route if it is only one small area of the programme you seek and which offers employment on completion.  All degree funding is repayable once earnings reach a pre agreed level up to 30years post qualification.

7 - Application forms

SPS Diploma in Sports Massage - Module 1 - all venues no prior experience required, over 18 & prepared to work hard!

SPS Diploma in Sports Massage - Helathcare professionals - physiotherapists, Nurses, Osteopaths etc all regulatated professionals

SPS Diploma in Sports Massage - prior experience - level 3 awards, sports science, rehabilitation or 'other' related qualification

8- Course Information

Prospectus and General Information 

Sports Performance Services Ltd

SPS is a Professional Independent Educator (PIE) 

This will be one PIE you’ll want to eat!

SPS is again leading the way - Join the many thousands of students who have graduated from SPS education courses in the past 25 years and study in 2016 our 25 year Anniversary.

SPS provides cost effective, high quality, full externally examined, verified and insured education.  SPS wants the next generation of professional practitioners/therapists to meet the needs of a wide range of client groups and have access to the most appropriate membership organisation (if desired) for their area of working expertise.

Therefore, SPS will help you or any individual over 18 to study Sports Massage & Advanced Soft Tissue Techniques, Strapping & Taping, Clinical Assessment Skills, Dry Needling, First Aid, injury prevention and other associated areas of Sport, Health & Fitness education and on successful completion make you eligible to apply as individuals to a wide range of industry membership organisations.

Our graduates can and do work in a wide range of sport, health & fitness environments.  For some graduates belonging to a ‘like minded’ group on graduation is important.   As autonomous often, self -employed therapists and as ‘one size’ does not always fit all, we are delighted to provide our graduates with access to a wide range of membership organisations.

The SPS Diploma in Sports Massage was the first competency based unit scheme in the UK (1991).  The first to offer ‘stand alone’ Sports Massage qualifications at Higher Education (2002) and now the first to give its graduates independent education and a choice of industry recognised organisations on completion of their studies.  Whether you study our Diploma, Advanced Diploma or CPD courses you will be free to work autonomously with appropriate insurance and join any organisation that meets your needs.

SPS Diploma’s in Sports Massage and Advanced Soft Tissue Techniques have been mapped to National Occupational Standards (NOS) by SPS Director Viv Lancey MCSP MHCPC who was appointed as expert consultant in sports massage for Skills Active, the Sector Skills Council for Sport and Active Leisure, and was the lead author of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for sports massage, which subsequently were accepted as the national standards for all areas of massage in the UK by Skills for Health. (2012)

SPS ticks all the boxes in terms of standards of education, professionalism & graduate opportunity and it is therefore time to lead the way once again in offering students Professional Independent Education ………...this is one PIE that can last a lifetime!

Information – SPS

Sports Performance Services Ltd (SPS Ltd) was founded in 1990 with its formal incorporation in June 1991 to provide practical sports massage courses and workshops. Today SPS offers education, skills and training in Massage & soft tissue therapies along with other relevant soft tissue related modalities and education for the benefit of individuals whose aims are to improve health & well being for work, sport and leisure activities.  All SPS students have access to insurance through Graybrook on successful completion as full autonomous practitioners.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is the term applied to the discipline of using massage for the specific benefit of all ‘sports’ participants.  Whether you are active for leisure, pleasure, health or an elite performer - It covers the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of the soft tissues of the body.  All aspects of sport/activity, the conditioning/training phase, pre-competition, inter-competition, post competition, post travel, injury prevention and injury recovery can have ‘sports’ massage administered to them.

In order to meet the demand for properly trained sports massage & soft tissue practitioners, SPS Ltd has developed a course(s) of study combining the skills of Sports & Soft Tissue Masseurs, Sports Physiologists, Chartered Physiotherapists, Coaches and Athletes.  The course offered is an externally validated Sports Massage & Soft Tissue Education Programme(s).

Soft Tissue Therapies

This includes a variety of advanced skills including – Specific Stretch/Soft Tissue Release, Trigger Point Techniques, Myofascial Release Techniques and others such as MET & PNF.  In addition courses in Dry Needling, Strapping & Taping, tutor education, health & fitness and coaching awards are available through SPS and other partners to provide practitioners/therapists with a wide range of skills to meet their particular client based needs.


The sports massage & soft tissue education programme(s) offered by SPS Ltd provide individuals with the ability to access a wide range of membership organisations in sports massage, therapy & complimentary medicine. 

Awarding Process

The Sports Massage Education Programme(s) offered are externally examined and endorsed by the School of Healthcare Sciences (Physiotherapy Programme) at Cardiff University and externally verified by Keith Everley Senior Lecturer at Chichester University

Course Aims

  • Provide knowledge and understanding of the theoretical aspects necessary to underpin safe and effective practice of sports & soft tissue massage/manipulation.
  • Introduce a variety of soft tissue manipulation methods and their practical application.
  • Develop practical skills needed to perform effective sports massage in any given situation and present opportunities for problem solving.
  • Provide an experience that is valuable, a foundation for more advanced study and a means of personal development.
  • To work closely with other healthcare professionals.

