What were your main reasons for studying the MSc Sports Performance programme?
I decided to study on the MSc Sports Performance programme because I had always wanted to advance my career and this programme fit exactly what I was looking for. My background before this was football coaching (BA in Sports Management and Coaching), and I felt this course gave me the opportunity to merge the science of sports performance and add it to the skills I had learned as a coach, so that my practice was informed and supported by research and literature to the benefit of the players and other coaches.
What were the key learnings you took from the programme as a whole?
One of the key learnings I took from the course was to think critically and reflect on things I had done or read. Rather than reading a journal/ scientific paper and agreeing with it all immediately, I now look at methods section and evaluate whether the protocol had any strengths or weaknesses. This could be as simple as looking at the sample cohort used to see if its relevant to what I am trying to achieve – for example, reading about a performance test that’s validated in a study with amateur athletes may not mean its fit for purpose with elite level athletes and therefore I’ll take that into mind!!
What keys skills and competencies did you develop and what is your current role?
I developed key skills and competencies in a range of different areas but in particular I developed in the area of testing athletes, examining what their needs are in relation to their goals and writing research informed programmes for them – this was evident in the PBL modules when we worked with three different sets of athletes in three different areas (rowers, rugby rehab and boxing weight management). As well as this I developed a keen interest in nutrition for sport performance which has led me to my current role as a PhD student at the University of Birmingham while also working at professional football club, West Bromwich Albion.
Looking back, what advice would you have for future students studying the MSc Sports Performance programme?
For me personally, I always advise people to be open and honest. You will be on a course with people from a range of disciplines as well as having world renowned experts teaching you, sometimes you will be wrong or not know something, but being open enough to reach out and take the experiences and advise from other people was key for me! Network, network, network!
Enquiries to Dr. Catherine Norton, Course Director of the MSc Sports Performance, firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.ul.ie/gps/course/sports-performance-msc
Dean Morgan is a PhD Student at the University of Birmingham. Dean is an Assistant Academy Sport Scientist at West Bromwich Football Club, Albion.