Pathways to the MSc Sports Performance Programme
Individuals who aspire to have a career in sports performance, sport science, and related fields must stand out from their colleagues. Strong candidates will have a clear grasp of the underpinning theory that is matched with several years of applied experience. I chose to come to the University of Limerick because of the multi-disciplinary course work offered in the MSc Sports Performance programme. Additionally, interested candidates are offered the pathway to apply through Recognized Prior Learning (RPL). In other words, I wrote a 1000 word essay based on my professional experience and all the knowledge that I had accumulated to that point. I would not have had the opportunity to attend UL if this pathway had not been offered. My undergraduate degree was in Sport, Event, and Hospitality Management and my first Master’s degree was in New Media Management ; both focused in business. However, I had several years of coaching experience that included a Division I Collegiate Rowing Program, Lead Strength and Conditioning Specialist for Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Portuguese Rowing Federation.
The curriculum that makes up the MSc Sports Performance programme is a blend of theoretical and practical based learning. Students will be taught by professors of practice. This is a key differentiator of this programme. Students learn from teachers who have years of practical experience in professional sports and are writing and publishing research. I can confidently share that I am a better writer, reader, and critical thinker thanks to the rigorous curriculum I’ve undertaken in the last 12 months. Aligned with this, I’ve also expanded my understanding of the science that underpins sports performance and enhanced my practical skills. The MSc Sports Performance programme offers attendees comprehensive knowledge and practical skills in the following sports performance domains: strength and conditioning, nutrition, physiology, research methods, athlete testing, physiological testing, training prescription and rehabilitation.
I was delighted to be part of a class that included several students from around the globe. One of the assets to the programme is it includes students who come from various professional backgrounds and countries which contributes to a rich learning environment. This was another reason I wanted to attend the University of Limerick. I sought an education that would provide a well-rounded and different perspective than what I had been offered in the United States. As an international student I was very pleased at how affordable tuition and accommodation was for an international postgraduate degree at Ireland’s Sporting Campus.
For me, the whole purpose of my year in Ireland was to immerse myself intensely in an advanced postgraduate programme and set myself apart from my respective peers. As I near graduation I am in a position as a strong candidate to work in strength and conditioning as well as sport science focusing more on data analysis, planning, and programme design. However, interested students are set up to succeed and continue on with the pursuit of a PhD if they so desire. The dissertation that caps off the end of the MSc Sports Performance programme is a thoughtful, well-designed module. Students must synthesize all of the knowledge and skills acquired over the last year in this final assignment.
I encourage you to apply to this programme as the learnings and mentorship offered will no doubt set you apart from the rest of your peers and provide the knowledge and skill set for a successful career
Joe DeLeo is a lifelong rower who has been involved with the sport since age 12. Joe was a varsity oarsman at The George Washington University, and was named team MVP in his senior year. He then spent the next three years as the graduate assistant coach for Syracuse Men’s Rowing under Head Coach Dave Reischman. Joe launched his business, LEO Training in 2014. Since then, Joe has consulted with junior, collegiate, masters, and national team rowing programs, as well as interviewed hundreds of rowers, rowing coaches, and strength coaches through his podcast, “LEO Training.”
Joe moved to the Kansas City area in 2017 to be the strength and conditioning specialist for Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he works alongside physical therapists to provide continuous sports performance and rehabilitation services to athletes. In 2018, Joe was named Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Portuguesa de Remo. Joe assists with the physical development of the Portuguese National Team program via in-person instruction and remote programming for athletes at the U19, U23, and Senior levels. In August 2020, he launched the digital publication, Science of Rowing, along with strength and conditioning coaches Will Ruth and Blake Gourley. Joe is excited to continue to work in sports performance and publish research upon completion of his MSc Sports Performance degree at the University of Limerick.