This innovative Sports Science and Exercise Studies programme is designed to give students a modern day foundation for a career in one of Ireland’s fastest growing sectors. Not only will the programme provide students with the option to progress to University through the Higher Education Links Scheme, but it also equips students with the knowledge, skill, and competence to gain employment in areas such Sports Coaching, Sports and Youth Development, and Performance Analysis.

By the end of this programme, students will have gained insight into a range of Sports Science and Exercise Studies sub-fields including:
•    Performance analysis
•    Skill based decision making and reaction time
•    Human Performance
•    Athletic development, and
•    Olympic endurance training methods.

In addition, students are provided with an overview of the key areas relevant to modern day coaching incorporating physical, psychological and tactical prowess. And to ensure that the programme reflects current trends in the sector there are also specialist guest speakers and frequent field trips throughout the programme.

This programme also enhances gym instructing or personal training qualifications as it will increase your understanding of how to develop physical, psychological and tactical high performance techniques.
Most importantly, this unique programme in sports education in Ireland combines science and the practical application of that science through a 6-week placement during semester 2. These placements are within sports teams and organisations and are the key to the success of our graduates.

Qualifications gained:

  • QQI Level 5 in Sports, Recreation and Exercise 5M5146

Course Structure

This is a full-time course delivered over 1 academic year. Classes are generally held 3 consecutive days per week.

Entry Requirements

Entry is by direct application for an interview to the Institute. Interviewers are seeking applicants to have a genuine interest in sports science and high performance and a desire to gain further knowledge and skills in this area.

Work Experience

Gaining practical experience is an integral part of any learning journey and there is a 6 week placement integrated into this programme. This placement takes place during the Spring and is a bridge between semester 1 and 2. During the placement programme, you will have the opportunity to put into practice the exercises and skills you will have learned during the programme. We aim to ensure you have the opportunity, to gain experience in a setting that is aligned with your career ambitions. Our tutors and programme management team will help you secure a suitable work placement during your studies and this placement, where possible, can be in your locality to reduce travel and time spent in Dublin.

Sports Playing Opportunities

All male and female students of Portobello Institute have the opportunity to try out for the "Fresher" and "Senior" teams of IT Tallaght. Sports include Rugby, GAA football and hurling, basketball, hockey, boxing. For further information on these opportunities, email

Course Content

This is an outline summary of the content covered on this programme

Performance Analysis

This module aims to advance student knowledge in the key principals of performance analysis and key performance indicators.  The module will aid student’s awareness in understanding the material and mechanisms to tactically analyse sports performances.  The module introduces students to software applied to performance analysis involving notational analysis, statistical analysis, and feedback provision.
•    Understand and incorporate the role of performance analysis in Sports & Exercise performances
•    Understand and interpreting tactical and strategical analysis of sports performances, including possessions, turnovers and counter attacks and so on.  
•    Understand and design appropriate feedback strategies and interventions for improving performance in different sporting groups.
•    Understand and collect Observation and data from performance analysis (practical based learning).

Sports Psychology

The module aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the appropriate application of psychological knowledge to the measurement and assessment of human performance and develop applied skills necessary to service the needs of the athlete or coach and professionals in exercise settings. This module will introduce you to psychological skills training and highlight interventions, such as goal setting, that are adopted by sport and exercise psychologists to improve performance and increase.
•    Understand the role of imagery, self-talk, and mental rehearsal in psychological preparation for performance apply strategies for enhancing self-confidence.
•    Understand and identify the major sources of stress and anxiety along with comparing ways to regulate arousal stress and anxiety.
•    Understand why differences exist between individuals regarding types and levels of motivation
•    Understand and explain goal setting principles along with understanding the factors that can influence the effectiveness of goal setting.

Biomechanics of Human Movement

This module explores the basics of biomechanical understanding of human movement including human cell development, tissue and joints. Students will develop knowledge around biomechanical make up and how it changes with age, disease, injury, and possible implants. The module aims to broaden student’s awareness and understanding around the physiology of human movement, motor control, biofeedback and neuro-musculoskeletal biomechanics.
•    Understand the effects of training on muscle structure & Physiology of Human Movement.
•    Understand the analysis of Musculoskeletal systems – Determinates of muscle force and joints.
•    Understand the development of Human Motor Control  
•    Understand how bones, cartilage and other musculoskeletal systems develop, adapt and repair.  


