Susan Giblin, sports programme manager at Portobello Institute gives an expert insight into what studying sport at Portobello means and the multiple career opportunities within the sports industry in Ireland and abroad.

What is Sports Science?

Sports science is the study and use of scientific knowledge and understanding to promote optimisation of human performance. Over the past decade sports science and the sports industry itself has grown exponentially. Technology has improved the variety and volume of data that can be collected in sports. Everything from distance covered, speed and force production to heart rate, breathing rate, sleep duration and hydration is tracked and analysed on a daily basis, not only for elite level athletes but for weekend warriors and the general population. The evolution of sports science has contributed significantly to the understanding of optimal human function and is beginning to transform the focus of healthcare from the reduction of disease to optimisation of health. Sports science is frontiering the use of mobile tracking and technology for remote healthcare data collection and analysis. There has never been a more exciting time for the sports science industry.

A third level qualification in sports science typically includes the study of human anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, physiology and psychology to understand how these different factors contribute to human performance (for example endurance, power, speed). Whilst the learning of theory is important, third level qualifications are unique in their practical orientation. As a sports science student you will learn how to experiment, implement and apply the theoretical knowledge you have gained to train and test athletes’ across all levels of performance (recreational to elite).

Studying Sport at Portobello Institute:

At Portobello Institute, our Sports Department offer BSc Honours level degree qualifications in Sports Science and Physical Education and Sports Therapy. Our courses are deliberately designed to promote employability and accessibility, with the majority of students sharing a passion for sports participation, a desire to support athletes and improve performance. We emphasise practical skills and work placement throughout the three years of study and students gain deeper knowledge and appreciation of science and theory through practical application and lived-experience.

In addition to our degrees, we offer a range of other courses that are ideal for those looking for an introduction to a specific facet of sports science (e.g. nutrition, psychology, massage, personal training, strength & conditioning etc.). These courses also provide opportunities for practitioners to continue their professional development. Continuing professional development is important for those pursuing a career in the sports industry to stay up to date with the constantly evolving best-practices in the professional domain.

Our Tutor Team:

We pride ourselves on building a caring, compassionate team of tutors who practice what they preach. All of our tutors are not only academics, but also active practitioners who have first-hand experience of life and work in the sports industry. Their experience, knowledge and passion provide students with invaluable mentorship that extends beyond the bounds of the classroom. Our team our dedicated to changing the education of practitioners and leading the way in evidence-based, science-lead practice to push the sports industry in Ireland forward.

What next?

Progression options from Studying Sport at Portobello Institute are multiple. From our courses, graduates can progress to employment either nationally or internationally with their qualifications accredited by internationally recognised governing bodies (e.g. Society of Sports Therapists). The supervised-experience, clinic hours and the research components included in our courses equip our graduates for the workforce by combining academia with evidence-based practice. Furthermore, graduates can use their qualification for entry in to additional study in affiliated disciplines both here in Ireland and in the UK (e.g. Physiotherapy, Teaching, Physical Education).