The Course

The course is offered in several different formats/packages.  Essentially a full package (module 1) comprises 150 taught hours – 120 hours practical (and related theory) with approximately 30 hours theory in one 60 credit module. (40 credits where access through prior learning is accepted) Outside the taught hours students are expected to record a minimum of 100 hours of practice time in module 1.  In addition, students are expected to study, research and complete a Continuous Assessment Record Log (CARL).  This log will comprise classroom notes, essays, risk assessments, evidence of communication skills, case studies and records of practice.  This work is completed outside of taught time and may represent a further 450 hours in module 1.

An opportunity to complete CPD or an advanced module 2 on successful completion of module 1 is offered – Advanced Diploma Professional Practice – Sport, Massage & Soft Tissue Therapies (module 2).


All submitted coursework must be word processed.  You should have the following minimum computer skills: 

Use a word processing programme, preferably Microsoft Word.

Log on to the internet.

Use email.


Students are continually assessed during the course with regard to safe and effective practice.  At the conclusion of each module participants will undergo an examination, which will comprise – Module 1 - a written theory exam followed by a 20minute practical assessment and viva voce.  Module 2 – case studies and a 1hour practical exam followed by a 20min viva.  ‘’These examination(s) will be conducted by external examiners’’.  Following successful completion of the examinations the exam scripts along with completed CARL’s are externally validated.   Successful completion of Module 1 (60credits) allows autonomous practice.  Certification follows the completed validation process.  Candidates should note that external validation occurs twice per year, February and July, therefore certification may not coincide with examination.  Letters of completion may be issued for insurance purposes prior to external verification where applicable.

Core Curriculum

The content of the programme(s) exceed the requirements of the Core curriculum of many membership organisations

Content summary – Module 1

  • Overview of the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system
  • Surface anatomy
  • Overview of the physiological functioning of body systems relevant to massage & soft tissue therapies including the physiological effects of massage.
  • Biomechanical principles – Levers, centre of gravity and balance.
  • Analysis of normal & abnormal movement patterns in relation to sport
  • Application of a variety of massage methods / techniques
  • Principles of training and fitness
  • Recognition and management of injury in relation to massage intervention
  • Principles of First Aid.
  • Sports Nutrition.
  • Sports Psychology
  • Professional practice – communication, interpersonal skills, ethics, professional associations code of conduct
  • Different working environments and the demands placed upon the sport, masseur / soft tissue therapist
  • Health & safety in the practice environment

Content summary – Module 2

  • Anatomy of the musculoskeletal system continued
  • Surface anatomy continued
  • Physiological functioning of body systems relevant to massage & soft tissue therapies including the physiological effects of advanced skills.
  • Biomechanical principles continued
  • Analysis of normal & abnormal movement patterns in relation to sport
  • Application of a variety of massage methods / techniques.
  • Assessment skills for reasoning and decision making processes
  • Professional practice – communication, interpersonal skills, ethics, professional associations code of conduct
  • Different working environments and the demands placed upon the sport, masseur / soft tissue therapist
  • Health & safety in the practice environment continued including risk assessment 

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Students who successfully complete the award – Module 1 or show equivalent education will be eligible to apply for Module 2 – leading to an SPS - Professional Practice in Sport, Massage & Soft Tissue Therapies 

Career Opportunities

Graduates from our courses are currently working in the following areas:

English Institute of Sport   SportWales

Welsh Swimming              Cruise Liners

Welsh Judo                     Welsh Institute of Sport

Welsh Soccer Squad        UK Athletics

England Soccer Squad     Sport Scotland

Premier Rugby Clubs       Welsh National Rugby Squad

Physiotherapy Clinics       Osteopathy Clinics

Sports Injuries Centres    Ballet Companies

Leisure Centres               Premier Soccer Clubs

Ski Resorts                     Disability Sports

Course Dates/Venues 

Course dates, venues, costs and contacts can all be viewed on our web-site – www.spslearn.co.uk ‘courses’ section

Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirements are:

Aged 18 years or over at course commencement and be prepared to work hard!

It is desirable to have:

5 GCSE’s to include English, Maths & Science 

Mature applicants (

Evidence of recent study or employment

Evidence of a commitment to study in this area

Evidence of practical/academic potential

English Language Requirements

All courses are delivered and assessed in English.  You must have sufficient command of the English language to complete your studies satisfactorily.  The minimum entry level is as follows:

IELTS                   6.0-7.0

TOEFL                  550-600       paper based test

TOEFL                  213-250       computer based test

TOEFL                  79-100        internet based

Additional Costs

Applicants should note that they will be required to purchase insurance for the practical work they undertake outside the classroom.  We recommend ‘LFC Graybrook’ and will provide all the necessary application information at course start

Plinths, massage medium and laundry are provided at our venues.  Students will be required to provide their own materials for work outside the classroom.

Purchase of a suitable massage plinth will cost in the region of £200.00 max

Purchase of a suitable, hypoallergenic massage medium will cost in the region of £7 for 8 fl oz.

Laundry in the form of bath towels and hand towels can be purchased from many outlets.

A recommended reading list will be provided at course start.  Purchase of these or other publications will be at the discretion of the individual.