One of the things Dr Rudolph Alleyne, Head of the Sports Academy at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, would like to see, is that institution becoming an official high-performance centre in the Caribbean.
Alleyne who has been part of the academy since 2013 also believes that a national training centre could be realised as well if the academy partners with the government, sporting federations and the Barbados Olympic Association.
“One of my goals, when I was at Temple University finishing off my first degree, was to find a way where we can assist our athletes here in Barbados. When I say assist, allowing them to sharpen their skills, and their ability to perform particularly at the highest level.
“So, in other words, the whole idea of a high-performance centre has always been something which I wanted to realise, whether privately or working with an organisation. So one of my goals as head of the academy is to realise a high-performance centre here at Cave Hill Campus, to help our national and possibly regional athletes to sharpen their skills and put the lens on Cave Hill Campus and Barbados as a top high-performance centre, where athletes from Barbados, the region and probably internationally can come and train to sharpen their skills and abilities to perform at the highest level,” Alleyne said.
“One of the things I would love to see is for us to have a national training centre here in Barbados where the majority of our national athletes can come and we can deliver services to them like sport psychology, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and give them the full array of the sport sciences to help them become better athletes and help them to reach the podium in whatever competition they may be taking part in,” he added.
Compared to the 32 students when the sports science undergraduate program first started, today the academic programs at the Academy of Sports boast of having 161 individuals. In the sports science master’s degree program, more than 50 students have graduated since its inception in 2014. This program is done in conjunction with the University of New Brunswick. Students from Antigua, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda have graduated from the sports science program.
Alleyne noted that it was not just about Barbados, but what the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus was doing to help develop sport across the region.
In September students can expect a new undergraduate degree program in Sports Coaching. Alleyne explained that they will have a launch shortly but hinted that this program will be geared towards people who have a specific interest in coaching.
“There are specialised sports courses which would look at the art of coaching and how to be the best coach that you can be. The art of coaching cuts across many disciplines (football, cricket, swimming). It is going to be focusing on how they can be the best coaches, what are the qualities that make a good coach and how should a good coach deliver his or her services.
“We are going to have coaching certification in some of the sporting disciplines. We have already discussed with World Athletics how they can be part of the program we are going to offer. We have discussed with Barbados Cricket Association and Cricket West Indies and the Barbados Football Association how they can be part of the program as well,” Alleyne said
Those that are interested in the coaching degree can look forward to courses like introduction to coaching, coaching practicum, coaching special populations, the biomechanics of sport which are all related to coaching.
“Any students leaving this program will be a coach of the highest calibre,” Alleyne stressed.
According to Alleyne, the sport science program has come a long way as the numbers of students have doubled which shows an interest in sports development and sports science.
They are also looking to grow the number of programs offered at the academy of sport.
“I can’t say it enough. Sports is a science. People seem to think that sport is something that as long as you have the talent you can go out there and do it. But if you want to perform at the highest level, if you want to achieve excellence at the Olympics or have World Cup success, you have to study sports as a science. There is no way around it. Anybody that says differently doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about. It is a science.
“We have to look at it through the lens of science. That is the only way we can do the best for our athletes and the industry. Whether we like it or not, we may not treat it as an industry in Barbados, but it is an industry and that is the only way we can reap the best results,” he said.