Matthew Bursey – PE and Coaching Helped Me from Leinster to Exeter
Alumni of PE and Coaching
PE and coaching have always been a part of Matthew Bursey’s life.
Before he studied the BSc (Hons) PE and Coaching degree at Portobello Institute, Matthew was heavily involved in sports at school and then went on to become a member of the Leinster Rugby Academy. There’s a level of athleticism and a comfort with violence that you have to embrace to exist in the Leinster Rugby Academy.
Despite mastering that uncomfortable environment that most people never could, Matthew never found the same comfort in the classroom.
“I always struggled throughout my schooling with trying to stay focused and engaged. I never really had much interest in schoolwork.” PE and Coaching offered Matthew a classroom environment with a subject that truly appealed to him. No other subject offered him a path into the sporting world that would lead to a fulfilling career.
Matthew found his direction and turned his passion into his career by attending Portobello’s PE and Coaching degree. He graduated from Portobello before completing his PGCE in PE at Exeter University in the United Kingdom.
He now has a full-time role in PE and Coaching at Exeter.
Looking back now, Matthew credits Dr. Susan Giblin with igniting an enthusiasm for learning in him that previously hadn’t been there.
“Susan was one of the first mentors and lecturers that really had me engaged in my learning. We often spent a lot of our lessons in discussions and debates that were interesting and exciting, rather than taking notes and sitting in silence. She managed to draw the entire class in. Myself being a teacher now, I know how difficult it can be to keep everyone on topic.”
With a reinvigorated approach to his education, Matthew looked forward to his classes and found his comfort level. He was getting through his initial work on the PE and Coaching course but still wasn’t sure of precisely what he wanted to do.
Long discussions with Susan led him to teaching. Her knowledge of the top universities in the UK, as well as how to apply to them, helped Matthew find a university that would give him his desired education but also return him to a high level of rugby.
Matthew received a conditional offer from Exeter University before graduating in 2018. Exeter University have close links to Exeter Rugby club, one of the best teams in Europe. He would get to work with an ex All Black in Will Katene and be coached by Henry Slade, one of the best rugby players in the world.
But there was one problem.
“I feared that a 2:1 might have been outside of my grasp. Susan offered her help and feedback regularly during my dissertation and assignments. That motivated me more to succeed. She worked closely with me during my dissertation as I used some of her equipment from Kitman Labs. Her previous research using motion capture was so valuable to me and my research. She helped me understand how to use motion capture to assess squat depth and how to read the data that was gathered.”
All of their work together paid off. Eventually confirming his place at Exeter, Matthew worked with Katene and learned from Slade. He got to share facilities with Exeter Rugby Club, excelling both on the field and in the classroom. He’s now completed his education and is enjoying his career. To this day, he still credits Dr. Giblin and Portobello Institute for getting him to where he wanted to be.
“I still look back on Susan as one of the more influential people I have worked with and have no doubt that I would not be where I am without meeting her.”