This module aims to increase students understanding of the analysis of human movement of lower- limb patho-mechanics. Students will develop knowledge around sagittal, coronal, and transverse planes surrounding the body. The module will provide students with knowledge around the law of acceleration, action, and reaction in muscular movement. The module will aid awareness in applying the law of reciprocal innervation that is the relationship between the agonist and antagonist muscles.
•    Understand and demonstrate a facility for providing the central nervous system and have a clear image of the movement desired.
•    Understand differentiate between the two forms of muscle warm-up - (1) static (lengthening), (2) ballistic (bouncing and pulsing)
•    Understand the effects and possible repair of lower limb patho-mechanics.
•    Understand and apply the principles of balancing and supporting skeletal weight through the centre of the joints

Fundamentals of Strength & Conditioning

This module aims to give students an introduction into the physiology and biomechanics underpinning strength and conditioning, while developing student’s awareness in physiological adaptations to strength and conditioning. The module will enable students to understand testing and monitoring procedures within strength and conditioning along with analysis of periodisation and training design.
•    Understand and justify the fundamental scientific principles of strength and conditioning practices in the athletic populations.
•    Understand and practically design and demonstrate the principles of training design and periodization.
•    Understand and evaluate research on the effectiveness of contemporary strength and conditioning training strategies
•    Understand and demonstrate and lead effective program development testing and monitoring procedures in strength and conditioning.

Coaching Awards

This module aims to develop students understanding and implementation of Coaching and Leadership skills in sports organisations and sports groups. The module aims to aid student awareness and practical guidance in planning coaching sessions, development of interpersonal skills and the evolution of the coach athlete relationship. The module also helps students understand the responsibility of the coach in relation to the motives and needs of the players in his/her charge in the promotion of sport.

•    Understand and Identify the qualities in a coach that contribute to effective coaching along with executing personal strengths that are to be used in the coaching environment
•    Understand and evaluate their own work and performance at the end of a session along with discuss and understand the short-term planning, aims and objectives process
•    Evaluate your own coaching style and identify the key attributes necessary for becoming an effective coach
•    Understand and apply the principles of cognitive overload in game based skills to improve reaction time and decision making under pressure.
•    Apply the overload principle to each of the components of fitness and identify the health benefits of improving each of the components of fitness.

Sports Nutrition

The module aims to give students an in-depth knowledge into all areas of sports nutrition, including the benefits of appropriate nutrition and consequences of inadequate nutrition. The module also aids student’s awareness on common food groups and their relationship to the effects on the body and the link to high performance. As well as broadening students’ knowledge of weight loss and management in sports nutrition.
•    Understand and apply knowledge in Energy Sources for Sport and Exercise
•    Understand and Identify the goals of the pre-exercise and post-exercise meal and food intake during training or competition
•    Understand and Outline the relative importance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism during physical activity of various intensities and durations.
•    Understand and Discuss the effects of a range of nutritional ergogenic aids such as caffeine, creatine, meal replacement products (MRPs) glutamine, ephedrine etc.

Skills Acquisition, Reaction Time & Decision Making

This module aims to develop the learner’s knowledge in the underlying principles of skill acquisition across all forms of human movement and performance. The module will aid the learner’s awareness of theoretical understanding of the cognitive processes involved in our ability to acquire and develop movement skills. The module introduces the significance of skill acquisition, skill retention and skill transfer underlined by information processing theories.
•    Understand the main theoretical underpinnings of human movement and skill acquisition and information processing theories.
•    Understand and identify practical implications of skill acquisition, retention, and transfer of skilled movements
•    Understand and apply the skill acquisition knowledge to novice and expert athletes respectively.  
•    Understand the practical and cognitive implications of cognitive overload on both the novice and expert athlete

Sports Anatomy & Physiology  

The module aims to develop the learner’s knowledge and awareness of skill to understand the structure and function of the human body and the interrelationship between its systems. The module will enable the learner to describe the structure and function of a typical animal cell and its organelles as well as identify the different tissues types within each type and classification.
•    Understand and classify tissues into the four main groups: epithelial, connective, muscle and nervous tissue
•    Understand and identify the main bones of the appendicular and axial skeleton as well as identifying the main muscles of the body
•    Understand ad explain the relationship between the blood system and the lymphatic system.
•    Understand and differentiate between the Central Nervous System, the Peripheral Nervous System, and the Autonomic Nervous System.
Sports Management

The module aims to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of contemporary sports management within many different sport organisations. The module aims to aid learner’s awareness in successful planning, organising, leading and development of sport organisations. The module will develop the learners understanding of player development, performance, and strategic management.
•    Understand and identify, the implications of the challenges and complexities of modern day sports management.
•    Understand and have familiarity with the organisational structures of sport and recreation in Ireland and the factors that promote an effective leisure industry.
•    Understand and apply Program planning and performance analysis.
•    Understand and develop management techniques and tactics required for successful planning, organising, leading.

Career Opportunities

There are many and varied career opportunities available to students upon graduating with this nationally & internationally recognised qualification. Successful candidates of this course can enjoy a range of careers upon completion of this course including:
•    Youth development officers
•    Activities coordinator
•    Sports development officers
•    Performance analyst
•    Games development administrator

Progression Routes

For those that wish to continue their studies to a degree level, can progress onto our BSc (Hons) Sports Science and Physical Education (full and part time options available) subject to achieving minimum of 4 credits across 8 modules; one must be anatomy & physiology. 


Protection for Learners

QQI have introduced a mandatory insurance protection policy fee that must be paid by students enrolled on all courses with a duration of 12 weeks or over. This insurance cost is in addition to your course fees. 


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