Health Sciences

Chad Kolarcik, Master of High Performance Sport, USA

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"I am strong believer in continuing education and I have made it a part of my daily life for the past 8 years since switching careers from Computer Science to Strength & Conditioning /Sports Science. There were a few primary reasons for choosing to do a postgraduate degree. First, it was having a degree in the field that I was working. My undergraduate degree was in Computer Science and while that gives me a unique background to most in our field, I felt it was important that I have a proper degree recognized within our industry.

"Second, for my own growth and development I felt it was important to expose myself to the academic world. All of my experience and learning had come in a practical setting and as a practitioner I felt exposing myself to this side would make me a stronger and more well-rounded coach. Last, I have visions of one day teaching at a university so I realized that in order to do that having a Masters degree would be a step I would need to take eventually, so why not start now."

"I had a number of colleagues who had done their Masters at another Australian-based university and had spoken very highly of it. Even in the U.S, it was one of the more highly-regarded programs. However, for me, looking at the course material I wasn't sure if it was worth the financial investment based on the course material and my career development goals. In short, I didn't think it would actually make me a better practitioner based on where I wanted to take my career.

"This led me to discussions with other colleagues who mentioned the MHPS program at ACU. The program was brand new and in it's first year of existence but was regarded as a really great program already. This led me to investigate the program and when I read through the course outline it was like finding gold. The program was exactly what I was looking for and a model of the skills I was hoping to further develop in my own career. The quality of professors was also a selling point. Many of the professors teaching the courses were people I already followed and read. It was one of those situations where all the ducks lined up in a row for me."

"The intensive week is by far the highlight of the course. It was an amazing educational experience. From the quality of lecturers and lab activities to the networking opportunities and the general discussions I was able to participate in made the week a memorable one. I should add that the actual courses have been great as well. The material has been well organized and thought out and I have found it quite simple to integrate things I am learning into my daily practice immediately, which for me is a really important component of the program. If I am investing time and money into something I want to be able to use it."

"I find it to be great. It works really well for me simply because my schedule is pretty hectic. It allows me a lot of flexibility to do the coursework when it is most convenient for me. In regards to being in another country, I have not found much issue thus far but I think a few tips would be:

"1. Make sure you know the time difference like the back of your hand, it can get confusing when making sure you submit assignments on time. In the beginning, I would double check myself all the time during the first course so I didn't screw up submission times.

"2. With the time difference, don't wait until the last minute to ask important questions. You will have to accept that you will lose a day in waiting for a response. Other than that, just stay up to date on the coursework from week to week and manage your time well."

"I currently work at the Seattle Sounders FC in the MLS. I am the Head of Strength & Conditioning and currently in my fourth year with the club."

"I think the biggest highlight is being a part of a consistently successful team for the past 4 years and being a part of the creation and evolution of a high performance team. To see how a high-functioning and progressive performance/sports science department can grow and how much an impact it can have on the overall success of the club. Then I'd also have to say winning 2 of 3 league trophies and being a part of the most successful season in our club history is pretty memorable."

"Be solely concerned with becoming great at what you do and be a good person while you do it. If you do those two things the right opportunities will find you. Find a good mentor too and surround yourself with other driven colleagues that will push you and challenge you to grow."