From the beginning of my PhD, I have always been keen to gain as much practical experience as possible, in my case as a coach and practitioner within a sporting organisation. My motivation was financial at first, as I was not receiving an academic scholarship, but on reflection this resulted in a wide range of experiences and opportunities. I was always mindful that my PhD was my priority and I have continued that path with recent publications and conference proceedings.
The life of a PhD student can be challenging and tiresome but provides one with a new sense of ability and work ethic. The commitment as a coach and practitioner to a sporting team or organisation is not without its added pressures. The expectations of high performance sport can become extremely demanding and time consuming. During the first year of my PhD, I was a full time athlete and completed countless hours of training each week. Throughout this period, I began to coach within Limerick Swimming Club and when I retired from swimming, I began to coach at the Swim Ireland National Centre in Limerick. As time went by, I picked up sports science and strength and conditioning hours within both swimming and the GAA, where I developed my skills outside of the world of swimming.
I primarily began my coaching career in 2014 as Assistant Coach of Limerick Swimming Club, where I progressed to Head Coach in 2016, at the start of my PhD. I soon became an Associate Coach in the Swim Ireland National Centre in Limerick where I assisted across all squads, from Trainability to the Performance Squad. I engaged in National and Regional Squad programmes as a coach and practitioner. I have coached at several national and international competitions and training camps, with being selected as part of the 2018 European Short Course Championships support staff being the highlight to date. Furthermore, I completed an interim Head Coach position at the National Centre in Limerick this year, where I gained invaluable experience in management, logistics and organisation. During this time, I coached two swimmers to European Junior qualification and coached six swimmers to the Swim Ireland National Squad consideration standards, plus multiple National medallists. Additionally, I worked with several GAA teams in Limerick who have achieved success at both League and Championship level.
I believe that these experiences in swimming and the GAA have informed all aspects of my PhD thesis and contributed to my development as a person, researcher and practitioner. Overall, they will broaden my academic and practical employment opportunities post–PhD, both in the demanding yet rewarding world of elite sport and beyond.
Emmet Crowley is a Postgraduate Researcher with a special interest in Biomechanics and Strength and Conditioning, specifically “The Transfer of Dry-Land Strength Training Exercises to Swimming Performance”. You can contact Emmet via email at email@example.com or view his research profile on Researchgate