After a couple of eventful trips out to the Sport and Exercise Science team at the Moore Park precinct I have been bowled over by what is an amazing facility and a fantastic team of people. This partnership between UTS, Rugby Australia and the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust was the first of its kind in Australia, integrating an academic precinct within world-class sporting facilities. As the team have been hitting their stride in their new facilities for about nine months now, I decided to ask the team out there what makes them tick and what it is that makes this place so successful after such a short run.

All about the teamwork

Asking around the team to find out the highlight of going to work at the UTS Moore Park precinct, the overwhelming response is the people. They’re a social bunch, running super-labs together and collaborating on teaching, research and events, especially over lunch where it is likely you’ll see the team sitting together come the midday meal. It is all about those people connections and building a strong squad.

In tandem with industry

Not only is the team #squadgoals, but they are uniquely positioned within an enviable sports precinct. Sharing a building with Rugby Australia, the UTS Sport and Exercise Science team are right next door to elite sports professionals including Australia’s national rugby teams, the Wallabies, Wallaroos, men’s rugby sevens and the Olympic gold medal-winning women’s rugby sevens team. As if this wasn’t enough, it’s then just a hop, skip and a jump from the UTS Sport and Exercise Science building to Allianz Stadium, the Sydney Cricket Ground and Centennial Park. This provides UTS with unparalleled access to Australian rugby, Sydney Swans, Rugby League Central, Sydney Roosters and Cricket NSW, providing rich research opportunities and insights into how these professional organisations work, through guest talks, tours and sharing of facilities.

World class facilities

There are so many amazing spaces here! A multipurpose sports hall, body composition lab, collaborative learning spaces, fully-equipped strength and conditioning gym, exercise physiology research lab, biomechanics research lab, skill acquisition research lab and physiotherapy facilities, just to name a few. The biomechanics and skill acquisition lab in particular is a pretty impressive space, capable of measuring and developing perceptual-cognitive skills in high-performance athletes and officials using high-speed cameras, floor pressure sensors and 3D motion-analysis technology. Teaching spaces open up into each other allowing for combined, collaborative classes, or just a bit of an extra run-up to practice that bowling technique.

Running smoothly

Speaking of running, there is actually a forty metre running track on the terrace roof. This running track is suitable for use with running spikes if you’re super keen and has been used for a myriad of teaching, recreational and research purposes. There are markings for each one metre interval for accurate timing and recording, but the real winner is the amazing view back over the city, you can even see the UTS tower and give it a wave.

In a class of their own

When you put a group like this together, in a state of the art space like the Moore Park precinct, there is going to be a bit of magic happening. Learning and teaching are innovative here and you are just as likely to see students on a computer as you are to see them throwing water balloons to investigate physics or on a drum kit to explore skill acquisition.

Together with innovative and engaging classes, the integration of UTS Sport and Exercise Science in this sports precinct means students are learning alongside cutting edge research and professional athletes, setting them up with strong industry knowledge. It’s not unusual to find athletes from local teams like the Sydney Swans accessing the valuable performance, injury-management and rehabilitation facilities while a class is running next door.

Not sweating the small stuff

My impression of the staff here is of a hard-working and high-achieving team who are welcoming and good sports. They don’t seem to sweat the small stuff, keeping a positive mindset and aiming high, although, it’s only no-sweat if you’re outside the Environmental Laboratory, that place will make you sweat bullets. It’s a small space where temperature and humidity controls allows the team here to research the impact of environmental conditions on athletic performance. Just another way the UTS Sports and Exercise Science team at the Moore Park precinct are kicking goals.

Thanks a bunch!

Thanks to the welcoming team out at the Moore Park precinct for touring me around the facilities and to the fantastic staff for sharing with me what makes this successful space tick.

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