My second year at Cardiff met was where I feel my performance analysis journey really started to gain momentum. I think I found it suited me the best as I choose the right modules that suited me and also shaped the rest of my degree to make me a functional analyst.
In this year the degree took two very clear sides. The academic, and the practical I say clear sides they overlapped a hell of a lot but it was two clear ways I thought about it. On the academic side I took physiology, biomechanics and sports coaching, as well as performance analysis and work experience which formed the complete other side of my thinking. The practical element, my work experience at the CPA, the Centre of Performance analysis.
Academically the course stepped up a gear, the knowledge that was being passed over was much more complex. There is as, most people know, a need to reference everything which is joined with the need to know who and when, wrote the reference. I found the Biomechanics sessions the toughest, the complex combination of math and anatomical knowledge really tested my ability. The mathematical challenge I found that I could deal with, however the need to apply this in a written way academically is something I struggled with. it was the cross over of maths, physics and biology just blow my mind. One other reason I struggled with biomechanics is one because the lectures were 5 till 6pm on a Thursday afternoon, that was tough. It wasn’t the best time to maintain concentration on the lecture. The next barrier to the effectiveness of the lectures feels terrible to say but it was unfortunately, as talented as the teaching staff are there lectures where incredibly dull. On the opposite side the seminars where the most useful sessions we had, that close connection really allowed them to home my knowledge in biomechanics. I know form other students that they have now increased the number of seminar sessions.
Physiology was a subject that I found slightly easier. It was more a furthering what I already Knew. We looked predominately at the energy systems and the way they are effected by exercise. This was taught through lectures and practical lab sessions. I found this was a way enjoyed learning, I got to experience the changes we were discussing in the lectures. It was clear in the lectures that the physiology department were getting the experts in there field to give the lecture best suited. They were truly engaging lectures which helped me understand the minutia of changes that take place when we exercise. Some of the tests we did will be some of my most memorable moments.
This picture is a funny reminder of one of the funniest moments in uni. Alessandro in the picture is taking part in the Vo2 max test. This test gets progressively harder and is brutal on the lungs. Ali in the true Italian stallion nature gave 110% for the whole test, producing some very respectable results. However afterwards he did feel the full affect. We spent the last 15 minutes in the lecture trying to stop him from fainting or throwing up. It was so funny because even though he was drained he couldn’t stop making jokes and neither could I. Instead of rising his legs (to move the blood from his legs to his head) when he was lying on the floor he ended up rolling round laughing. With both my self and the lab tech just in stitches in the door way to the changing room.
Coaching science was a subject that I found easiest to apply to everyday life, especially with in my own coaching. It was the subject however that took the most outside reading, especially with a task to complete each week. It was really interesting to look at my own experience in relation to the coaching theory. It worked really well with my coaching externally being an excellent place to put the theory in to practice.One thing I feel the course does well is include the practical coaching sessions as it gives every student the opportunity to try the theory out.
The practical coaching sessions were really interesting, you had to pick which sports you where interested in. I choose kayaking, a sport which I had not done for years, however, I spent a lot of my time working at Cardiff international white water as a raft guide. It meant that kayaking was something I wanted to get back in to and this was an opportunity I jumped on. Different to the other sports which went over 6 weeks, kayaking was split over a couple of pool sessions joined with a trip to story arms for a week. Here the aim of the sessions was to raise the level of the group’s kayaking to one where the group is competent flat water kayakers. I quickly found out that I had under estimated my level of kayaking ability. I spent a lot of the week working with colleges to help my new uni friends accomplish there goals within the week. It was a good experiance and hold some of my fondest uni memories.
On the other side of my second year was the volunteering module. Academically the 3 lectures that where linked to it where poor, however, that is not where the learning of module is designed to take place. The aim of the module is designed to allow people to learn through the practical application in appropriate environment. My placement was was with in the Centre of Performance Analysis which is based with in Cardiff Met. The Centre provided placements for aspiring performance analysts, and has helped guide many of the worlds leading analysts in to the position the are to day. The Centre is currently headed up by Darrell Cobner and Adam Cullinane. The Centre provides a high performing performance analysis service to a number of high performance outlets and aims and succeeds in producing world leading performance analysts.
To be continued…