22 March, 2021 | Posted by Dr. Susan Giblin

What Sports MSc is Right for Me?

Dr. Matt Jordan recently explained the importance of a Sports Science degree for those training elite athletes.

Dr. Jordan has previously worked with the best Winter Sport athletes in the world at the Olympics. He implored students to not only study to undergraduate level but to move past Level 8 and seek out a Level 9 degree in Sports Performance Analysis.

If you have completed a BSc in Sports Science or coaching and know what notational analysis and GPS are without being experts in using them, then the Portobello Institute Level 9 MSc in Sports Performance Analysis is for you. Using big data to plan peak performance and develop the next winning strategy while dissecting the opposition is standard practice in sports now.

Performance Analysis allows us to better understand motor patterns and use motion capture to analyse, predict and prevent injury. Instead of reading stats on websites to satiate our own intrigue and entertain ourselves, we can take that passion for data and produce or analyse our own performance data that serves specific purposes.

If you want to work at the level of the Champions League in soccer or for a Champions Cup team in rugby, Performance Analysis is a great avenue to explore.

Unlike on-field professionals, you don’t have to be identified in your early teens to become a world class professional off the field. You can also work as a Performance Analyst into later life, long past the typical retirement age of players.

The opportunities within sports that come from a Performance Analysis degree are exciting. There are also opportunities connected to sports away from professional sports teams. Do you want to work in media for RTE or Sky Sports? Do you want to travel the world producing statistics for major sporting events or even move to America and so you can work for some of the biggest sports media networks in the world? Maybe you’d prefer to become a lecturer at a prestigious university?

You can pursue those paths of progression with this degree.


Why should I do a MSc? 

Sports is a popular industry even without considering the financial reward and career opportunities. There’s an affinity with sports shared by millions of people across the world. As such, there’s naturally a culture of competition within sports.

Continual professional development is an expectation in the profession. Pursuing a MSc in a Sports Science subspeciality such as Performance Analysis can help diversify you from other professionals. A postgraduate education is almost a pre-requisite to attain positions within professional organizations and teams. Previously positions that were advertised for interns or BSc graduates are now seeking MSc graduates with research experience. Just getting your foot in the door now requires a level of expertise that didn’t even exist in education 10 years ago. Pursuing a MSc will equip you to meet the increased expectations.

Being able to critically consume, articulate, assimilate and research findings are essential skills in performance science.

A MSc level education allows you to explore research areas that you are interested in. Completing research is the first step in carving out your own niche in the field. By the end of the MSc, you will be the leading expert in the topic that you have chosen to research. This positions you favourably for approaching professional organisations or teams with a key differentiator that showcases your skills, your knowledge, and your interest.


Why should I do a Msc in Sports Performance Analysis?

In the rapidly evolving environment of applied sports performance, you’ll need an understanding of fundamental sports science as well as specific technical and analytical skills to be competitive.

Performance Analysis is a specialist discipline involving systematic observations to enhance performance and improve decision-making. These observations are primarily delivered through the provision of objective statistical (data) and visual feedback (video). Performance analysis has become a staple for all sports over the last decade and while each sport has different needs, the foundation of what qualifies as accurate/valuable analysis remains the same.

If you have completed a BSc degree in sports science, you have likely reviewed advertisements for analyst roles. The demand for analysts is high, with most elite and professional teams requiring performance analysis specific skills. Performance analysis is not extensively taught at undergraduate level, so even with a BSc degree you’d like be missing the required skills to get the job.

You will need to develop your skills using the hardware and software that teams and broadcasters rely on to capture performance data. Additionally, you will need to gain experience and understanding of how to produce meaningful reports and insights from big data streams.

This MSc in Sports Performance Analysis will provide a pathway for you to learn and develop these specialised skills that will in turn qualify you for more defined and specialised positions that are advertised.


Thrive in your Profession

If you have pursued a BSc in Sport, you likely have a love of sports and performance. You are likely highly motivated and hold yourself to very high standards. You thrive in an environment that promotes excellence and are passionate about supporting players and teams to achieve their potential.

Continual education at graduate and postgraduate level provides an opportunity for self-development as well as personal and professional growth. The career that follows will energise and excite you. You will find yourself collaborating with like-minded mentors and peers who thrive in high performance settings.

In addition to being a positive, progressive step for your academic credentials, this degree provides an opportunity for networking and building connections that will help to open doors to future opportunities.


Enter a rapidly growing and rewarding field

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, job growth for sports professionals is expected to grow 23 percent by 2026. The employment outlook in sports and performance science is promising both in Europe and across the US. Graduates will find excellent job security and opportunity in this dynamic field.

Performance analysts get to work closely with the World’s elite athletes as part of a high-performance team.

Colleagues in the sport industry quickly become friends and mentors when dedicated to a shared goal. As well as opening the door to more specialised applied roles practitioners, completing a MSc is an important next step for those hoping to enter into academia. If you can see yourself combining a lecturing position with applied practice, a MSc is an absolute must have.

Portobello Institute is the only college in Ireland that offers a Level 9 MSc in Sports Performance Analysis. Dr. Susan Giblin leads a course that reflects the needs outlined in the article above. If you aren't in position to move onto a Masters right now, Portobello also offers Sports Science qualifications and degrees at other levels.

For more information, you can contact sports department course advisor Johanna Shaw on 01-892-0024 or send her an email at jo.shaw@portobelloinstitute.com.