Sports Performance Analysis Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Sports Performance Analysis?

Sport performance analysis is the science of observing and recording events and actions during competition and training environments to provide athletes and coaches with objective information that helps them understand performance.

Sports Performance Analysis is driven by a need to understand and improve tactics, technique, and movement, achieved through the delivery of real and lapsed time objective feedback.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Sports Performance Analysis in the following subject areas:

  • BSc (Hons) Sports Performance Analysis – Develop the knowledge and experience of working with technology and proficiency in practical sports data analysis for information coach selection, injury risk identification and training programme effectiveness.
  • Sports Performance Analysis – This programme was developed in response to the increasing demand for people with performance analysis knowledge, competencies and skills across a range of sporting clubs and organisations.
  • Diploma in Sports Management at QLS Level 2 Certification – Learn how to manage the activities and operations of a sports club or business, starting from the essence of sport management.
  • Sports Management and Coaching – Gain the social, communication and leadership skills to work with individuals and groups in the growing sports coaching and health and fitness areas.
  • Sports, Recreation & Exercise – Gain a basic understanding of Recreation theory and health concepts in a variety of subject areas.
  • Sports Psychology – Gain the skills and knowledge to understand and help change the behaviours of athletes in order to improve performance.
  • Sports & Recreation Studies – Acquire an understanding of how different sporting organisations work successfully and how these organisations are interrelated with healthy living and active sports participation in Ireland.

Studying Sports Performance Analysis

There are many courses in Sports Performance Analysis that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Look for opportunities that match the career you’d like to go into. You can gain great experience working in the sports section of a children’s summer holiday scheme, in health promotion with local communities or in outdoor pursuit activities.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers. Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Sports Performance Analysis course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of sports performance and analysis methods.

As a Sports Performance Analysis graduate, jobs are available with a range of organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, including professional sports clubs, national sporting associations, governing bodies and other related sporting agencies, private health and fitness clubs, spas and public sports and recreation facilities, local authorities, schools, further education and higher education institutions and even the health sector. You may also go on to set up your own business or consultancy.

You will typically l help people participating in sports to work towards achieving their full potential. You may work with and support professional sportspeople, sports teams, community teams or school groups, working closely with them to improve performance.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a facility with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies.  Many posts include early morning, evening or weekend work. Work may also be seasonal for some sports. Part-time work and self-employment are common.

Related jobs include:

  • Sports Performance Analyst
  • Sports coach
  • Sports development officer
  • Sport and exercise psychologist
  • Sports therapist
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Fitness centre manager
  • Personal trainer
  • Primary school teacher
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Sports administrator
  • Choreographer
  • Clinical scientist
  • Health improvement practitioner
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Nutritionist
  • Outdoor activities/education manager

Further study

After completing a course in Sports Performance Analysis you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as health science, sports coaching, sports management or sports science.


How does Sports Performance Analysis help athletes and coaches?

Research has shown that coaches and players, like any other humans, recall fewer than half the important actions and movements that happen during a sporting event. Emotions may run high and the more extremely positive or negative events may overshadow other tactically relevant insights that occurred during the sports activity. Collecting information through video recording helps remove those biases and provide a more objective view of what happened. Performance Analysts collect data from all the events happening and create relevant metrics, either through coaches’ requests or by their own assessment, to show athletes and coaches on what went well and what went wrong.

Where can I study Sports Performance Analysis?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Michael Phelps has won a total of 28 Olympic medals, the most in Olympics history. He won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, setting a new record for most first-place finishes at any single Olympic.
  • Since 1980 about 40% of the top honours in men’s long-distance international athletics have gone to Kenyans from a single tribe, the Kalenjin.
  • Widely regarded as the greatest achievement in collegiate athletics, Jesse Owens set 3 world records and tied a fourth all in the span of 45 minutes.
  • Usain Bolt beat both the 60 meters World Record and the 100 meters World Record at the 2009 World Athletics Championships. Unfortunately for Bolt, records for the 60 m can only be set in that specific event, so it didn’t count as an official World Record.
  • Elite athletes have an area of the brain that performs 82% faster than average under intense pressure.

Mariza Halliday

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