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New Sports Performance Development Officer

Published: 23rd June 2017

When Trinity Sport’s new Sports Performance Development Officer Ross Hamilton was a competitive sailor, he noticed how some of his counterparts on the circuit seemed to be pulling away from him in terms of results.

“In training camps, for example, I’d be breaking down faster than some of the other guys.” That’s when it dawned on him - apart from coaching on the water, he actually had very little other support around his efforts. There was no strength and conditioning, no fitness testing, no physio.

“I knew then that clearly it wasn’t just a case of working as hard as I could – it was about effective recovery as well.” Thus a seed was planted.

When the sailing came to an end, he decided to go back to college to do a masters in business until a pal intercepted.

“One of my friends pulled me aside and said, ‘you’re sitting there reading sports science stuff all the time so why don’t you just go and study it’.” This he duly did, completing a Masters in Exercise Physiology in Trinity.

As his new title suggests, one aspect that Ross will be overseeing in the role is the performance side of things. “It’s about getting the balance of training and recovery right – you can make a huge amount of progress very quickly if you do that.”

His first priority though is to ensure there are good structures in place. "From a development point of view it" important we have a clear pathway. So the very first step is putting together structure and schedule so teams know what the plan is, both long and short term.”

As the role of Sports Performance Development Officer is a new one, this scenario hasn’t always been the case and training, performance and development have been uneasy bedfellows. Any athlete will tell you, be they student or professional, consistency and structure are key ingredients for success.

Some clubs, Ross says, have been slower to embrace the benefits of strength and conditioning. His hope for the year ahead is that more of them avail of this new resource – the sports performance development officer – to help drive their performance up a notch.

He provides the example of Trinity ladies hockey team. "At the start of the year they were of the opinion ‘lifting weights makes you heavy and slow’; at end of year they had realised that ‘actually we’ve improved on the pitch a huge amount because of all the gym work.’” Our hockey ladies, of course, were promoted to the top-tier EY league back in April.

"The great thing is with gym work you always get a return for your effort. You can work hard but mightn’t get a promotion yet if work hard in the gym you’ll always get fitter or stronger."