All-Ireland Postgraduate Conference: A three-peat visit – Rachel Sheehan

Last Friday, a small contingent of PESS postgraduate students set off for the All-Ireland Postgraduate Conference in Sport Sciences, Physical Activity and Physical Education in IT Carlow. This was my third year attending, and marked a steady progression. I presented a poster in 2015, delivered my first ever oral presentation in 2016, and was awarded “best oral presentation” in the area of “sports performance” in 2017. Now for the details…

Ian Sherwin, Emmet Crowley and I drove to the conference together. Interestingly, it was Ian’s last conference as a PhD student, and Emmet’s first. We also met PESS students Eoin Everard, Joey Murphy, Brendan O’Keeffe, and Caithriona Yeomans. We began the conference at Dr Nick Winkelman’s keynote presentation, who spoke about the language of cueing for motor learning. I have already shared some of the interesting take-home points with my brother, David, who is a physiotherapist and spends much time teaching movement patterns. From there, it was on to the first session of oral presentations, during which Ian presented insightful findings about the use of questioning by coaches. We then supported Emmet during the poster presentations, making sure to Tweet about everything of significance. At this point, I slipped into an empty classroom to rehearse my own presentation. Although I knew the content very well, I wanted to finalise my timing, as the guidelines called for eight minutes, rather than the usual 10. Once I was comfortable with my solitary delivery, I returned to the foyer, and engaged with more of the students presenting posters. Emmet and I then attended a pre-lunch workshop on velocity-based strength training.

The afternoon timetable began with a keynote presentation by Dr Barry Lambe. In addition to sharing his research on “smarter travel”, an important initiative in UL and around the country, he spoke candidly about his PhD journey. It was then time for my oral presentation. I was the second of four speakers, and experienced the usual nerves as I awaited my turn. I readied my stopwatch, and went through my presentation as rehearsed. I kept the content simple, emphasising a single key finding, rather than overviewing too much data. I finished with 14 seconds to spare, and answered a handful of questions before re-taking my seat.

After the session finished, everyone attended the closing address. There were awards for best oral and poster presentation in each of the three categories (sports performance, physical activity and education, injury prevention and rehabilitation), and I was delighted to be recognised as such. After posing for a group photo, I returned to the company of Ian and Emmet, who offered congratulations as we returned to the car. At that point, we all signed off with a final Tweet before heading home…

Rachel Sheehan is a postgraduate student in the PESS Department. View Rachel’s Profile Here!

Rachel’s email address is:
Rachel’s Twitter: @rachelbsheehan


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