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School of Health & Human Performance
Peter Smyth
Peter Smyth

Peter Smyth

Current role:  Head of Elite Player Development (IRFU)
Course:  Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance (Sport)

Why did you choose the program?
To improve my ability as a practitioner in Elite Sport (rugby), mainly in research-based practice. Alongside this the reputation of the course and quality of the staff administering the course were also factors.

How does the format of the program fit with your practice?
It’s manageable the Monday Friday 4-6pm format works well in terms of ability to attend the lectures/seminars. The scheduling also allows time for reflection and reading into the assigned topics. I also feel that time spent in the course is invariably real-time CPD in my own area of practice.

How would you describe the role and impact of your peers on your development?
I find a real collegiate feel amongst the students and staff on the course. Everyone may be there for slightly different reasons but ultimately all are trying to get better and improve their performance. The different perceptions and opinions of people help and challenge viewpoints across the spectrum. This is very refreshing as it is done in a very open and engaging manner.

How has it impacted your thinking?
In number of ways.

  • Challenged pre-existing beliefs
  • Forced reflection of practice and practices
  • Ability to assess information and the source of it

How has it impacted your practice?
Yes – having the justifications for making decisions in and around planning of programmes and development philosophies has been impactful. Being able to pass on relevant reading materials to the provincial Academy Managers has also been a good way of connecting with staff and starting conversations.

How has it developed your career?
In the early stages but it has impacted on my daily workflows and practices, mainly because of the new sources of materials and the opinions available on the course.

What is your favourite thing about the course?
Quality of teaching and support.

Can you summarise your experience to date?
It’s been challenging and rewarding in equal measure. Challenging in that the course stretches you and then when you mix that in with a job and other commitments in your life, it requires some good time management & discipline. It’s a rewarding process due to the course set-up and the incremental improvements, you can make through tasks and assignments.