Sports stars pursue coaching careers with innovative degree
14 April 2014
Top sporting professionals are gaining vital skills and expertise for their post-playing careers thanks to an innovative coaching degree at the University of Sydney.
Cronulla Shark John Morris (pictured above) is part of a professional cohort who graduated from the Master of Education in Sports Coaching on April 11. Graduating alongside Morris were Sydney Roosters' National Youth Competition head coach Adam Hartigan, former North Queensland Cowboys winger John Williams and equestrian coach Gina Haddad.
"I am so happy I made the choice two years ago to start the course as it has been so rewarding and has made such an impact on me as a developing coach," said Morris, who has spent 14 seasons playing in the NRL.
"The course not only provides an in-depth and up to date view on the main aspects of coaching such as teaching and communication skills, planning, leadership, sport science, contemporary issues, sport technology, evaluating performance and feedback, but it also importantly teaches you how to apply these key parts to your coaching."
Course coordinator Dr Donna O'Connor said the Master of Education in Sports Coaching has a supportive and collaborative learning environment, which draws strongly on case-based learning.
"The focus is on developing a coach's professional knowledge, interpersonal skills, and reflective practice," said Dr O'Connor.
"Our students come from a wide variety of sports with different expectations and experiences. You might have someone who has played NRL in the same class as someone with an equestrian background."
"This provides opportunities for the coaches to engage in deep conversation and share their own experiences and assists us in thinking outside the square."
Terry McFlynn, who this week announced his retirement from A-League side Sydney FC after playing 178 times for the club, is a current student of the Master of Education in Sports Coaching.
"You cannot state how important it is for athletes to put something in place for when their playing ends," said McFlynn, who is currently completing his final unit of the course.
"I'd highly recommend the Master of Education in Sports Coaching to anyone who is serious about getting into coaching and in fact I have some friends who are actively enrolling. The knowledge available to you throughout the course is invaluable."
Past graduates of the degree include Wallabies assistant coach Jim McKay, Opals assistant coach Damian Cotter, Australian Olympic eventing coach Prue Barrett and Canterbury Bulldogs high-performance manager Harry Harris.