Ryan Simmons Profile - Alumnus now working at the Panthers

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What did you study at Western Sydney University?
I have studied a Bachelor of Health Science (Sport & Exercise Science) followed by a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)
 
What did you enjoy most about your time at Western U?

I believe the support from the staff at WSU was second to none, and found this assistance extremely useful throughout my studies.  The staff always applied theoretical concepts to situations that are common in the health and fitness industry. This assisted me in understanding the concepts and their importance for my role within a high performance organisation. Most of all I made some really close friends at Western and that made the whole experience extremely enjoyable.

How did the opportunity to do your research project at the Panthers come about?
In my first year of study at Western, I approached the Panthers seeking some work experience as I wanted to better understand the role of a sport scientist. After one 20-minute meeting with the club's Sport Scientist, I knew that this is the career path I wanted to take. I volunteered as an intern with the club for 18 months and in my final year of my undergraduate degree, I was given the role of NYC (National Youth Competition) Sport Scientist. At the conclusion of my undergraduate degree, I applied for an Honours position offered by Western in partnership with the Panthers and was successful along with two of my fellow students.   

What was the topic of your research project?
The title of my Honours project was "The physical match demands of junior elite rugby league: A cross sectional analysis". I worked closely with the Panthers' junior representative teams (U/16s and U/18s) and quantified the physical demands of competition games throughout the season through the use of global positioning systems (GPS). We compared the demands across both junior teams as well as the NYC (U/20s) team. Positional differences were also assessed within each team.

What opportunities has your time at the Panthers given you?
Every day is an opportunity at the Panthers and I continue to grow both professionally and personally every day I walk into the office. My time at the club has allowed me to work with a number of experienced and well respected professionals within high performance sport. I am now working in one of the most advanced high performance environments in Australia and the most advanced facility in the National Rugby League. It has given me a great insight into the high performance industry and has definitely assisted me in determining my career goals.

What has been enjoyable about your time with the Panthers?
They say if you love what you are doing then you won't work a day in your life and this statement could not be anymore true. I love being involved with the Panthers and working with an incredible group of athlete's and staff. The club are always striving for their athletes and staff to improve themselves on a daily basis, creating a determined and high achieving culture. The most enjoyable part of the job is seeing my athletes go on to bigger and better things in their careers. If I can assist my athletes to become not only better athletes but better people, then I have been successful in my role. 
 
Any advice for Sports Science students and how to make it in the sports industry?
I believe that there are two skills that are a necessity not only in the sports industry but in any industry. Communication and determination are the keys to success and require zero talent, just the right mind set. I wasn't always the smartest person in the room but I had a strong work ethic and always believed in what I was doing. The ability to communicate is extremely important, not just via email but verbally as well. If my coaching staff and athletes don't buy in to my ideas or advice then my role is pointless. I believe finding some work experience in the industry will assist with building communication skills. Last of all, Microsoft Excel is your best friend in this industry, learn it!