Bringing American Football to UoG…

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by Shawn Myszka, Doctoral student

Several years back, I knew that I was at a bit of a crossroads in my peculiar learning journey. As I reflected on where I had come from and what I had been through up to that point, I continued to feel the urge and the call to push myself to limits that I had not yet realized. The more I contemplated that conviction within my heart and soul, as well as where I may be being nudged, the more I understood that I wanted to take the next step in postgraduate studies by obtaining a Doctoral degree. As I investigated potential Universities which could provide the learning community to do exactly that, I knew that there was an abundance of potential options on the table. Being that I serve in a professional full-time role working with elite National Football League players here in the United States, while also having a hand in a number of other major professional projects, I wasn’t willing to be put in a place where I was forced to spin my wheels or waste my already limited time. Additionally, I also wanted to be in a program where I felt as though I was able to draw upon my unique experiences and use them to advance the field. Thus, if I am being completely honest, I wasn’t just looking for any program – even those that may come highly touted and/or have certain thought leaders scattered within the department – instead, I was more than willing to wait for the right program to fit both my needs and my personality. Once I found out more about the Professional Doctorate in Sport & Exercise program at the University of Gloucestershire, I knew it was time to take the plunge and dive in.

Having always been blessed with an unwavering passion to change the world, while fueled equally from a deep fascination of movement skill, I am unashamed to say that my lofty goal is to see things in ways that others have not and take steps every day to change the way that the whole world views movement behavior in sport. My aims are not just to study elite movers who are the most attuned, adaptable, and dexterous within their sport, but to eventually possess those qualities myself as a theoretician, an educator, and as a facilitator, but also now, as a critical and reflective researcher of movement behaviors in sport, as well. Thus, though I know that I have further to go, it is for these reasons that I am here, and I am confident that this Professional Doctorate program will be a major springboard towards enabling me to grasp onto these aspirations.

Since committing and embarking on this Professional Doctorate journey just a little over six months ago, I feel as though I have already begun to embrace a new mentality with my craft – a much more reflective side of me has seemed to continually emerge; one where I am able to unpack what’s in front of me and connect the dots more effectively. Thus far, the program has allowed me to remain highly authentic, both regarding the direction where I desire for my craft to ultimately go, as well as how I go about attempting to push its evolution forward. Having always been an intrinsically driven individual, I thrive under being given autonomy and space to solve problems in my own way. Yet, it’s great to know that the University has plenty of individuals in place to support me if, and when, I should ever need it. Obviously, obtaining a Professional Doctorate is certainly not for everyone; the student must be willing to be frequently placed at the edges of their comfort zone and to own the process. You may very well encounter a number of roadblocks of varying intensities along the way, but it’s imperative that you trust the inner dialogue within yourself and draw upon the convictions that initially brought you to this place in your own journey. Personally, I am very excited to see where this entire journey takes me, as I continue to lean into everything this unique learning community offers, through what the University of Gloucestershire has created.

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