Health Sciences

Kate Perry, Master of High Performance Sport

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"From the beginning, I had always wanted to complete postgraduate study after finishing my undergraduate degree. I went on to do my Honours in 2012, before having a year away from study in 2013 to try and work out what I wanted to do. After no groundbreaking opportunities presented themselves, and the Master of High Performance Sport came about, I jumped at the opportunity. It was the first postgraduate course that sounded like the exact thing I wanted to do. Whilst I enjoyed most things in the undergraduate degree, for me, this course filled the gaps and presented me with an opportunity to work within the high performance sporting industry. As an elite athlete myself, I really wanted to work within the industry and with the elite population."

"There are two highlights that stand out for me. The first being the Intensive week that kick-started the course back at the beginning of Semester 1 last year. As the course is online, this was a great opportunity to meet like-minded students from all across the nation who were doing the same course, but also to learn from the absolute best in the industry. We were very privileged to have the industry's finest presenting to us in their areas of specialty. AIS nutritionists and physiologists, strength and conditioning coaches and physiologists from world sporting teams and organisations, and a guest panel including renowned and very well respected AFL and Sporting Institute coaches. Not only did this week fill everyone with excitement, but gave us a feeling for what was to come. Looking back, I would love to do another week like this, perhaps at the start of Semester 3, as by then you have so many more questions.

"The second highlight is definitely the internship I am completing this year with the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club."

"I am very fortunate that a lot of the lecturers and academic staff are based in Melbourne, my hometown. Whilst the online access to academic staff is user-friendly, for me, it is always nice to have the option to drop in and talk face to face from time to time. We are very lucky at ACU to be taught by such a rich array of industry professionals, all of whom are extremely helpful and knowledgeable."

"Studying online is definitely very different to the face to face contact of the undergraduate course. There have been some minor hiccups, as you would expect from a brand new course, but all in all it has been relatively smooth sailing. In terms of studying online, it definitely teaches you a lot about time management, but also being diligent when it comes to getting study done. There is no set timetable to push you to turn up to classes or watch lectures, at the end of the day it is you and your computer.

"My tips for future students - be extra-proactive with assignments and allow plenty of time to hand things in, as there is no back up when it comes to electronic submission."

"I will complete an internship this year with the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club, working with them throughout their 2015 NRL season. This is one of the course requirements.

"I am working closely with the High Performance Manager as well as the Head of Strength and Conditioning. My role has been to develop and implement a monitoring system that measures the effect that training and match load is having on player performance in terms of fatigue. The aim is to identify early signs of overreaching and prevent/reduce the rate of injury throughout the season. This is done by using the results that I collect from this monitoring test, in conjunction with a series of other monitoring systems, and then using these results in a 'flagging' system which helps to identify early signs of fatigue.

"This is a relatively new area of monitoring within the club (and the sporting industry) so I am very lucky that I have been able to have such a direct involvement in this process, with the club granting me a large degree of independence when it comes to developing the protocol and then implementing it.

"Working with the Storm has been a very rewarding experience, and has given me the opportunity to witness first hand just how much work goes into running such a successful sporting organisation. It is exciting when you see everything that you have learnt in your degree being put into practice. The one thing that stood out for me from my very first day was the level of respect amongst everyone. There is a great culture, which creates a strong work ethic, striving for perfection. Everyone plays a part in the team's success and this is well recognized throughout all work streams. Every minute of the day is accounted for, 7 days a week."

"Like most university students, I guess you could say that I dapple in quite a few different areas of work. Before I started studying the Master of High Performance Sport I was working full time as a Sales Manager in a bicycle store, as well as casually with Melbourne and Olympic Parks in event services. I was also contracting coaching services for Cycling Victoria. Whilst completing my degree last year, I was a partner in a business that specialised in cycling specific sports science services; Adaptive Human Performance (AHP), bike-fitting, coaching and strength and conditioning.

"Now in my final semester, along with competing at a National Level in the Women's Road Cycling series, most of my time is taken up with either university study, internship work or training. I am still doing some work for Melbourne and Olympic Parks when I can, along with some private coaching of cyclists."

"This is a hard one. To be honest, I don't really see myself as having embarked on a career as such, just yet. Naturally gravitating towards the sporting industry, I have been fortunate enough to have been able to provide services in the sport that I love through being a partner in Adaptive Human Performance (AHP), along with working at the highest level with Melbourne Storm, even though this is through an Internship.

"If I were to consider anything a 'career' highlight, given that I want to one day end up working in the high performance sporting industry, then I would consider working with the Storm to be my biggest highlight. Having a direct input into the success of a sporting club, and helping athletes reach their full potential is an amazingly rewarding experience."

"The High Performance Sport industry is such a hard industry to crack. My fellow graduates and I are fortunate that sports science services are increasingly being identified as crucial to success at the highest level of sporting performance. As a result, there are increasing job opportunities, but as with any industry it is important to make the most of connections.

"Breaking into the industry is not an easy task, but once a door opens, you will be surprised how easy it is to build your web of connections. Be confident in what you have practiced at university, and exercise your knowledge when in the sporting environment.

"Don't be disheartened if you're not successful straight away, being persistent does pay off. Building on that, be prepared to take opportunities that may not necessarily pay well (or at all) in the beginning, because in such a prestigious workstream, who you know is just as important as what you know, and experience is often what clubs and organisations are looking for."


December 2014 Tour of Bright Individual Time Trial Stage. Kate Perrry finished 2nd overall. Photography by Jo Upton (http://www.jouptonphotography.com.au/).