FSH - School of Health and Human Performance header
School of Health & Human Performance
Garry Cahill
Garry Cahill

Garry Cahill

Current role: Coach on WTA Tennis tour 

Course: Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance (Sport)

Why did you choose the program?

I had already worked as a performance director within a sporting governing body and wanted to explore specific areas around talent development. When you work daily within a talent development you can eventually find it hard to see the wood from the trees!

How does the format of the program fit with your practice?

The format is ideal for practitioners, mainly, because you can work at your own pace. For example, when travelling or at the competition, I can arrange my study plans to both positively impact my role and not feel under pressure with deadlines. 

How would you describe the role and impact of your peers on your development?

High-performance sport can be a lonely existence! It is not exactly a conventional job that you can chat through problems over a pint. Within the program, you have opportunities to discuss and support peers that have similar interests and indeed problems. This support network is extremely beneficial and I have found it to be an excellent method of checking and challenging work practice. 

How has it impacted your thinking? 

The biggest learning for me is that I have realised that there are no certain answers to the kind of questions that I have asked myself re- talent development! Also, research in sport needs to be challenged and not taken at face value. However, there certainly is no one way to skin a cat. 

How has it impacted your practice?

I am more open. Constantly I now find myself asking myself “why am I doing this” I guess in general, I am more self-aware of the reasons why I am making certain decisions in practice. 

How has it developed your career?

At the moment it has not developed my career. However, this is my choice. In the future, I can see it benefiting my career research decisions are been made with future careers in mind. 

What is your favorite thing about the course?

Learning! Challenging my thinking! Stepping outside my sports bubble to expand my thinking 

Can you summarise your experience to date? 

Tough question 😊  Entering the DProf (coming from a practical background in sport) I wasn’t sure what to expect. Part of me thought ‘well you’re doing well as a coach’ ‘you have all your badges’ why do you need this? After all, I wasn’t planning to change my role. After nearly two years, I have a broader sense of how to interpret research, in the past because some ‘coaching guru’ provided the advice I tended to believe it, now I find myself looking for evidence ( that I know often can’t really exist). Secondly, I have a greater understanding of how I ended up working the way I do, why I do it the way I do and this has helped me make better decisions ( well the best I can at the time). Strangely, this has provided a kind of self-evidence and made me realise that better decisions can be made when 1. I know myself a bit better 2. When I am better informed.