PhD in high performance sport candidate with Port Adelaide Football Club
Human Movement honours graduate and PhD student Daniel Rogers describes himself in three words:
living the dream.
As the inaugural recipient of the University of South Australia and Port Adelaide Football Club (PAFC) PhD scholarship in high performance sport, he gets to spend every day doing what he loves – working with elite athletes.
Daniel’s PhD research involves investigating how various physical capacities contribute to physical performance in elite players. He has access to PAFC players and to state-of-the-art facilities at both PAFC and UniSA.
“It (the partnership with PAFC) means that I get invaluable experience working in a high performance sport environment. While I have research to do, more than half of my time is spent assisting strength coaches and physios in their daily tasks so it’s applied. In this way I can gain important applied skills while also working in an environment which stimulates ideas and guides my research,” says Daniel.
“It’s the environment I aspire to work in one day and it’s great to work with people who I’ve admired from a far for some time.”
After finishing his undergraduate Human Movement degree in 2010, Daniel wanted to gain further knowledge in sport science, which led him to complete his Honours project at UniSA.
“I then took a few years out of studying and worked and volunteered with sports teams. Through this I developed a particular interest in the area of athletic development and I figured the best way to gain more knowledge and answer certain questions was to go onto a PhD, says Daniel.
Daniel’s days usually start around 7:30am and finish between 5pm and 8pm.
“During that time I assist with the set up and complete any assigned tasks during (usually two) training sessions (gym and on-field). Throughout the day I get an hour or two to work on my PhD work. I do this four days a week and usually attend uni on Fridays. On the weekends I attend Port Magpies games to assist with game day duties,” says Daniel.
His advice for others thinking of pursuing a career in sport or exercise science is to know the science inside out.
“Any role within a sports club also requires ‘soft skills’ – communication skills, teamwork skills, leadership skills, etc. These are probably more important than your theoretical knowledge.
“The most important thing is to get applied experience. As soon as possible, get out and volunteer as much time as you can afford. This will help you network and refine your ‘soft skills’. Be proactive and work hard – people value these qualities. Also, be persistent – it’s a competitive field but can be very rewarding - so be patient.
“It also helps to practice what you preach. For example, if you want to teach people how to perform strength training exercises, make sure you can do them reasonably well yourself.”