Professor Cathy Craig from the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, and a former Ulster Women’s Rugby player, talked about her research on perception and decision making in Rugby

Queen’s University hosted their first ever ‘Inspiration in Sport’ event for Rugby on Monday 31st October 2011. This event was essentially a high performance Master Class, with 40 of the top male and female School Rugby players in Ulster attending a series of workshops on enhancing performance, as well as receiving a tour of Queen’s new state of the art facilities at the Malone Playing Fields.

The players were welcomed by Vice Chancellor of Queen’s University Professor Sir Peter Gregson, followed by the Guest Speaker David Humphreys MBE, the current Director of Rugby at Ulster Rugby and a Queen’s Law Graduate. David talked of his fond memories of University Rugby, and encouraged the players to make the most of the opportunities afforded to them by taking their involvement in Rugby with them to further education.

The players then attended workshops on Strength and Conditioning and the Psychology of Sports Performance. Kris Beattie from Ulster Rugby led the Strength and Conditioning workshop, exploding some of the existing myths around building strength for Rugby, highlighting the importance of functional strength, and working on multi directional movement or ‘game speed’.

Leading the workshop on the Psychology of Sports Performance was Professor Cathy Craig from the School of Psychology, at Queen’s University Belfast. Professor Craig, a former Ulster Women’s Rugby player, talked about her research on perception and decision making in Rugby. She showcased the world leading immersive, interactive virtual reality system that she developed and told the players how it will form an integral part of the new Performance Lab that will be housed within Queen’s Physical Education Centre.

The players were then taken on a tour of Queen’s impressive new facilities, including the purpose built strength and conditioning area, the arena pitch which recently hosted its first Rugby match and the all-seater stand with room for approximately 350 spectators.

To conclude the event the players received careers advice from Queen’s Anthony McGrath and took part in a Question & Answer session with QUBRFC 1st XV Head Coach Paddy Armstrong, and ex Ulster Rugby player David Pollock.

The University would like to take this opportunity to wish the players all the very best in their A levels, and the rest of their school’s Rugby season.