Connor McIntosh studied BSc (Hons) Rugby Coaching and Performance at USW and now works with Bath Rugby Academy in the performance analysis department. Connor was assisted by lecturers to gain experience working with sports teams such as the Cardiff Blues and the WRU. Here, he highlights all the best bits of the course and offers some advice to future students.
"For a long time, I knew I wanted to work in professional Rugby and after attending an open day, I had a feeling that the rugby coaching and performance course could give me everything I needed to achieve this, and it did. I also thought it was in a great location just outside the capital city of Wales, Cardiff, but still had that local feeling which I have always liked.
I choose the course mainly due to the Lectures background in professional Rugby and the sporting connections with Pontypridd RFC, Cardiff Blues & the WRU, and I was lucky enough to work with all three. The course has all different modules in Coaching, S&C, Analysis and great opportunities to go into community coaching but also professional coaching if that is something you’re interested in. The course also gives you extra qualifications for example your level 1 & 2 coaching badges.
During the course, we were lucky enough to have a lot of guest lectures, easily 2-3 a month in all different areas of the industry, from professional coaches to analysts. Even outside the guest lectures, professional Rugby teams would be training just outside on the Rugby pitches, which again is a great learning and something not many people can say they have done. I remember just casually watching South Africa training in the sports hall and Rugby pitches and learnt so much from this.
After a few weeks of my 1st year at University, I knew I wanted to go into Performance analysis. The course gave me every opportunity they could to give me on-field experience but also behind the scenes experience using specialised software that professional sports teams use, and again it was the best thing the course could have done, as to this day I still use these skills in a professional environment.
I did a lot of placements that my lecturers Dean Parsons and Ioan Paval put me on, for example, my first role in performance analysis was working with the Pontypridd seniors where I gained invaluable experience. I then moved on to lead the Performance analysis for the Pontypridd schools Dewar shield competition which I lead for 4 years and was lucky enough to win this competition.
Alongside working with Pontypridd schools, I had an internship with Cardiff Blues Academy then moved up to the seniors but also WRU working with all the Wales Premiership teams. I was also lucky enough to help work in some Wales U18s international camp, this all lead to me now working as an Academy performance analyst for Bath Rugby which could not have been achieved with the Rugby coaching and performance course and the experience they gave me.
The best bit of advice I could give someone wishing to study the course would be to grab every bit of experience that is given to you, even if you think it’s a waste of time, it’s not. It all leads to a final goal, and to reach that goal you must help yourself and put the work and hours in to reach it."