Declan Bray has extensive coaching experience, but has a strong desire to learn more. The student on the University of Limerick’s (UL) MSc Applied Sports Coaching believes his course is a great fit for him. The programme allows him to reflect on his practice and this has been really useful for the performance tennis coach on a personal level.
A distinguishing feature of this programme is that the student’s own coaching forms the basis for the curriculum. Students co-design their programme of study in cooperation with staff:
“I’m not sure that other courses would have actually afforded me the same learning experience; it’s not prescriptive – it throws out some ideas, and it allows us to work our way through them and come up with the solutions that best suit ourselves” he told Study International in an interview.
“The way the course is delivered really challenges our thinking on what we do in our practice and it has helped me to continue to evolve as a coach”.
Declan’s course is exemplary of the hands-on and insightful learning students can expect from UL’s postgraduate Applied Sports Science programmes, which include the MSc Sports Performance and MSc in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology.
These programmes are offered by the Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences (PESS), home to expert staff who deliver the programmes in high quality teaching spaces.
“In terms of support, the staff have been phenomenal making themselves really available and that’s been very beneficial,” Declan said.
MSc programmes that unleash the giant within
In 2019, UL’s MSc Sports Performance programme won the Best Postgraduate Course in Health Sciences at the GradIreland Higher Education Awards – a well-deserved recognition.
This programme prepares graduates for a career in sports performance analysis specialising in strength and conditioning, video analysis and nutrition. It aims to increase knowledge and understanding of advanced practices in sport performance by challenging current practices and examining innovative alternatives. Delivered within an outstanding teaching and learning environment, the programme has a significant practical, applied component. Students develop a range of competencies relating to the use and application of up-to-date technologies in the sports performance field. In this respect, the programme has proven to be invaluable for graduates.
Graduate Paudie McCarthy said: “The MSc provided me with an excellent opportunity to upskill technically and learn more about the employment areas I intend to progress in. The hands-on nature of the course meant that I left with a robust understanding of core sports performance principles in video performance analysis, strength and conditioning and nutrition.”
Another graduate Oisin O Dalaigh said: “The structure of the course provided us with knowledge on a broad range of aspects influencing the performance of athletes. The facilities and equipment available in PESS also enhanced our learning as it enabled us to practically apply the classroom content, while gaining valuable experience.”
Students who wish to develop a thorough grounding in the knowledge and application of psychological principles to sport, exercise and performance settings will find UL’s MSc in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology programme an ideal fit. The programme seeks to equip students with a sound understanding of theory and research and develop core competencies and professional skills needed to work in high performance sport settings.
For graduate Katie Kilbane, going to UL was “one of the best decisions” of her life.
“The greatest thing I took away from the course was a better understanding of research in the area of sport and exercise psychology. There is a lot of information put out to coaches and players but being able to pick apart the research and information that can help you to apply an intervention in an effective and safe manner has been invaluable,” she said.
“Since completing the MSc I have been fortunate enough to work with a number of athletes and teams across codes, meeting incredible people and having the opportunity to build a career doing something I love and enjoy.”
Without a doubt, UL has all the hallmarks of a top university that ensures its applied sports science graduates have all the skills necessary for a successful career in this lucrative field.