Dr Susan Giblin
‘Sports students are passionate, determined and motivated people. They bring an energy to the classroom that is infectious. They are a joy to mentor and our academic team are invaluable in providing that mentorship to our students.’
I have been passionate about sport from a young age, I decided to pursue my passion academically when I had the opportunity to and completed my BSc in Health and Performance Science in UCD. I was part of the first graduating class in Health and Performance Science, the concept of sports science was very new in Ireland at the time and opportunities to gain applied experience were rare. On graduating, I was determined to gain as much hands-on practical experience as possible and I was very fortunate to work as a Sports Scientist at Sports Med Ireland where I gained invaluable insight into the world of supporting elite athletes. Notably, there were no practical or applied experience elements as part of my degree, we worked in the lab but not on the field with coaches or athletes which meant really learning on your feet, trying to gain practical competence when starting to work in applied settings. This was something I knew I wanted to try and change if I ever found myself back in academia. It didn’t make sense to me why the applied and academic aspects of sport were so separate, really to change performance both need to be intertwined. Since then, I have endeavoured to combine applied and academic work.
During my early applied work, I became fascinated with the interplay between physical and psychological performance. I left for the UK to pursue a MSc in Performance Psychology, based in the UK I gained valuable opportunities to work in applied, elite sports settings (largely focused in soccer, motorsport and golf). From there, I completed my psychology accreditation and pursued my PhD and post-doctoral research focusing on the use of technology to assess physical and psychological parameters of development. I returned to Ireland to work with the international data sports science company Kitman Labs as Head of Research and I gained fantastic experiences working with innovative international sports organisations. On completion of my post-doctoral research I began lecturing in sports science and sports psychology. In doing so, I quickly realised that not much had changed in terms of academic qualifications in sport, despite the applied sports industry having developed light years ahead with integration of performance technology. Throughout my career development to date, mentors have been an incredibly important asset to me in terms of personal and professional growth. I wanted to be able to provide similar support to individuals who were passionate about pursuing a career in sport. Portobello institute provided the perfect opportunity to address the frustrating limitations of current educational practices in sport by developing innovative, applied degree programmes that ingrain practical skill competence, personal and professional development for students and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Portobello Sports Team since arriving here as a lecturer in 2016.
Why did you choose to work in education?
Education has always been a big part of my life (despite hating school!!). The value of education and the privilege of being able to pursue third level education was instilled from a very young age. I firmly believe that education is an incredible tool that can be used to build a fulfilling life and education should be accessible and individual. Accessible, individual education is something I am very passionate about; from personal experience I understand that one size rarely fits all in terms of education. Unfortunately, primary and secondary (and in many cases tertiary) education comes in a very generic form and that can be very damaging. In fact, it can lead to individuals not pursing their full potential, or not even recognising the potential that they have to pursue. I am dedicated to ensuring that teaching/lecturing is recognised as a role of great responsibility that goes beyond delivering curricular content and focuses on promoting confident learners who are eager to pursue their dull potential after completing their primary degree.
Your experience as a Programme Manager.
My experience as Programme Manager to date has been an incredibly rewarding one. As Programme Manager I am privileged to support our students from the day arrive to the day they graduate and beyond. The most fulfilling part of my role is being able to work with and get to know the person behind the student number, understanding what their ambitions are and guiding them on to the next step of their journey. That next step may be to postgraduation education or to employment as a practitioner. Whatever it is, my role is to support our students in figuring out their path and providing individual support to ensure that students’ personal, academic and professional development is optimised during their time at Portobello Institute.
In addition to providing personal support, as Programme Manager I am involved in the continual review and strategic development of our academic offering in the Sports Department. I work with industry and academic collaborative partners to ensure that the qualifications we offer our students are leading the curve in the sports industry.
Portobello Institute is an agile, innovative Institute of Education. In academia Institutes tend to be slow to change or develop, as sport is such a new and evolving science having an Institute that is willing and able to change ahead of the curve is absolutely essential. Portobello Institute offers this dynamic, forward thinking environment that is focused on changing the way we educate our next generation of practitioners in Sport. Portobello Institute is bridging the gap that has previously existed between applied practice and academic research. The focus here is on developing graduates who are proficient, evidence-based practitioners who are also passionate about scientific research, that is something you just don’t find elsewhere.
- Post-doctoral fellowship – Psychomotor assessment validation (University of Central Lancashire)
- PhD Psychomotor Development (University of Central Lancashire)
- MSc Performance Psychology (University of Edinburgh)
- PGDiploma General Psychology (University of Derby)
- BSc Health & Performance Science (UCD)
Research / Industry Participation
- Accredited member of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI)
- BASES Accredited Sports Psychologist
- HCPC Chartered Scientist Status (CSci)
- Former Head of Research, Kitman Labs Ltd.
Research & Publications:
- Cruickshank, A., Giblin, S., Collins, D. ‘Mental preparation for competitive sprints’ in The Science of Sprinting. Platt, G., (Eds) Routledge https://www.scribd.com/book/353165106/Science-of-Sport-Sprinting
- Ng, J., Button, C., Collins, D., Giblin, S., and Kennedy, G. (2019). Assessing the Internal Reliability and Construct Validity of the General Movement Competence Assessment for Children. Journal of Motor Learning and Development 8, 1, 87-106, available from: <https://doi.org/10.1123/jmld.2018-0047>
- MELG Funded Research in collaboration with UHL HSE and UL. An investigation of physical activity engagement and barriers to engagement in children with T1DM (2019)
- Giblin, S., Meldrum, D., McGroarty, M., O’Brien S., Wetterling, F. (2015) ‘A markerless motion capture system to enhance injury monitoring in professional sports: a single case validation study on the example of external and internal shoulder rotation’ Functional Sports & Exercise Medicine DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.3434.5440
- Giblin, S., Meldrum, D., McGroarty, M., O’Brien S., Wetterling, F. (2015). ‘Wholebody magnetic resonance imaging enables assessment of spatial accuracy and precision of skeletal joint locations inferred from motion capture systems’ 6th Int. Conference on 3D Body Scanning Technologies October DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3105.0963
- Giblin, S., Meldrum, D., McGroarty, M., O’Brien S., Wetterling, F. (2015) ‘Bone length calibration can significantly improve the measurement accuracy of knee flexion angle when using a marker- less system to capture the motion of countermovement jump’ DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3105.0963
- Giblin, S., Collins, D., & Button, C. (2014). Physical literacy: importance, assessment and future directions. Sports Medicine, 44(9), 11771184. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0205-7
- Giblin, S., Collins, D., MacNamara, A., & Kiely, J. (2014). “Deliberate Preparation” as an Evidence-Based Focus for Primary Physical Education. Quest, 66(4), 385395. https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2014.944716
- MacNamara, Á., Collins, D., & Giblin, S. (2015). Just let them play? Deliberate preparation as the most appropriate foundation for lifelong physical activity. Frontiers in psychology, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01548