The Science behind a Successful Athlete

As part of Limerick Festival of Science, the department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences hosted a number of workshops on November 15th 2016 to expose the science behind athletic performance in a series of workshops for post primary students.  Students from Glenstal Abbey and Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland were exposed to the four key disciplines within the Sport Sciences, namely Physiology, Psychology, Coaching Science and Biomechanics of movement. The workshops were designed around a single theme of “The science behind a successful athlete” with the exposition of fundamental concepts through athlete assessment using state of the art technology housed within the Physical Education and Sport Sciences department at UL.

Core to the workshops was the active engagement of participants using these technologies to assess their own performance and enable them to collect real-time data in small groups thus helping link theory to practice. The workshops acted as a ‘taster’ to each of the disciplines within Sport Science and introduced the students to career options in sport science while also giving insights into the technologies employed by sport science support teams to successful athletes at the Olympic games, Munster Rugby, Limerick GAA, Soccer and Basketball.

Workshops covered: The Physiology of an Olympic cyclist; The Athlete Brain (Psychology); Science of Skill Acquisition; The Coach to the Athlete; Athletic Movement (Biomechanics) and Power. The students were guided and encouraged by PESS faculty Dr. Brian Carson, Dr. Mark Campbell, Dr. Tom Comyns and PESS PhD Students Ian Sherwin, Arthur Lynch, Rachel Clancy, Clare Murphy, Niall Kelly, and PESS undergraduate students James Naughton, Etain McGurrin, Alexandra O Doherty & Marie Heenan. The department would like to thank Bernie Quilligan (Faculty of Science and Engineering) for her assistance and for visiting the workshops with Margie McCarthy, Head of Education and Public Engagement, Science Foundation Ireland. A short clip of the workshops can be viewed below.

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