Courses in

Outdoor Education

Contemporary Sports Coaching Practices (SPA)

This award on completion will equip the learner with the knowledge, skills and competence to apply contemporary coaching principles and practices when coaching sport, in order to enhance performance.

Why Study?: 

This level 6, 10 credit Special Purpose Award (SPA) has been developed in consultation with coaching expertise in the region. The programme will harness coaching expertise in the region and engage coaches locally, using existing coaching structures and established marquee coaches.

The marquee coaches come from the sports of GAA, Soccer and Rugby. Whilst it is anticipated that the majority of prospective students will come from field sports, the course design has a broad application across all sports. It is anticipated that the flexible blended-learning programme design can facilitate further and continued evolution of this SPA.

In order to integrate theory and practice and to ensure cohesiveness in delivery, marquee coaches/players have been selected for presentations in each of the core areas commonly identified in athlete development frameworks, namely physical fitness, mental fitness, tactical awareness, technical ability, players lifestyle and support systems.

Programme Modules: 

  • Physical Fitness For Sport
  • Mental Fitness For Sport
  • Motor Skill Development in Sport
  • Sports Injury and Rehabilitation.
  • Nutrition for Sports Performance
  • Reflective Journaling

Learning Outcomes: 

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to:

  1. Analyse their coaching philosophy and practices through reflective journaling and the medium of on-line forum contributions.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of best practice in developing physical fitness for sports performance.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of mental fitness for sports performance and a variety of applied performance enhancement techniques in sports psychology
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practices which underpin motor skill development in sport
  5. Demonstrate and understanding of injury prevention in sport and the mechanisms involved in sports injury and rehabilitation.
  6. Examine the role of a healthy and nutritious diet for performance in sport.

Career Opportunities: 

In terms of employment, the strategic aim of this SPA is to encourage learners to pursue further education however it will, used in association with other qualifications, enable graduates access the increasing number of professional opportunities in sports coaching.

For example, Connacht Rugby has a strong growth focus and is hiring Club Community Rugby Officers (CCROs) to expand its reach in schools and clubs. There are currently nine CCROs in Mayo and it is envisaged that twenty will be needed to cover all clubs in the regions.

The GAA is increasing its commitment to clubs and schools with the provision of professional coaches and Games Promotion Officers.

The FAI have also outlined possibilities for work experience and potential employment opportunities on completion of the programme.

Follow-on Studies: 

As a 10 credit SPA it is not expected that this qualification of itself will enhance the employment potential of students however in a general sense there is an increasing professionalisation in sports coaching.

Coaching is the main activity undertaken by adult volunteers in sport with more than I in 3 of all volunteers regularly involved in this regard (MRBI, 2017).

Other Essential Information: 

Course Dates

Thursdays 7.00-9.00pm

Start Date:  January 9th 2020

Dates:  9th, 16th 23rd & 30th Jan, 6th, 13th, 20th & 27 Feb, 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th March and 2nd April 2020.


How to Apply

Application forms can be downloaded from our website or by emailing





Discipline: Outdoor Education

Programme Code: 

WORK 06020

Location: Mayo

NFQ Level: 6

Category: Part-time Accredited


For further information please contact:

Pauline Jordan
Lecturer in Outdoor Education
Tel: 094 9043119

Stephen Hannon
Lecturer in Outdoor Education
Tel: 094 9043121

Places: 25

Programme Duration: 15 Weeks