Gym preference for college’s ‘core sports’

DCU’s four “core sports” are allocated more time in the high performance gym than any of the other sports, the Chief Executive of DCU sport Ken Robinson revealed.

“We would have our core sports, they obviously get more time (in the high performance gym)” he said, referring to men’s football, tennis, basketball and athletics.

Mr. Robinson was keen to point out that even though this is the case, all teams are allotted gym time. “We held the Ultimate World Frisbee Championships this year because we’ve given Frisbee (club) time. We would give any team who wants to work within a structure, time. We’ve afforded to rugby, we’ve afforded to soccer, ladies football, hurling, so yes everyone would get a fair share.”

Regarding the usage of the high performance gym, scholarship students (through the academy and scholarship programme) and full teams are entitled to use it. For the likes of the Fresher’s football team, they are tested in week three, they get their gym programme developed and they then have access to the gym.
“Last year every player in the academy was functionally assessed and given their programme to help them on their journey through four years here to be a better and more conditioned player. We do it for rugby, we do it for soccer, we do it for basketball. There’s no elitism here, all sports are catered for”, he continued.

The high performance gym is an integral part of DCU’s Sports Centre which was recently awarded ‘Sports Centre of The Year’, having previously picked up the award in 2009 and 2010. The sports centre scored an impressive 82% when assessed and consequently, edged out other sports centres such as the National Aquatic Centre.

A focus on continually improving the facility is crucial in claiming the award, says Mr. Robinson. “We’ve worked on continual improvement. Initially there’s a huge amount of work to get your systems in place, to get your documentation written. They (EIQA) do an audit so they can randomly just look at any part of the organisation and look at it from a structural point of view. They will look at where you are compared to last year and where you have improved from last year.”

The Sports Centre failed to retain the award in 2011 and customer feedback is one the areas where improvements were made. Greater focus was placed on staff training and development and more internal audits were carried out to improve the Sports centre.

The award is determined by how a sports centre satisfies the four main criteria, centring on strategic planning, the relationship between customer and company, leadership within the company and the systems and processes within the company.

DCU Sport boasts around 5,000 members at the moment, with an estimated 50,000 people going through DCU Sport each month. Students are the main priority of the centre, stated Mr. Robinson. “We’re here first and foremost for students. That’s what we exist for. Students’ sport is the most important. We have staff, local community, and alumni. High performance would fall into local community. A student takes a membership, or joins a club (club times are given free of charge), or we’d allow students to pay for use. Students can have any opportunity to come and participate in sport.”

Jessica Farry

Image Credit: Sportsfile

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